When you’ve sustained a personal injury that warrants compensation, you shouldn’t hire just any attorney. This person will be representing your interests legally – possibly in court – and you want to be sure you’re not only correctly represented, but that your attorney has the experience and ability to help you receive the full amount to which you are entitled. When vetting an Atlanta personal injury lawyer
, here are 10 important questions to ask.
What is your experience in dealing with my type of injury case?
Be certain that this attorney has definitive experience in the practice of personal injury law
. Find out how long the attorney has been practicing law, and how much of their practice is devoted to personal injury. Also, ask the attorney about specific cases like yours. For example, a dog bite injury will be handled differently than a work-related injury or a car accident. If you’re not comfortable with the attorney’s level of experience, move on.
What is your contingency fee?
Most personal injury firms (Sutton Slover included) do not charge a fee unless you collect (often a percentage of the settlement). However, it’s important to know and agree to the fee up front so there are no surprises. If the attorney can’t give you a clear answer on this question, that’s a red flag.
How many cases like mine have you brought to trial, and what is your success rate?
This question is important because when you settle out of court, the settlement is typically lower than if you go to court and win. In some cases, out-of-court settlements are preferable, but if the attorney has a propensity for avoiding court, he’s likely not getting as much money for his clients as he should. Be sure you’re comfortable with the attorney’s answer, as well as his rate of success in court, before moving forward.
How long do you expect my case to take?
You’re asking this question for two reasons: 1) to get a realistic time frame in your mind, and 2) to hear how the attorney answers it. There are no guarantees on the timeline, of course, but if the attorney dodges the answer, chances are he doesn’t have a lot of experience with this type of case.
How many cases are you handling at the moment?
Again, there are two purposes for this question: to gauge how much time the attorney has for your case, and to gauge the demand for his services. You want the attorney to be able to devote a fair amount of attention to your case, but you don’t necessarily want to be the only
case on his books. A happy middle ground is “busy but not too busy.”
Will I be able to reach you directly concerning my case, and how often?
Attorneys are busy, so sometimes you may need to speak to an assistant. However, you should be able to have a direct conversation with the lawyer from time to time. The answer to this question not only ensures the lawyer’s personal commitment to you but also tells you whether he will be mentally present and engaged. (HINT: Consider it suspicious if the attorney sends someone in his place for your initial consultation. The first contact should always be the attorney
Will other attorneys be involved in my case?
Having multiple attorneys is common, especially for big cases, but if the answer to this question is yes, you have the right to know the experience levels and involvement of each lawyer. Make sure you’re comfortable with the attorney’s answer.
What associations do you belong to?
Most good attorneys belong to several professional associations, and this works in your favor because these associations typically provide support and accountability to ensure their lawyers are meeting certain standards of excellence. Get the names of any associations your attorney belongs to, and feel free to look him up to make sure he’s in good standing.
Have you ever been censured, disciplined or suspended from the practice of law?
This question may feel awkward to ask (and in most cases, the answer will be no) but if your attorney has had problems in the past, you have the right to know the context before deciding to hire him.
Do you have any references I can call?
A reputable attorney will have no problem referring you to some of his other clients. Get several and call them up. Ask about their experiences with the lawyer and whether they would recommend him. At Sutton Slover,
personal injury law is the only type of law we practice, and we don’t take a fee unless you get paid. If you’ve been injured and need an attorney, call us at 404.768.0292 for a free case evaluation.