Should You Hire This Personal Injury Lawyer? 3 Considerations
If you’ve been hurt due to someone else’s negligence, you may need a personal injury lawyer on your side to move forward with negotiating a settlement or filing suit in a court of law. But saying you need an attorney is the easy part. The hard part is finding the right one. While you be very unlucky to hire someone completely out of their depth, there is a big difference between hiring someone merely competent and someone who is really good at their job. If you’re wondering whether or not you should hire someone in particular, here are three considerations you can use to make your decision.
Who Will You Be Dealing With?
Some larger firms like to pull something of a bait and switch on their clients. They meet with potential clients, develop a rapport, brag about their track record and experience, and then farm out the rest of the case to a junior associate. As you are merely signing on with the firm and not a particular personal injury lawyer, there’s nothing illegal about the tactic. It could be considered somewhat unethical, but most firms see nothing wrong with this approach. You should know who your actual attorney is going to be before you sign a thing.
Nothing makes the difference when it comes to separating a great personal injury lawyer from a merely competent one like experience. It can’t be rushed, it can’t be forced, and it certainly can’t be learned in a classroom. It can only be gathered through time and practice. This is what you want to see when you hire someone for your case. Ideally, you want to look for someone with at least ten years of experience in civil trial law. Even better, you want someone with years of relevant experience handling the exact type of case you’re bringing before them. Even if they’ve handled hundreds of car accident cases, they may not have the experience to handle your slip and fall case, for instance.
This is a big one and it is where many a personal injury lawyer fails. While you can’t know for sure that an attorney isn’t going to claim to be accessible while later proving otherwise, you should at least broach the subject. You may learn a lot from their response. Some attorneys are so busy they won’t even attempt to tell you that they’ll be available to get back to you in a reasonable time frame. Others will assure you that they will, but their body language will tell you differently. Pay close attention, because you want to know that it won’t take a week for your attorney to answer an e-mail.