Getting injured can be a very stressful and traumatic experience. That trauma can be made even worse when you are thrust into a confusing legal system that you likely don’t understand. Unfortunately, this is the reality many face after being injured in an accident. Injury attorneys can help you navigate the confusion, but finding the right attorney is key to a positive experience.
The best way to find the right attorney for you is by gathering basic information from potential attorneys about their practice area and cost of their representation. This will help guide you in making any final representation decisions. Ask potential attorneys the following five questions to help narrow down your options to the right fit.
Be sure to ask your lawyer about their practice area and success rate. The answers to these two questions will help you make a well-informed decision.
- What is your practice area?
- In what recent cases have you received a successful outcome?
There are a multitude of personal injury practice areas that lawyers work in. These can range from auto accidents to medical malpractice to product liability, and each have their own very important processes. Making sure that your attorney is experienced in the type of practice area that your case will require is an important part of a less stressful and more successful experience. Ask a potential attorney about their practice area and successful cases early on in any representation discussion.
Another great place to look for attorney practice areas and successful case outcomes is on their law firm website. Most law firms will publish a blog or content related to their recent victories. You can look to the website to make sure the attorney you are looking to hire is experienced in the right practice area.
Cost is naturally going to be one of your areas of concern. Before hiring a lawyer, be sure to ask:
- What are your attorney fees and costs?
- Will you work on a contingency or a retainer fee agreement?
- What percentage will you take from settlement or award funds?
Most injury attorneys will likely work on what is called a contingency-fee agreement. This means that the attorney and law firm will not be paid if you do not receive a settlement or award at trial, but it also means that attorney’s fees will come out of any money award or settlement funds. Additionally, you will want to make sure that you accurately understand what percentage of the settlement or award will be paid to the attorney. Sometimes this percentage can also vary based on how long the case goes on and if you enter litigation or not. Make sure you’re clear on this before signing any attorney-client fee agreements.
A retainer fee agreement is much less common for injury attorneys, but it requires that a client put down a certain retainer amount, and the attorney will charge their time until that client fund runs out. When it runs out, the client may be required to put down more to continue the representation. Make sure you understand the fee arraignment any potential attorney is expecting, because you will sign an agreement binding you to this arrangement.
Many attorney-client fee arrangements also differentiate between fees and expenses. Fees typically refer to the amount of time the attorney spends on your case, while expenses typically refer to the out-of-pocket expenses an attorney may need to pay on your behalf. If an attorney differentiates between fees and expenses, both will likely come out of any award or settlement funds you agree to.
Finding the right attorney can be hard, but these five questions will help narrow down who is right for you to ensure a more positive experience with the legal system. Make sure you gather this basic information before entering into any attorney-client agreement.
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