Hiring an attorney to handle your personal injury case can be stressful, especially if you've never had to do so before, and you have a serious case. You probably wonder about many things, like what to expect, how to tell if the lawyer is right for your case, and your ability to pay for legal assistance.
While these are all common concerns, you can pretty much cover them all by avoiding some common mistakes people make when hiring an attorney:
Not Checking The Attorney's Courtroom Track Record
If you want to have some idea of what to expect from an attorney, look into his or her track record in the courtroom. Contrary to what you may believe, many attorneys never actually step foot into a courtroom. Some are great negotiators who are best at solving legal problems from their office and reaching fair settlements without having to go to trial. So, checking the the track record can help you decide if this attorney is right for your case.
If you have a case that is likely to end up in court, look for an attorney who has courtroom experience and not just negotiating skills. A lawyer that is not cut out for courtroom drama may pressure you into a settlement just to avoid court.
Not Checking For Conflicts Of Interest
You should always avoid working with an attorney who has represented the business, organization or individual you are filing a suit against. Your attorney's past relationship can make you wonder if your attorney is working to represent your best interest. Even though it's the attorney's duty to check for conflict of interest, an attorney that really wants your business may rationalize away the previous relationship.
It is important to bring up this issue during your initial meeting and make sure you are certain there are no conflicts before signing an agreement of representation.
Not Interviewing And Negotiating
It is not wise to hire the first attorney you interview. There are a number of different approaches to settling personal injury cases, so you want input from more than one attorney.
Cost is another reason to interview several attorneys. You should also ask the lawyer if he or she can come down on price. There is no shortage of lawyers out there willing to represent you, so it's a buyer's market out there. Attorneys eager for your business are likely to come down a bit a price.
You can also negotiate the way you are billed. You might suggest being billed a flat-fee instead of an hourly rate. If the lawyer is taking your case on contingency, discuss whether he or she will accept a lower percentage of your settlement.
When it comes to filing a lawsuit, you need to be in charge of choosing who represents you. This way you can find the attorney who you can be sure will have your best interest in mind when building and trying your case. Need more help? Have other questions? Contact a company like Edward J. Achrem & Associates, Ltd.