When it comes to selecting an attorney to represent you in your personal injury action, the choices are often numerous and the stakes are high. Retaining the assistance of a professional, skilled, and experienced personal injury attorney can make the difference between a large settlement that makes you feel whole again following an accident, and a bungled lawsuit that leaves you with years of unpaid medical bills and heartache. If you have been injured in an accident, you are likely overwhelmed by the process of hiring a personal injury attorney and at a loss as to how to select the best.
To this end, we have prepared the following list of 10 questions that will help you find the best personal injury attorney:
1. How long has the attorney been handling personal injury cases?
Experience is an invaluable asset for personal injury attorneys. No amount of education or natural talent will replace raw experience handling personal injury cases. More time spent in the field equates to a greater understanding of the law, increased courtroom experience, and a greater likelihood of success for your case. Your veteran personal injury attorney will be adept in researching your case, negotiating the best settlement, or litigating in court.
Furthermore, a personal injury attorney will charge the same contingent fee regardless of their years of experience. Since you will be paying the same fee, it is recommended that you hire a seasoned personal injury attorney as it may make a massive impact on the outcome of your case.
2. What is the attorney’s rankings and reputation in the community?
One of the most important gauges of a personal injury attorney’s greatness is their reputation amongst fellow attorneys and competitors. The Martindale-Hubbell Bar Registry, www.martindale.com, has peer review ratings for lawyers across the county. It has been a trusted source of reliable information concerning attorneys for the past 130 years. A rating of “AV” identifies an attorney as having a reputation for professional excellence, experience, expertise, and unprecedented legal ability. Established by attorneys, for attorneys, the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Registry is an outstanding source for locating quality, well-respected attorneys in your area.
There are several other resources that rank attorneys. Local magazines and newspapers often publish rankings for area attorneys that accurately reflect the opinion of the neighboring community. The Best Lawyers in America, www.bestlawyers.com, selects some of the best attorneys in over 57 specialties. Super Lawyers, www.superlawyers.com, publishes an annual listing of attorneys in a variety of practice areas who have attained high peer recognition. The Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum is comprised of some of the best attorneys in the country, each victorious in litigating multi-million dollar settlements. It designates the prestigious top trial lawyer ranking.
In addition to researching these peer ranking authorities, you can ask your potential personal injury attorney what percentage of their cases are referrals from other attorneys. Professionals in the field have the best insight into who the most respected personal injury attorneys are. It is important that your potential attorney receive a fair number of cases from referrals, as it speaks volumes to his or her reputation.
3. What fee arrangement does the attorney offer?
Almost all personal injury attorneys handle cases on a contingent fee basis. This means that there will be no fee for the attorney’s services unless your lawsuit is successful. Upon recovery, the attorney will receive a percentage of the amount received which you agreed to in advance. This arrangement is beneficial to the injured party because it does not require you to pay fees which would be onerous or burdensome. The contingent fee varies amongst attorneys, so look for an attorney with a reasonable fee that you feel justifies his or her skills and experience.
4. Will you be responsible for advance expenses for your TX Personal Injury Case?
While you will not be required to pay attorneys fees under a contingent fee arrangement, you may be mandated to pay advance expenses. Every personal injury case will entail some expenses, aside from attorney’s fees. These expenses are typically owed to third parties and can range from court reporter fees, witness fees, charges for medical records, charges for physician reports, filing fees, etc. Depending on the complexity of your case, these expenses can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Some attorneys will require clients pay all of these expenses regardless of their recovery. Therefore, it is important to define the terms of your personal injury attorney’s fee arrangement well in advance before deciding if he or she is the best attorney for you.
5. Does the lawyer have the resources to handle your personal injury case?
As discussed above, personal injury cases can be very expensive to litigate. You need a firm that can absorb such expenses if your fee arrangement so dictates. Further, personal injury litigation can be time consuming and require the assistance of multiple attorneys and staff. Ensure your potential attorney has enough manpower to successfully represent you.
6. Doe the attorney have trial experience?
It is far more common than you think for a personal injury attorney, even an experienced one, to never have brought a case to trial. You do not want to head to trial with an attorney that has never conducted one. Ask your potential attorney about their trial experience, including their success rate, while in advance of retaining them.
7. Does the attorney handle personal injury cases on a daily basis?
For some attorneys, personal injury cases comprise a small percentage of their overall case load. While this does not necessarily indicate the attorney will be incompetent or unprofessional, it does speak to their experience and knowledge in the field of personal injury law. Personal injury law is complex and multi-faceted. A lawyer who handles personal injury cases on a daily basis, rather than once in a while, is more likely to provide you with high quality, skilled representation.
8. Does the attorney value communication with the client?
One of the most common complaints among clients is the lack of communication between their attorney and themselves. If clients are unable to reach their lawyer or their lawyer does not call them often, they may feel in the dark concerning their case. Look for a personal injury attorney who values client communications.
9. Does the lawyer have time for your case?
Sought after lawyers are often extremely busy, which could mean they do not have enough time to devote to your case. Ask your potential personal injury attorney whether he or she has sufficient time to dedicate to proper pursuit of your case.
10. Does your potential attorney have passion?
Perhaps above all else, the best personal injury attorneys have a true passion for the field and for their clients. Passionate attorneys will strive above and beyond to maximize your recovery because they desire above all else to see you receive justice. In interviewing your potential attorney, look for indicators of their passion for personal injury law and your case.
Tate Law Offices Offers Unparalleled Personal Injury Representation in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area
Tate Law Offices, P.C., is comprised of a team of Dallas personal injury attorneys who are dedicated to maximizing the value of your case. Ranked the best lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine and the Top Trial Lawyers in America by the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Tate Law Offices has an unmatched reputation for exemplary legal services in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Our passion for the field of personal injury law and our client’s success shines through in all we do. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 888-662-3892.
“Question Box” image based on “Question Box” Raymond Bryson, CC-BY-2.0.