You’ve been seriously hurt in a motor vehicle collision, and you want your rights and interests protected, so here are five red flags when hiring a personal injury attorney. If any of these flags pops up, Springer & Lyle is likely to tell you that you might want to look elsewhere.
The Pass Off
You’ll probably be retaining a law firm of personal injury lawyers and not a specific attorney to represent you. You don’t want your file passed around from attorney to attorney. You’ll want assurance that the person you meet with will be at the steering wheel throughout every stage of your case.
The Defense Attorney
No, you don’t want an insurance defense attorney representing you in a case involving an insurance company, even if he or she has no ties with the opposing insurer in your case. You want somebody who concentrates their practice on advocating for injured people.
Just about every personal injury lawyer in the country represents clients on a contingency fee basis. There are no attorney fees unless there’s a settlement or a verdict on your behalf. If you are asked for money up front to take your case, you either have a bad case or you found a bad lawyer.
Costs of Pursuing Your Claim
The costs of developing a personal injury claim if a lawsuit has to be filed can run into the thousands. Those costs include charges for medical records, filing and service of process fees, and expert and witness fees. There could also be fees for the court reporter, videographer and transcripts, and the doctors to testify on your behalf. Any successful attorney will advance these costs during the course of your case. If somebody wants money for costs in order to take your case, find another attorney.
The Retainer Agreement
Any agreement to represent you must be in writing. That’s for your protection. Don’t retain legal representation and then leave without a copy of that retainer agreement. It should specify the percentage of the contingency fee and when the attorneys get paid. It should also include when costs advanced are due and the nature and extent of their representation of you.