Being in an auto collision is traumatic by itself. Dealing with the aftermath such as being hospitalized, seeking treatment for your injuries, filing an insurance claim and getting legal advice can certainly add to the stress. At a time when you may not know what to do next, it can be overwhelming to find a personal injury lawyer.
Act Fast after your collision
Many lawyers offer free initial consultations. In that consultation, the lawyer can discuss your case and let you know whether you have a valid claim that can and should be pursued. For best results you should hire a lawyer immediately following your auto collision. Your lawyer will prevent you from reducing the value of your own case as so many mistakes are often made when injured victims are not represented. If you are hospitalized or immobile at home, the lawyer should be able to come to you.
Questions to ask your Personal Injury Lawyer
• Will they be handling the claim personally or referring it out?
Is the firm you are hiring actually going to do the work? On the face of it, this may seem like a silly question. If a lawyer advertises for your business, why would they not want it? The short answer is referral fees. Lawyers can charge a referral fee when referring a claim to another lawyer. This arrangement has lead to an explosion in personal injury law advertising by lawyers who want to cash in by gathering as many claims as possible and referring them out to the lawyers who will actually do the legal work.
• Are you contacting a law firm or a referral agency?
Make sure you are dealing with an actual law firm. Again, this may seem like an odd question. The firm looks like a law firm so they must be a law firm, right? Wrong! Some law firms advertise heavily to collect claims but do little of the work themselves, instead they refer the bulk of it to other lawyers.
• Is their firm actually located in your area?
These days it is easier than ever to appear to have multiple “locations” by including addresses for offices in different areas. Even though the law is the same across a jurisdiction such as a province, in practice there can be major differences in procedure and practice from city to city or town to town. Law, like many professions, depends on relationships and if a law firm has no ties to your community, it may negatively affect your claim.
• How many personal injury claims for collisions have they handled? How many claims have gone to trial? You will need to get an idea of how busy their law firm is and what percentage of cases are similar to yours.
• How long have they been in practice? You would want a law firm that has plenty of experience.
• Do you see any problems with my case? Its important to find out if your lawyer suspects any problems at all so you are not surprised later.
• How long will it take to bring this matter to a conclusion? This is a question that everyone asks and although the lawyer will not give you a direct date of settlement, he or she should be able to give you some kind of indication. Lawyers do not want to give you an exact date for a conclusion as they do not want to be held accountable if there are any type of delays.
• Will the lawyer be handling the case personally or will it be passed to someone else in the firm? If other lawyers or staff may do some of the work, ask to meet them in person to get a feel for the person(s). You may be dealing with them until your case is settled which could be several years.
Do your own research. The internet is a wonderful tool to use. Google the law firm’s name and see what kind of search comes up. Study their website and look for testimonials. Hiring the right lawyer could be the most important decision of your case.
The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only.