Hiring a personal injury attorney is a stressful but also serious choice. There may be intimate details you need to share with them about your journey in healing after your injury, and how it might have emotionally affected you. So a good attorney is one that takes their time getting to know their client, their concerns, and their hopes. Listed below are additional questions for you to ask when interviewing different personal injury lawyers.
How Big Is Your Firm? Who Will I Actually Talk To?
Big legal firms can make clients feel like case numbers. Instead of speaking to your attorney, you might find yourself talking to a legal aide over the phone, who will also be working on your case. While they are highly qualified, and usually bright and have worked diligently and brilliantly on other cases, they are still not your attorney.
The philosophy behind a smaller firm is being able to work more with the clients and focus on getting justice and compensation in court for their personal injuries. Some attorneys take on too many clients and are thus not able to give each one enough focus.
Do You Have Access to Expert Witnesses?
A good personal injury lawyer will have developed relationships with medical, engineering, mechanical, psychological, and law enforcement professionals. These people are called in to give expert witness testimony to help your case. A medical expert can go over how drugs in the body impair driving, even if they are prescribed. Experts on cars and how they are engineered can be a witness if a victim is injured due to a faulty part on a vehicle. These experts give details on how and why things work so the judge and the jury can make an informed decision with those facts in mind.
How Are Fees Assessed? What Do They Cover?
Lawyers take all kinds of work. Some will charge you a retainer plus an hourly fee, while others will charge just the retainer. If paying a retainer then you will want all of the costs in writing. You will also want to ask if the DMV hearing is included since it is separate. You will also want to know about fees related to cover going to trial, bringing in expert witnesses to give their testimony, and medical testing (if, for example, blood reanalysis is needed).
This model may be very stressful for people who have been injured in a car accident, cannot work, have medical bills piling up, and the idea of putting down a hefty retainer — usually starting in the hundreds of dollars — prevents them from calling any attorney at all. So other attorneys charge contingency fees, which means that you don’t owe your attorney any fees unless you win damages in court. This means that you can rest assured that your attorney is actually working hard and taking on cases they believe in. The benefit for most clients is that they would have waited, out of fear of not having the money to pay an attorney, but realize how much there is to gain from taking legal action and seeing how much you can be compensated for your injuries. Attorney Jerome O. Fjeld, PLLC works on this contingency basis, and also operates a small firm.