Hiring a personal injury attorney is a serious decision. The skill and knowledge of your attorney can make or break your case. We recommend interviewing attorneys before deciding which firm to trust with your case.
Here are important questions to ask during the interview:
What areas of practice do you specialize in?
Instead of focusing on one area of law, many attorneys, especially solo practitioners, do a little bit of everything. These attorneys are sometimes called the “jack of all trades, master of none.” It is important that the personal injury attorney you are hiring has knowledge and expertise in the area of law in which you are seeking advice.
Have you taken my type of case to trial before?
It would be a grave mistake to assume that just based on advertising that the attorney has handled or tried your type of case. In a competitive market, many attorneys will take your case, with no intention of ever filing a lawsuit as they lack courtroom experience. Ask for your lawyer’s experience and results. Ask to speak to former clients, if possible. Remember, you are the one doing the hiring.
Are you board certified?
7% of eligible Florida Bar members, approximately 4600 attorneys are board certified. An attorney who is a member in good standing of the Florida bar and meets the standards prescribed by the states Supreme Court may become board certified in one or more of the 24 certification fields. Contact the Florida Bar to verify whether your personal injury attorney is board certified.
Will you be the actual personal injury attorney handling my case?
Be careful about the meet and greet, and then never seeing that lawyer again. Find out specifically who will be handling your case. Who will be your contact? Who will you be speaking to on the telephone? Be careful about meeting the persons in charge, only to later realize that a paralegal will be handling your case.
What is your contingency fee?
In Florida, personal injury fee agreements are based upon the contingency fee agreement. This means that there is no legal fee unless there is a monetary recovery. If you have a legitimate claim, rest assured you will find an attorney to take your case on a contingency fee agreement. Contingency fee agreements are negotiable and typically range between 25% and 40% if a lawsuit is filed.
Will I be responsible for any advanced case costs at all if we lose?
In addition to the contingency fee, lawyers also charge any costs advanced. These are the things that are used to move your case forward such as requesting medical records from healthcare providers. Make sure your lawyer takes the case in such a way that you are not responsible for the costs, even if you are unsuccessful. Make sure to ask for a guarantee that you will not be responsible for any out-of-pocket expenses.
What problems does the attorney foresee with your case?
It is important you get an assessment from your attorney of the potential limitations in your case. By doing this early on, expectations are managed and so there are no surprises down the road.
Is there a time limit by which you must settle the case or file a lawsuit?
A statute of limitations is a statute that limits the time in which a claim can be settled or a lawsuit filed. Depending on the particular claim, many statutes of limitations are 4 years from the date of the injury or wrongful action. It is important you ask your attorney if you fall outside of the statute.
What types of clients does the attorney represent?
Most law firms either represent plaintiffs or defendants, but rarely both. Depending on your needs for representation it is important to decipher this early on.
How often will you communicate with me, will you take my calls?
The decision to hire an attorney is not an easy one and can come at a time of great need. The last thing you need to worry about is an attorney who will not return your calls. Set the standard early on in holding the attorney accountable for returning your calls.
Here to Help – Michles and Booth Personal Injury Attorneys
Here at Michles and Booth, we take the time to sit down with you and go over your questions and concerns. You are our number one priority. We specialize in personal injury, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, and social security case. When we take on a case, we fight to ensure that you don’t become a victim again. We would love to sit down with you and look over your case. Give us a call to speak with a personal injury attorney now – (800) 848-6168.