Three Questions to Ask Yourself When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Believe it or not, advertising is a good place to start. Unless you already know the name of a personal injury attorney, you will probably choose your attorney based upon name recognition and reputation alone. Advertising, or more particularly, public relations, is a good place to start. Television advertising is the most visible but not necessarily the best way to find a lawyer. Unfortunately, we find that sometimes the firms which spend the most on television advertising may be making up for deficits in other areas. In any event, once you have the names, you will probably want to go to the internet for more research. A personal injury victim can find out a tremendous amount of information about the lawyer and law firm from internet websites, and now websites (like www.jeffbrooketeam.com) offer live interaction. Once you have narrowed your search on the internet, you may want to find the answers to the following questions:
Does the law firm have the experience, personnel and resources to handle my case properly? A personal injury victim is entitled to personal attention and the prompt efficient handling of his or her case. If the firm is a “mill,” you will almost certainly not receive this level of service. Also, if the case is headed for court, the law firm will need to have significant resources to take the case all the way through trial and perhaps on appeal. Aggressive litigation requires legal research, the ability to handle voluminous documents, technology skills and deep pockets to advance the costs for experts and consultants.
Does the law firm aggressively try cases or merely settle high volumes of smaller cases? The answer to this question may not be readily apparent from the Internet but you can get a sense of the firm’s trial experience from “outcomes”, which firms typically list. Often, firms that take high volumes of small cases are simply unable to get the best possible outcome. They settle to save time. Ask the potential lawyer what his approach is to the handling of small, medium and large cases.
Can the firm answer your questions about important miscellaneous matters? Is the firm conveniently located? Will they meet with you at your convenience? What types of fees and costs will be charged? Does the firm practice in all local circuit and federal courts? (A hallmark of good firms is the ability to practice in federal court where the procedures are more complex and the rules less forgiving).
Once a personal injury victim gets the answers to these questions, he should consider setting up an appointment. Perhaps most important, the potential client should get to know the lawyer (not necessarily the paralegal or investigator, but the lawyer who will ultimately be responsible for the case). If the personal injury lawyer seems attentive and ready to take the case on and otherwise gives you a good feeling, you have probably reached the end of your search. If not, don’t be shy about asking for time to think about your retention decision. If something is telling you that there is something wrong, you should consider listening to that little voice.
Ultimately, the attorney-client relationship should turn into a bond. If a case is hotly contested, the lawyer and client are essentially going to war together and both parties need to feel that the other “has their back.” When the relationship works out, it is a beautiful thing. With attention to the guidelines above and a little bit of digging, you can find the right Virginia Beach personal injury lawyer for your case. Feel free to contact us if you think we may be right for you.