Hiring an injury attorney to represent you and your case is probably one of the most important decisions you will make. The person you hire will either make or break your case.
Never leave this decision up to chance. With that being said, there are certain mistakes you should never make when going through this process.
Here are six ways you can learn from those who have come before you.
“Do not become me. Learn from me”
Agent Gibbs, NCIS
1) Do not hire an accident lawyer who will guarantee any kind of outcome. There is no way to guarantee anything. Your chances of winning are not 100% full-proof. What a credible injury attorney will do is explain the pros and cons of your case. This is only after you have explained to him or her what happened in full. Do not expect anything more than this.
2) Do not hire any accident attorney who is not willing to go to trial or who rides the fence on this in any way. Some lawyers will go to court just because they want to collect big fees. Others will avoid court at all costs. When this happens you run the risk of getting a lower settlement. The other side counts on this in some instances. Hire someone who is able to hold their own, whether a court case is necessary or not.
3) Hire someone who has a successful track record. Many have made this mistake in the past. A successful track record is not always going to be a guarantee. However, it will help your case out. Ask your lawyer if he or she has handled a case like yours in the past. Ask how many they have handled. This will give you some indication of where your chances lie.
4) In many cases, it is not that unusual for a senior lawyer to take your case. Then, he passes it on to someone else at the firm. This may not be unusual, but you need someone who is going to negotiate 100% on your behalf. You want the most qualified person handling you. Say the senior lawyer cannot do it. Make sure he hands your case over to someone who can. It is okay to be suspicious of firms who do not do this. This is a red flag you need to be aware of.
5) What you want is someone who only collects a fee when you win your case. This is called a “contingent-fee based lawyer”. Be suspicious of any lawyer who asks for a boatload of money up front without any kind of explanation. Your auto accident lawyer needs to explain all the fees and their process before you start. These kinds of accident attorneys are not to be trusted.
6) It is one thing to hire a highly-qualified lawyer. That is what you are supposed to do. It is another thing to hire someone you are not comfortable with. Do not hire someone based on them being “highly-qualified”. You have to feel comfortable with whom you are working with. There has to be some sort of trust between the two of you. Are you not finding that trust? You need to find someone new then. Your case is not going to move forward positively when you keep holding on to someone you do not work well with.
Andrew J. “AJ” Decker, IV, grew up in Live Oak, Florida and graduated from Suwannee High School in 1997. He attended Emory University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2001. He subsequently attended Florida Coastal School of Law, graduating with high honors in 2004. AJ represents client in civil litigation matters, focusing…
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