How to Pick a Good Lawyer
Injury & Accident Attorney Serving Nearby Areas of Columbus & Fort Benning, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama
This content has been reviewed by Gary O. Bruce
Because there are so many personal injury law firms, if you’ve never needed to hire a lawyer before and don’t have anyone to provide you with a recommendation, it can be hard to know how to pick the right lawyer from all the choices presented to you.
Thankfully, there is one thing that can make choosing a lawyer easier than having to pick one at random. And that’s interviewing the lawyer you are considering hiring.
Many law firms, or at least the reputable ones, will offer a free, no-obligation consultation, and you should take full advantage of that to ask the lawyer how they would handle your case if you decided to hire them.
If you’ve never needed to hire a lawyer before, you may not know what questions to ask. If you find yourself in that situation, this blog is for you. We’ve provided a list of helpful information that could make it easier for you to determine whether the law firm you are looking at knows what they’re talking about or not.
5 Questions to Ask a Lawyer Before Hiring Them
Q1: What is your experience with cases like mine?
Most lawyers, including personal injury attorneys, choose to specialize. Just because a lawyer has a huge success rate at getting compensation in auto accident cases doesn’t mean they will be as successful appealing your workers’ compensation claim denial, and vice versa. However, some lawyers do specialize in more than one area! Make sure ask them directly about their experience in your specific case type.
When you choose to work with a firm that employs multiple attorneys, such as the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, you could also end up with more than one attorney working together on your case as a team. This way, the attorneys can pool together their knowledge to make sure the best decisions are being made throughout your case.
Q2: How often do you litigate claims?
The vast majority of personal injury claims can be settled out of court to injury victims’ satisfaction with the help of a personal injury lawyer going to bat for them in negotiations with the insurance company. This is usually a good thing, because a trial will inevitably delay the process of getting compensation.
But you should never let a lawyer pressure you into making a decision you aren’t comfortable with, whether that’s accepting a settlement that isn’t enough for your needs simply because theydon’t want to go to court, or giving up on negotiating too soon. Make sure you find a lawyer who is ready to exhaust all avenues to get you a solution you are happy with. An inexperienced or wishy-washy lawyer could hurt your chances more than help in a lawsuit.
Ask any potential lawyer about their track record filing and trying cases, what options they explore in getting compensation, and what they would do if they and you disagree on the action plan.
Q3: Have you received referrals?
As mentioned earlier, not all personal injury lawyers will handle, or should handle, all case types. But lawyers will often recommend other attorneys or firms when they are unable to help an injury victim themselves. If the lawyer you go to first says they don’t handle cases like yours, but offers to refer you to another lawyer, this is usually a sign you can trust them. Offering to refer your case shows they know their own limitations and want to do what’s best for your claim.
Just like you wouldn’t recommend a doctor or home contractor to a friend unless you were pleased with their results, attorneys won’t recommend other attorneys unless the people they are recommending are really good at what they do. If a lawyer frequently gets referrals from other firms, it shows they are a highly respected and trusted member of the legal community.
Q4: How often can I expect updates throughout my case?
One of the most important signs of a good lawyer is they will always provide you with updates without you needing to ask for them first. A good lawyer will never leave you wondering how your case is progressing or if they are even working on it at all.
And for when you do need to follow up with your attorney, make sure you know how! Find out the best times and ways (cell phone, office phone, or email, for example) to get in touch with your attorney, and make sure they know the same for you.
Q5: How much do you charge?
Lawyers have a reputation for being expensive, and oftentimes injury victims are afraid they won’t be able to afford a lawyer, not when they are already drowning in medical bills.
But some law firms, particularly personal injury law firms and including the Law Offices of Gray Bruce, work on a contingency fee basis. That means the law firm only gets paid if you win, and they are paid out of your settlement rather than your pocket. Furthermore, the law firm’s fees are limited to a percentage of the total recovery. And that means anyone can afford a lawyer.
If fees were based on hour rates, an ordinary person could never compete with an insurance company’s resources. But when your lawyer is paid on a contingency fee basis instead, you will never end up owing your lawyer more than the total amount you recover.
Furthermore, at the Law Offices of Gary Bruce we never require any money out of pocket. There is no retainer required, and no advanced of expenses. And if we don’t win, you don’t need to reimburse our firm for those expenses either.
Ready to Set Up a Consultation?
At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, we want all our clients to feel totally comfortable asking us any questions they have about their case or the legal process. And we want them to be able to feel comfortable telling us personal details about their accidents and how their injuries have affected their lives, both personally and professionally.
That means we need to develop a close relationship with our clients. Our Columbus personal injury lawyers want to be on a first name basis with you; we’ll never treat you like just another case number.
But don’t just take our word for it here—schedule your free consultation today and let us soothe any worries you may have.