A personal injury case can take years to resolve. You need a lawyer who can get results. But you also need someone who will keep you informed throughout the process. Most importantly, your attorney should start solving your immediate problems while the law takes its sweet time.
Five Questions Can Help You Quickly Decide if the Lawyer You’re Talking to is Right for You
You can determine if a law firm is right for you in the first few minutes of a conversation. Focus on these five questions as you begin your search for a lawyer to represent your case:
- Am I talking to an actual attorney?
- Is this the type of lawyer I need?
- How will payment work?
- How big is this law firm?
- Are they good at marketing or good at law?
Am I Talking to an Actual Attorney?
Good communication is vital to the success of your case. When you call for the first time, you should expect to be forwarded to an actual attorney. Many big firms use support staff for this. But support staff can’t give legal advice and usually cannot fully appreciate all of the complex details of your case. The best personal injury firms will want an actual attorney evaluating a case from the start.
Is This the Type of Lawyer I Need?
You want a lawyer who is properly prepared to solve your problem. In some cases, that may be a “general practice lawyer.” These are usually solo offices that handle a little of everything. They are great at resolving straightforward legal matters: preparing documents (like a will or lease agreement), properly setting up a small business, filing paperwork with the secretary of state, reviewing contracts, addressing simple low-level criminal charges, and so on.
But personal injury cases are not simple legal matters. Personal injury cases are often multi-party cases, including both individuals and large companies. The law surrounding a personal injury can be extremely complex, as can the legal procedures. In order to succeed with a personal injury claim, you need a specialist who lives and breathes this area of the law every day. They know what to expect, what to look out for, and how to best prepare you to successfully navigate that winding path.
How Will Payment Work?
If you’ve been injured, you probably don’t have a lot of money to spare. That doesn’t mean you can’t hire an excellent attorney.
Some lawyers charge an hourly rate (usually between $200 and $400 per hour). Others charge a flat fee for each phase of your case (this is common with criminal defense lawyers). Most personal injury lawyers are paid on contingency. This means that they do not charge any fee up-front and you pay nothing out-of-pocket. Instead, they receive their pay as a percentage of what you are awarded when the case is completed. Until then, the law firm takes care of any fees (like filing fees or fees associated with getting copies of medical or other records) and helps you resolve other financial problems that have arisen as a result of your injury.
How Big is This Law Firm?
Law firms come in three sizes: solo, small- to mid-sized, and large. Just like Goldilocks, you want the firm that is just right: large enough that they have the expertise you need, small enough that you don’t get lost in the shuffle.
In personal injury cases, a small- to mid-sized firm is often the best choice. Such an organization is small enough that the client is a vital part of the team, but large enough to have all of the skills you need. Solo practitioners cannot offer those resources. Large firms obviously can, but they tend to break their operation into departments, “handing off” a client as the case progresses. That can lead to clients being lost in the shuffle or left in the dark when it comes time for an important decision.
With a firm like Sigal Law, your team is the same for the entire case—even if it takes years to get what you deserve. You won’t get shuffled off from department to department or talk to a new person every time that you call. You’ll be speaking to the same qualified, experienced attorneys and paralegals every time you call. You will get your questions answered and you’ll know exactly who is responsible for your case every step of the way.
Are They Good at Marketing or Good at Law?
Any personal injury lawyer should be eager to answer questions about their track record: How long have they been handling personal injury cases? How many new cases do they take on each year? What kind of results do they get?
Ask those questions!
People are often surprised to learn that the personal injury lawyers with the most impressive track records are not household names. That’s because those attorneys—especially when they are in small or mid-sized firms—get plenty of clients simply by word of mouth. They do not pour money into billboards or ads because they do not need them. Their skill with the law speaks for itself.
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