Below in the article is an excerpt from the blog at http://bc.timlouislaw.com/blog/.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is not a trivial task. It can be a long and grueling journey with plenty of legal hurdles along the way. It is vital to have the best lawyer you can find on your side throughout the case. Make sure that you choose carefully among your prospects. Meet more than one lawyer for an interview and don’t hesitate to ask probing questions. Below are some examples:
1. What is your specialization?
Law is such a massive subject that it is impossible to master it all in a single lifetime. As such, lawyers specialize in one particular branch. You should find one that focuses on personal injury law to get the best possible outcome. Practical experience and in-depth knowledge cannot be beaten by a generalist.
2. What similar cases have you handled?
Taking it a step further, ask the prospects whether they have encountered a case that is just like yours in their career. Tell them the details of your situation and have them talk about old cases with similarities to it. Gauge their expertise on the subject by the way that they explain the facts and the legal issues.
3. What were the outcomes of your cases?
Handling cases is one thing. Getting a win is another. Ask them how their past personal injury cases went and why they got those outcomes. Many of these will undergo settlement discussions to hasten the release of compensation. However, some talks will fall apart, and the victim will have no other choice but to go to trial. If this happens to you, then you want someone who is experienced in court. Someone who isn’t used to this process may buckle and commit costly mistakes.
4. How will communication proceed?
The case can drag out for years. You need to have a solid communication strategy with your lawyer throughout the ordeal. This ensures that you are always on the same page. You pick up on how this will go from the outset. Is the lawyer going to appear for the initial consultation or will he send a paralegal to stand in for him? Personal attention is vital if your case is to flourish. It’s okay to be talking to the staff, but you should be able to get a hold of your lawyer when you need to.
5. What is the estimated time frame?
Get an estimate as to the possible duration of the case. This should be based on experience in obtaining a resolution. The best lawyers will give you realistic goals and explain how they were able to come up with this timeframe. Those who promise heaven and earth within such a short period should be regarded with suspicion. Either they are not honest, or they don’t know what they are talking about.
6. Is your current caseload light enough to handle this?
Lawyers take on multiple cases to maximize their time. There tends to be a lot of waiting during trials and settlements so they can shift their attention from one to the other. However, some may be taking on more than they can chew. Ask how many they have on their plate and inquire about the status of each. See how much support staff are helping them with their caseload.
7. Will you handle both settlement and trial?
In an ideal scenario, both parties will agree to a mutually beneficial settlement and call it a day right away. This doesn’t happen all the time, though. Talks can break down, and a trial will have to be set. Having a separate lawyer for the settlement and the trial can be taxing as you will be starting again from the ground up. Seek someone who can do both.
8. Could you provide references?
A lawyer who is proud of his accomplishments will not hesitate to provide references if you ask. Talk to former clients to learn more about your prospect and see if he or she is the best match for the case. If references can’t be provided for any reason, then you might want to do a private background check or simply entertain other prospects.
9. How is your track record as a lawyer?
See if the injury attorney has ever been sanctioned due to malpractice or bad behavior. When you go to court, you want to present yourself in the best light to the judge. Having a lawyer who has previously been subjected to disciplinary action may not be right for your case.
10. How will you get paid for this case?
Lastly, have a candid talk about the payment scheme. Some lawyers will ask for a flat fee. Others will want to get a retainer throughout the process. If you don’t have much money to pay upfront, then look for a personal injury lawyer who will agree to get paid with a percentage of the damages.
Thanks, Tim Louis for this post.
Tim Louis & Company – Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer – http://bc.timlouislaw.com/
175 E Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5T 1W2