Whether you are filing a personal injury lawsuit, a wrongful death claim, or are suing your insurance company for acting in bad faith, choosing the right attorney is essential to the outcome of your case. Be sure to take your time and interview potential lawyers carefully. The most important things to focus on during your initial consultation are case evaluation, case management, and experience.
Case Evaluation Questions
While no lawyer can predict the outcome of your case with absolute certainty, he or she should offer an honest assessment of how it will play out in court. The attorney you interview should also be able to tell you the legal strategies he or she would employ in your case and the rationale behind them. You should know before leaving the consultation if your case is likely to go to trial or if it is possible to reach a settlement.
Additionally, make sure you have a thorough understanding of how the law firm collects its fees. Some work on contingency, which means you don’t pay anything upfront. Your lawyer takes a percentage of your winning settlement instead. Others charge an hourly rate or a flat fee for a specific type of case. It is best to get this information in writing so there is no confusion later.
Case Management Questions
As with case outcomes, no attorney can say exactly how long it will take to settle a case but they should be able to give an estimate based on past experience. Knowing how often you should expect to speak to your lawyer and through what means helps you to have realistic expectations from the start. You also need to know who else would work on your case and what qualifies them to do so. One last thing to cover here is what the attorney expects from you in terms of gathering documents and other information.
Some lawyers have prepared documents in advance that list their legal education and experience and others will simply tell you about it. That is important, but knowing how many cases like yours the attorney has successfully tried is even more essential. While lawyers have to protect the confidentiality of their past clients, they can give enough general information to help you evaluate their skills.
Wilson, Frame & Metheney is pleased to offer a free initial consultation for people who are considering filing a legal claim.