One of the most important choices you will make in pursuing your personal injury claim is choosing your lawyer. Choosing the right lawyer is crucial to your case. In choosing your personal injury lawyer there are a few important tips to keep in mind.
Ask the lawyer if he or she will keep your case or if they are simply going to be the lawyer that signs your case only to refer you to another lawyer. Some lawyers and firms advertise for personal injury cases, but once they have your case, they will refer it out to another lawyer. Read your contract. Ask the potential lawyer if they refer cases out and under what circumstances.
Ask the lawyer if they will try your case if necessary. Some personal injury lawyers will sign your case, handle your case through pre-litigation negotiations, but if the case does not settle, then they will either drop your case or refer it out to another lawyer. Ask your lawyer if they try personal injury cases before you sign.
Ask the lawyer if they will handle your case or if it will be another attorney in the firm. This is an important question because if the lawyer signing your case is not going to handle your case then you want to find out about the other lawyers working at that firm and whether they are experienced in personal injury trial law.
Read your contract. Under what terms can the lawyer withdraw from representing you? If the lawyer withdraws, are they going to retain an interest in your case? Under what terms can you fire your lawyer? If you fire your lawyer, are they going to retain an interest in your case? These are important questions because generally in a personal injury case by signing a contract with a lawyer you are generally assigning the lawyer a percentage of your case. What does this mean? If the lawyer recovers money damages then the lawyer gets to keep a percentage of those money damages.
You may be thinking that if at some point you become dissatisfied with your lawyer that you can just fire the lawyer and hire another lawyer, right? While you certainly have the right to fire your lawyer, it may not be as easy as you think. Depending on the contract you signed and the reason you are firing the lawyer you may be in a position where the original lawyer retains an interest in your case. This is important because when you try to hire a new lawyer you will have to assign that lawyer an interest in your case, just as you did the first. Now you will have two lawyers claiming an interest in your case, which can significantly reduce your ultimate recovery.
A roundup of the best tips and legal advice.