Many lawyers hold themselves out as personal injury attorneys, but what are the top 5 things to look for in hiring a personal injury lawyer? You’ll find all of those qualities here at Springer & Lyle. Here’s what we have that other “personal injury lawyers” don’t.
You want somebody who focuses his or her practice on personal injury law and is respected by judges, insurance adjusters and defense attorneys. Personal injury is a highly complex branch of the law. A medical malpractice case is much different from an 18-wheeler case, workers’ compensation, premises liability and defective products. Don’t retain an inexperienced attorney who has to go through the learning curve on your case.
Any personal injury case is going to cost money to pursue. Costs involve medical record and report fees, filing and service fees, court reporter and transcript costs, expert and witness fees and compensation for doctors to testify on your behalf. These can easily reach thousands of dollars on any given case. Some lawyers will ask you to pay up front to help cover these costs. That’s a sign of either an inexperienced lawyer or a lawyer without the financial resources needed to pursue your case the right way. At Springer & Lyle, we always advance those costs on your behalf.
There are rules of professional conduct that attorneys must follow. Retaining a lawyer who you can trust with every aspect of your personal injury claim is critical. Confidential information must be protected, and any funds received on your behalf must be handled correctly. Any contingency fee agreement must be in writing, and you should be given a copy of it when you sign it.
On your initial appointment, don’t ask an attorney what your case is worth. Or, go ahead and ask them if you want to test them. A good lawyer won’t have an opinion until he or she has gathered all of the needed information and will tell you that it’s way too early to place a range of value on your case. A not so good lawyer will tell the client what he or she thinks the client wants to hear.
It’s impossible for your attorney to be available for you at all hours, but they should at least respond to phone calls or emails within a reasonable period of time. A considerate attorney will periodically advise the client on the developments in their case. Sometimes there aren’t any developments and there are valid reasons for this. The attorney and their staff should be good communicators and be willing to provide a brief status report when requested.