Hiring a personal injury attorney, or even considering it, may leave you feeling confused, overwhelmed, or possibly suspicious. After all, there are dozens of attorneys advertising their services for victims of auto accidents – how do you choose? This article will provide three questions for you to consider when hiring (or choosing to hire) an attorney for your personal injury case:
1. Is your attorney qualified? A somewhat rhetorical or obvious question, but ask it anyway. Find out how many personal injury cases your attorney has handled. Ask how many personal injury jury trials they’ve been involved in as a plaintiff’s attorney. How many years have they practiced law? Some personal injury cases can be complex, so less experience may equate to less practical knowledge of prosecuting a personal injury case. Does this attorney have some basic knowledge of handling a personal injury claim, i.e. the statute of limitations for an auto accident claim in Colorado? The more information you can get from the attorney, the more confident you’ll feel in hiring this individual.
2. Will you get along with this attorney? I realize the answer to this question might require a crystal ball, but go with your instinct here. Ask yourself: does this attorney have my best interests in mind? Alternatively, is this attorney looking at your case as a way to enrich themselves? Is this attorney someone who genuinely cares about your case, your situation, the effects of the incident on your lifestyle? At the most basic level, attorneys are problem solvers – will this attorney help you solve the problems associated with your personal injury case? Is this attorney someone who is the right fit for your personality? Personal injury cases can sometimes take months to years to resolve. That’s a long time to work with someone. Better to know now that it’s a good fit.
3. How does the attorney get paid? The vast majority of personal injury cases are handled on a contingent fee basis, meaning the attorney only gets paid if he/she is able to collect an amount for you; the attorney is then paid a percentage of the amount collected for you (that’s why it’s called ‘contingent’). Remember this: in a personal injury case, no attorney that I’m aware of can heal your broken arm, or remove the scars, or heal your injured body (let me know if you find one). Instead, an attorney collects money for you to compensate you for your injuries. Bottom line, your case will have a monetary value, whether obtained through a settlement or assigned by a jury. Be sure you understand how your attorney will be compensated, and also ask how costs in the case will be paid.
The more you arm yourself with knowledge about the attorney-client relationship in a personal injury case, the more confident you’ll feel that you made the right choice. It’s your case, the attorney’s job is to represent you.
At Cave Law, I offer free consultations to discuss these three questions and more. Call us at 303-680-9000.
Cave Law – “Putting the Personal Back in Personal Injury”