Interviewing a Personal Injury Lawyer
Before you retain the services of a personal injury lawyer, it is very important that you do a thorough interview to check the attorney's background and expertise. The outcome of your case ultimately depends on who your attorney is, and you want the best and only the best to represent you.
Before you call or email them, you want to make a script with a collection of questions that you want to ask.
Examples of questions are:
1) What law school did the lawyer graduate from?
2) Is it a reputable school? Is it accredited?
3) Are they in good standing with the state bar?
4) What is their win to lose ratio? In other words, out of 100 cases, how many do they win and how many do they lose?
5) How long have they been practicing in this field?
You also want to know if the lawyer has been involved in a case that was substantially similar to yours. For example, if your case is for a slip and fall injury at the store, you want to know if the lawyer has been involved in other slip and fall cases. If his previous cases were at the same brand store, even better. You want to know the outcome of the previous case. If the attorney lost, you want to find out why. You also want to know if they represent only plaintiffs, or they also represent defendants. Just to clarify, the question is whether they have ever represented an insurance company through their firm. For example, if you have been involved in a bus accident, you will hire a bus accident lawyer and the insurance company will hire their own lawyers to fight you. An insurance company would be the opposing side to your case. If a law firm only represents the injured, that's good. If they represent insurance companies as well, then there might be some conflict of interest and you may need to start looking at other firms. Find out how long the case will take to settle. An approximate length of time would suffice, there is a big difference between three months and three years. But, as this Los Angeles injury lawyer mentions on their site, a shorter time may or may not be better. If the lawyer cares about your case so much that he won't accept a penny less than what he is asking, that's usually a good sign because it means he must really believe in your case. In other words, he would not be wasting his time with your case if he did not really believe he had a good chance of winning the full amount in a court of law. Some attorneys don't want to spend time on your case and they want to settle and get their cut. You want to avoid those. Some attorneys, on the other hand, will try their best regardless of how much money the case will make them. It is better to hire someone in the second category.
You can try to double check the attorney's credentials on their state bar's website. Simply go to the website, do a search by last name, and all their information will come up. Once you hire someone, make sure you keep in touch with them. Every day or every other day, give them a call to inquire about the status of your case. It is difficult to switch attorneys so it is in your best interest to choose the right one from the beginning so you don't encounter any problems.