QUESTIONS TO ASK ATTORNEY IN PERSONAL INJURY CASE

QUESTIONS TO ASK ATTORNEY IN PERSONAL INJURY CASE

 

  After a car accident or slip and fall in Orangeburg South Carolina resulting in serious injuries, it’s important to know what to do about seeking redress. The most important decision after being injured by the negligence of another is which lawyer to choose to represent the matter. In most cases, multiple attorneys will be able to represent based on “contingence” and not payment of a retainer and hourly fee.  On contingency, the lawyer will be paid a percentage of the award or settlement (customarily 1/3rd), and so it requires nothing to retain the attorney.  The Client is responsible for costs involved, but that will normally be paid after an award or settlement. The key is in finding the “right” attorney, and beyond references and other indicators of superior abilities (awards, distinctions, reviews, etc.), the questions you ask the attorney when deciding to retain him are what counts.  What are some of the best questions?

 

     First, it is important to verify the attorney will take the case on contingency.  If not, that tells you that the case is not a “winner” in the mind of the attorney.  He would normally ask for an hourly fee agreement only if he were worried about the likelihood to obtain money from the other side. Potentially, the issue is with proving liability or damages, but normally the issue is with the lack of insurance or means of payment on the other side.  Either way, it’s not a good idea to hire him.  Second, it’s important to verify the competence and ethics of the attorney. One of the best ways is to ask about the attorney’s Martindale Hubbell peer review ranking. Attorneys are peer-reviewed by fellow attorneys and judges, who know more than most non-lawyers about the attorney being rated.  At top rating is “AV Preeminent”, meaning the absolute top in ethics and competency.  The next level down is “BV”.  This can be verified on the Martindale Hubbell website.

 

      After ensuring a contingency agreement with a top attorney, there are other questions that help cement the decision to retain him.  Ask him about the venue the case will be filed if it is not settled, and the expectations for jury verdicts of that venue. You want the attorney to have his eye on potential trial, even though most cases settle prior to even filing.  You also want an attorney who understands how to negotiate, and what numbers should be used in negotiation to obtain the highest settlement possible. You should ask him about his last three to five personal injury cases and how they resolved.  How long did it take to resolve, and how far the cases settled beyond the medical bills involved. Be careful about lawyers who allow “file stagnation”, or allowing cases to linger for over a year before settling or filing suit (outside of unique circumstances or lengthy treatment). Lastly, it’s important to ask him about how his office communicates with clients, and how often you expect to receive communication.

 

      Use your “sixth sense” with the potential attorneys, and always prioritize a reputation for character and ethics.  Once you have the right attorney, let him work the case, but continue to ask questions about the case to ensure he is on top of things.  In the end, you will have the best result possible by the best attorney possible.

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 May 2021 11:14

Bill Connor Orangeburg Attorney Bill Connor received his Bachelor of Arts from The Citadel in 1990, and after serving for over a decade as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army, including three deployments to the Middle East, he received his Juris Doctorate from The University of South Carolina in 2005. In 2012, Bill was honored to receive an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, the top peer rating for American lawyers. Receiving this rating at such an early point in his career is unheard of among lawyers.

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