If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle collision, or was hit as a pedestrian or on a bicycle, you may find yourself in need of an attorney.
When looking for an attorney many factors may cross your mind. For instance, is the attorney nearby, are they well known, and will you get the settlement you need?
Although these factors are important, here are five other things to consider and ask when interviewing attorneys to handle your claim.
- Do you get to meet with the attorney, not just legal staff?
While it is typical to meet with legal staff and communicate with them throughout your claim as they collect information, if requested, you should also be able to meet with the attorney handling your case. At your initial consultation, if the attorney is not present, we encourage you to ask to meet the attorney and speak with them directly.
- Will your attorney direct your medical care with providers?
Your healing is important. However, your attorney should not direct your medical care. We believe that your medical care should be directed by your treating physicians because they have direct knowledge of your needs and condition. After all, they did go to school for it.
More so, your attorney should have the philosophy of preparing authentic claims. You should get care to feel better, not to inflate your case with additional medical care that is unwarranted.
- Is your attorney’s focus on your healing, not the settlement amount?
Your healing is the most important aspect of your case. Your attorney should not place the anticipated settlement above your healing. This means that your attorney should not rush your care simply to get the settlement proceeds, or prolong your care in attempt to amplify your proceeds through a fabricated case.
- Will your attorney pursue a reasonable settlement?
Settlement discussions, also known as settlement negotiations are a common practice among attorneys. If your attorney agrees to the first offer made by the insurance carrier, they might not be pursing what you deserve. You should understand that the insurance company probably would have made an offer regardless. If the attorney puts forth no effort, they are simply taking a fee from what you might have received anyway. Find an attorney who will fight for your case, like you would fight for your case.
- Has your attorney been in front of a jury, and are they willing to do that for you?
Most cases will settle before filing suit becomes necessary. However, if your case does require filing suit is your attorney willing and prepared to do so?
Although it is not preferred, some cases end up going to litigation. Your attorney should be willing and ready to stand in a court room in front of a jury, and be comfortable doing so. Your attorney will be sharing your story, from before the collision to the future far beyond the collision. He or she will be providing a vision of how the injuries will affect you on an ongoing basis.
A seasoned attorney with jury trial experience should be your advocate in the courtroom, withstanding attacks against your claim. He or she should be able to convey what you experienced from the collision to the jury, guiding them to step into your shoes.
If you have been involved in collision and need representation we suggest keeping these five factors on your radar and in your question book when interviewing for an attorney. Likewise, if you have hired an attorney and any of these factors raise concerns, we encourage you to talk with your attorney directly.
Finally, if you are unsure about your current representation, are in the process of looking for representation, or would like a second opinion, our office offers free consultations.
Article by: Samantha Merrick