If you have been injured in an accident, your choice of personal injury lawyer is paramount. Not all personal injury lawyers have equal amounts of skill and experience. In Bixby, A poor lawyer can cost you thousands of dollars or even far more! Here are some tips from from the law office of Bergeron Clifford in Whitby on how to choose the right personal injury lawyer.
Choosing the Best Lawyer for You
When you are first getting in contact with injury lawyer Whitby, it is important to visit a number of them to find out their overall thoughts about your case. You will be making your decision based on these visits and will be doing a comparison between those you interview to find the right fit for you. Try to visit at least five lawyers to get an idea of their responses to your case. Beware of any lawyer that sounds either overly optimistic or pessimistic.
When you first visit a lawyer, this is called an initial consultation. To help the lawyer give you their thoughts about your case they will need as much information as you can give. You bring all relevant documentation: police reports, medical records and bills, income loss information, and all correspondence with the insurance company and they, in turn should give you their assessment, including if they think you have a case, how much money you can reasonably expect to get, how long it will take and potential legal strategies.
Most lawyers do not charge anything for an initial consultation. for example, if you are meeting with the personal injury lawyer Bergeron Clifford in Whitby, he will give you a free assessment of your case. But before you meet with a lawyer, find out whether he or she will charge you for the first interview. If the lawyer wants to charge you just for discussing whether or not to take your case, go somewhere else.
When you sit down with a lawyer you need to know more about him in order to know if he has the necessary experience to handle your case in an optimal fashion. Ask the following questions:
- “How long have you been in practice?” Look for at least six years minimum, preferably a decade or more.
- “How many cases have you handled that are similar to mine?” If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, you will want a lawyer who has taken on and either won or gained settlements for at least dozens if not hundreds of car accident cases. A lawyer with a primary specialty in slip and fall accidents might not be the best lawyer for you in this instance.
- “Roughly what percentage of your practice involves personal injury cases?”
- “Do you primarily represent plaintiffs or defendants?” While its good to have a lawyer who has experience on both sides, you do not want to be represented by someone whose majority of case experience has been primarily for defendants. Their way of thinking may be too closely tied to the attitudes of insurance companies and they might have a vested interest in your claim.
- What responsibility will the lead lawyer have in your case? In almost all law firms it’s normal for more than one attorney in an office to work on the same case, and to have less experienced attorneys handle routine tasks. This is fine. However, when it comes to overall legal strategy and overall responsibility, who will be the primary lawyer? If there is to be another lawyer directly involved, ask to meet that lawyer, too.
After you have discussed the facts of your case and the history of your negotiations with the insurance company, you may be able to get some sense from the lawyer about how much he thinks your case is worth, and how difficult it may be to get the insurance company to pay that amount.
This is when you should let the lawyer know which of the following you want him or her to do for you:
- Obtain a settlement amount for you with as few costs and as little hassle as possible. This generally means the amount will be approximately what the insurance company offers.
- Obtain an amount higher than what the insurance company has offered as soon as possible.
- Obtain as much money as possible, no matter how long it takes.
These are essentially your three options when taking on a case and you should think through the monetary and emotional ramifications of them before you set foot in a lawyer’s office.
You will want a personal injury lawyer who is willing to accept your case on a contingency fee basis and advance all of the expenses involved in your case up front. These expenses include all court filing fees, deposition costs, expenses for medical records, and fees for expert reports and testimony.
A contingency basis means that your lawyer does not get paid unless and until you receive money, either through a settlement or a verdict after trial. It also means that all expenses the lawyer paid throughout the trial are also recouped from the money from the insurance company. This is customary in personal injury law.
A lawyer who refuses to make such an investment in your case is someone to run away from. either he is not a good lawyer or he lacks the confidence in your case.