Between auto, bus and airplane accidents, hundreds of thousands of people are injured each year in the U.S., and this is to say nothing of the fatalities that occur annually. What accident survivors often have to contend with are injuries, anxieties, medical expenses, rehabilitation, counseling and loss of work, among many other considerations. Therefore it’s only natural—and right—that those who bear responsibility for the accident be held accountable. This is why many people in these accident scenarios opt to hire an injury attorney.
Of course, not all lawyers are created equal, and there are important criteria to take into account when searching for that right fit. To this end, here are some things to consider when consulting potential injury attorneys.
Will the Attorney Commit?
Some lawyers have too much on their plate and spread themselves too thin to devote themselves fully to a particular client. Of course any accident victim is going to want a proven, experienced attorney in his or her corner, which is why these professionals are in such high demand. But, unfortunately, sometimes busy lawyers will wait a year or longer after signing up a client—until just before the statute of limitations expires—to file that client’s case. Therefore any potential client must ask the attorney in the initial consult if he or she indeed is available to focus on that particular case for the duration.
All lawsuits are different, and not every lawyer has the requisite experience trying certain cases—no matter how big their advertising budget. It’s important to ask if the lawyer in question has tried the specific type of case before, and whether they have had much success. Don’t be scared to control the direction of the conversation, and don’t be scared to contact previous clients, if they happen to be available.
Also, be wary of what’s called the “meet and greet.” Oftentimes a person will walk into a law office and be met by someone whom they assume will be their lawyer, but is only there for the initial consultation. Make sure the person sitting across the desk is the same person who will be handling the case.
Know the Contingency Fee
Anyone with a solid case can expect to find an attorney who will take him or her on as a client on a contingency basis. That means the attorney only gets paid when there is a monetary recovery. (I.e., when the client gets paid.) Contingency fees may vary from firm to firm, but clients can typically expect between 25% and 40% of the final award to go to attorney’s fees. However, a person can negotiate a lower contingency based on the strength of his or her case.
Uncover Hidden Costs
Sometimes, in the event of a loss, attorneys will charge their clients for any out-of-pocket costs they incurred during the trial. It’s vital to clear up any information about hidden costs in the initial consult. The client needs to know he or she is off the hook in the case the attorney fails to win a monetary judgment.
These are just some things to consider when searching for an injury lawyer. Above all else it is vital to find out the worth of the case in that first interview. While no lawyer will be able to give an exact figure based on a general overview, a seasoned attorney should be able to provide a general estimate and explain the variables.