WHAT DO YOU WANT IN YOUR PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
The difference between a good decision and a poor decision when choosing an attorney can be the can be the difference between the joy and satisfaction, as the case proceeds, of knowing you made a great decision on so important a matter, verses dissatisfaction and regret not easily remedied. This coupled with a potentially enormous difference in the amount of damages you can receive, makes the selection of the attorney a matter or primary importance.
What To Look For
You want a lawyer who is very experienced with the type and size of your claim – for example, car accident personal injury claims and not the same as defective product personal injury claims. Some lawyers who handle relatively small personal injury claims do not have the expertise and resources to handle very large claims. Conversely, others specialize in larger claims.
Nearly every personal injury attorney works on a contingent fee basis – no recovery, no fee: The attorney’s fee will be a percentage (typically 30-40%) of the damages awarded.. Be prepared to negotiate the percentage. Usually a higher percentage will be required in more complexes, expensive or time-consuming cases, but it can be negotiated lower in more straight-forward highly remunerative cases. The percentage agreed upon should be specified in a written attorney-client fee agreement’
Be aware of the difference between a lawyer’s fees and the costs incurred by the lawyer in pursuing your claim. An agreement to charge no fee (unless successful) does not by itself mean you have no obligation to pay costs. You want a lawyer that will not only charge no fee unless successful, but will also agree to advance the costs of the case, and not require you to reimburse him for those costs if unsuccessful. Cost can be very substantial.’
Some lawyers are more disposed to settle claims, and less inclined to take them to court. You want a lawyer that is very experienced in trial work, and regularly goes to trial on their cases. Insurance companies know the lawyers who have no reservations about going to trial, and those more readily bought off.
You want a lawyer that is opposed to settling before the full ramifications of your injuries can be prognosticated reliably.
You want a lawyer with at least several years’ inspirational track record of success in the type and size of your claim.
You will want a lawyer that gets good ratings from his former clients as well as hid peers on the various rating services available on the web. Martindale-Hubbell is the most widely recognized.
You want a lawyer with whom you have a good rapport. The first task of your lawyer will be to sell himself to you. Does he (or she) inspire your confidence? Did he (or she) satisfactorily and clearly answer all your questions and settle all your concerns? Do you relate to him (or her) well? If not, continue further on your quest to find the right lawyer for you.