Choosing a personal injury lawyer can seem overwhelming, not least of all because you’re usually dealing with serious injuries or the death of someone close to you at the same time. There are so many personal injury lawyers to choose from – the field is saturated, especially in larger towns and cities.
So, what should you know before you begin your search for a personal injury attorney? You need to be prepared for the kinds of fee structures you’ll encounter and have an idea of how the work is delegated in personal injury firms. You’ll need to look for a responsive attorney with experience handling cases like yours, and even taking them to trial. Getting references from past clients can give you a better idea of what kind of service you’ll get from a specific attorney.
Most Personal Injury Lawyers Work on Contingency
You needn’t be too worried about paying legal fees for a personal injury case, because most personal injury lawyers work on contingency. That means they’ll take a portion of your settlement or award to cover their fees. For this reason, most personal injury attorneys will not take your case if they don’t think they can win.
How much of your settlement or award can you expect to hand over to your attorney? On average, an attorney will take about one-third of your settlement or award. When you’re interviewing attorneys, make sure to ask about their fee structure and fees. Find out what percentage they will take on contingency. There will be legal fees assessed on top of that percentage – as whether they come “off the top” of your award or settlement, or whether they will be calculated after the contingency fees are taken. If the legal fees are taken off the top, you’ll end up with a few thousand more dollars to go towards your medical bills and other costs. Make sure to ask if you will need to pay any fees if you lose your case – most personal injury attorneys won’t charge you anything if you lose, but some will, and you need to know what to expect in advance.
Junior Associates Will Likely Handle Much of the Work on Your Case
When shopping for attorneys, you’ll likely meet with senior attorneys in the firm, but these attorneys may not be doing the bulk of the work on your case. Usually, senior attorneys hand much of the work down to junior associates, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A lot of work goes into a personal injury case, and delegating some of the work to junior associates saves you money, because their hourly rates are cheaper, and time, because more people can accomplish the work faster. Ask whether senior attorneys will be supervising junior attorneys to complete the work on your case.
Responsiveness Is Very Important
When it comes to hiring a Spring Hill personal injury lawyer, you want someone who’s easy to get in touch with when you have questions or need an update about your case. You can begin to judge a firm’s responsiveness when you contact them for the first time. Do they respond to your attempts at contact quickly and politely, or do they blow you off? Remember, you’re going to be working with this firm for a long time, so you need to make sure you can count on them to keep communication lines open.
You Need an Attorney with Experience Handling Your Type of Case
Personal injury law is a diverse field with many subtypes, including medical malpractice, slip-and-falls, dog bites, car accidents, workplace injuries, defamation, assault and battery, and product liability. Some of these subtypes can be split up into even more focused categories. Choose an attorney who specializes in your type of case.
Choose a Firm that Has Experience Taking Personal Injury Cases to Trial
Most personal injury cases don’t go to trial, but that doesn’t mean you want a lawyer who will push for a settlement. You want someone who is prepared to take your case to trial if need be. Look for a firm with a track record of winning at trial.
References Can Tell You What Kind of Service to Expect
Always ask any attorney you talk to for client references. Talking to previous clients can give you information about how responsive an attorney is, how qualified they are to handle your case, and even how likely you are to be satisfied with a given attorney’s performance.
Before you hire a personal injury lawyer, make sure you know what you’re getting. The right lawyer can make all the difference to getting the best possible outcome for your case.