Personal injury law covers numerous practice areas, and tens of thousands of attorneys are licensed to practice in the United States. You may see several advertisements about personal injury attorneys in your hometown, but that does not mean just any attorney can get the job done. So if you are looking for a good Charleston personal injury attorney for example, the right choice will provide personalized assistance throughout a case, remain accessible, demonstrate a proven track record, and offer the right personality fit.
Take Advantage of Free Consultations
Many, if not most, attorneys offer free consultations. The consultation offers an opportunity for the attorney to determine the viability of a claim and for an injury victim to determine fit. Use the consultation as an opportunity to learn more about the firm, the claim experience, and practicing philosophies. Talk to a few different attorneys who can demonstrate practice experience that matches your needs, and then make a hiring decision. The right attorney will make a difference in your overall personal injury claim experience.
Questions to Ask a Potential Personal Injury Lawyer
During the initial consultation, make sure that you ask the following questions and look for key answers to choose the right attorney for your needs:
#1. What practice area experience do you have?
Look for attorneys who can explicitly describe claims similar to yours. Some attorneys work personal injury claims from car accidents to medical malpractice claims while others focus their work in certain areas. Find the attorney who has represented several claimants in a specific practice area and will share a personal success rate.
#2. How long have you practiced in this jurisdiction?
Green attorneys can provide excellent legal representation, but seasoned attorneys who have built practices in specific geographical areas may offer the upper hand. You can find a lawyer’s current standings on the Scbar.org website.
#3. Will you serve as the primary attorney on my claim and can I access you directly during the case?
Many law firms assign teams to handle claims, and claimants may rarely speak to the lead attorney. Look for a firm that gives you access to the lead attorney or an associate who can demonstrate a high degree of knowledge about your claim.
#4. Can you take my claim to trial if needed?
Some attorneys prefer to settle claims outside of the courtroom while others take every opportunity to go to trial. An attorney willing to work in both settings often provides the most prudent legal advice. In some cases, a settlement makes more sense. In others, a trial is the only way to enact meaningful change. Find an attorney focused on your recovery rather than a particular strategy. Every case is different.
#5. Will you explain your fee structure?
The majority of personal injury attorneys work on contingency. They do not charge their clients for their work until they secure compensation. While a client may not pay attorney fees until after settlement, he or she may face responsibility for other costs associated with the case. Ask all prospective attorneys about the breakdown of possible charges to fully understand what an attorney might cost.
#6. How many cases do you accept at one time?
Some attorneys accept too many cases at once and cannot dedicate enough time and resources to pursue the right strategy. Others may only work part time and fail to provide the kind of energy you deserve throughout a claim. Look for an attorney who understands time management.
#7. Will you provide a list of references?
Firsthand experience from other clients will give you a different perspective about legal services. Talk to a former client about accessibility and the attorney’s approach to the case.
#8. Has the bar ever suspended you for any reason?
An investigation or a suspension may not be a deal breaker. Listen for the attorney’s answer. If the suspension occurred long ago, was dismissed, or does not apply to your needs, then it may not affect an attorney’s ability to handle your claim.
Don’t be afraid to engage your prospective attorney in a very frank and straightforward conversation about his or her skills and experience. At the end of the conversation, you should have the right credentials and enough details to make an informed decision about your personal injury lawyer of choice.