Whether you experience a dog bite, fall on the wet floor of a grocery store, or a rear-ender while stopped at a red light, you will have to deal with insurance companies and legal challenges. An experienced Boca Raton personal injury lawyer can help you protect your legal rights and strive for the fullest financial recovery. Although competent legal advice can have a significant impact on the outcome of your personal injury lawsuit, there are important questions to ask a prospective attorney when you visit for your initial consultation. Our Boca Raton personal injury lawyers have suggested some specific questions that you might want to ask.
How long have you been practicing law in Florida?
While a newly licensed attorney might have enthusiasm, the skills and expertise needed to be an effective personal injury lawyer are acquired from effectively dealing with insurance companies and the complexities of the civil litigation process on a daily basis. Although experience constitutes a valuable factor in the evaluation of a potential attorney, attorneys who have been practicing law for many years might be burned out or bored. In other words, experience provides a starting point when evaluating lawyers, but other factors also must be carefully considered.
Have you ever been the subject of professional discipline?
If an attorney has engaged in conduct that resulted in revocation or suspension of his or her professional license, this should raise major red flags. While a record of discipline does not automatically disqualify the attorney, you should ask about the situation and the resolution. The lawyer might have a good explanation for the discipline, but you might want to steer clear if the explanation does not ring true.
How many personal injury or wrongful death cases have you taken to trial?
Although most personal injury claims settle before trial, this does not mean that trial experience is not a relevant consideration when evaluating a law firm. Insurance companies know which attorneys take cases simply to posture for settlement with no intention of preparing for trial. The cost of defending a case that precedes to a bench or jury trial provides a strong incentive for the insurance company to offer a reasonable settlement. If the attorneys for the insurance company know that the attorney for an injury victim does not have the experience or desire to take a lawsuit to trial, the insurance company will offer far less in the settlement.
How will your firm handle my personal injury claim?
If you have suffered serious injury because of the careless acts of an individual, company, or government entity, your experience can be very frustrating when your case is shuffled off to an associate, or you cannot speak to your attorney to get your questions answered. When you retain an attorney, you want the lawyer to be knowledgeable and accessible about the status and developments in your case. Why would you want to interview someone who will not even be handling your lawsuit?
How do your peers rate you?
Peer evaluations by other lawyers especially other personal injury lawyers provides an informed opinion about the professionalism, legal knowledge, and timely communication of an attorney. There are services that evaluate and rate lawyers with many including peer review as an important or exclusive part of the evaluation process. For example, the highest “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell is based primarily on the evaluation of peers.
What will you need from me if you take our case?
The attorneys at our law firm view the attorney-client relationship as a partnership. The effectiveness of this collaboration depends on timely communication and consultation on many issues. Our attorneys understand we need to know you to effectively explain your story. While it might be straightforward to list your medical expenses or lost wages to a jury, explaining the impact of an accident on your daily life requires an understanding of your quality of life before and after an accident. We take the time to learn about you, so we can help a judge or jury feel the full impact of your injuries. Communication is essential throughout the process of conducting litigation, such as responding to discovery requests from the defendants.
How much will it cost to retain your law firm?
Our law firm does not charge an hourly rate or flat fee to represent personal injury victims. We handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This attorney fee arrangement means that we do not receive attorney fees unless we obtain a recovery for our clients. If the case results in a verdict or settlement, our attorney fees will be a percentage of the recovery from the defendants.
If you need to retain a personal injury or wrongful death attorney, our attorneys offer a free case evaluation. We strive to maximize the compensation our clients obtain, so contact us 24/7 at 561-777-7700 or online for a free case review to see how we can help. The Shiner Law Group represents personal injury and wrongful death victims in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Palm Beach County, and throughout the surrounding counties.