Help! I Need a Personal Injury Attorney
The search for a personal injury attorney is not a decision you should make in haste. Most often, the need to hire a lawyer comes during a very stressful and often painful moment in a person’s life. Hiring the right attorney can help relieve some of the stress and hardship an individual can experience, but searching for and hiring the right one for you and your case can be overwhelming.
There are so many options out there, how do you choose the best one? In this article, we will address some of the red flags you should look out for when searching for an attorney, what questions to ask when interviewing a potential lawyer, and how to make sure the person you choose to hire is the best one for you.
Here are 5 Key Red Flags to Watch For While Considering Which Attorney to Hire
1. You are Guaranteed a Dollar Amount
The biggest red flag to look for when interviewing a personal injury lawyer is related to making promises too early. Are they making promises of compensation and guaranteeing a specific dollar amount.
Although an attorney may be able to tell you a ballpark or a range of what your case could be valued at based on past experiences with similar circumstances, all cases are different, and nothing is ever guaranteed. It’s doubtful that an attorney will have enough complete evidence or information to give the case a cost value during your initial consultation.
Related to a guaranteed dollar amount is how quickly they will settle your case, while we don’t want this process to linger, settling or completing a case too soon can have a drastic impact on your case compensation. So even if they aren’t talking about a specific amount your case is worth, but they are pushing to get it complete within a few months this is also a red flag. This can be a sign that they want to rush through your case, and they might miss details and evidence that is related to you getting what you need through your claim and case.
If the personal injury attorney you are talking to ever makes specific promises about compensation or getting your case closed in a fast timeline – keep looking.
2. They Don’t Ask Specific Questions or Won’t Answer Yours
If you are left with even more questions than you started with after speaking to an attorney, find another one. You want to find an attorney who asks you about your injuries, treatment, and how those injuries have impacted your daily life.
Watch out for attorneys that don’t ask case-specific questions. Ask the personal injury attorney how their office handles cases such as yours, their processes, who is involved in working the case, do they have a team to help them?
An important step when researching for an attorney is asking them to explain how the compensation process works and the different costs involved in the case, such as contingency fees and case costs. You want to watch out for the personal injury attorney that doesn’t thoroughly explain compensation or the differences between contingency fees and case costs.
A red flag here is being left without answers. You want to ask a lot of questions, and if the attorney can’t or doesn’t give clear answers, they are likely not the person you want to hire.
3. Are They a Personal Injury Attorney?
It seems like common knowledge that if you are injured, you would hire a personal injury attorney, but you’d be surprised to hear that it’s not as common as you think. In addition to making sure you hire an attorney whose primary area of practice is personal injury, you also want to make sure that they can handle your specific personal injury case.
Personal injury law is comprehensive and not all personal injury attorneys are created equal. Personal injury cases are most often seen in car crashes, slip and fall cases, worker’s compensation, product liability, and medical malpractice. However, our firm has also dealt with personal injury cases from incidents at places such as water parks, haunted houses, adventure parks, and ziplines.
Make sure to consider the background experience of the personal injury lawyer you are researching. Because there are laws specific to a variety of issues, your attorney must be familiar with the laws that are specific to your case. For instance, if you were injured in a maritime accident, you would want to hire someone familiar with the laws specific to this area and who has handled cases similar to yours before. Not every lawyer is specialized in personal injury claims.
You should be wary of an attorney who tells you they are a general practitioner of law and work with a little bit of everything. A jack-of-all-trades lawyer most likely will not hold the specific experience and knowledge necessary for your personal injury case. Hiring an attorney who lacks experience or expertise in your particular accident could affect the outcome of your case. You want to hire a lawyer who strictly practices personal injury cases.
Be sure to ask questions about similar cases, or if there are specific laws in Utah that will influence your case you should be aware of? You may also want to ask them about their approach to gathering evidence, and ensuring they are focused on you and your needs.
4. You are asked for payment upfront
Big red flag. No reputable personal injury lawyer is going to ask you for any type of payment upfront. Don’t hire anyone who asks you to do so. Personal injury attorneys handle their cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning they handle the case with no up-front costs and get paid after the case has been settled.
If an attorney ever asks you for money upfront, walk away. No honest personal injury attorney will ask you for retainer fees or filing fees. If an attorney ever asks you for a specific amount of money needed to file your case or asks for payment before they can meet with you, they are not the attorney you want to hire.
5. Trust your Gut!
If something doesn’t feel right, don’t commit. Continue your search and meet with other personal injury attorneys. You and your attorney will be working closely together for a while, in some instances even a few years, and a high level of trust must exist. If you don’t feel like you can trust the person you are talking to – walk away.
Your attorney should also remember your name and the details of your injury, and if you have to remind them that can also be a sign to be weary of, particularly if you have to remind them even in your first few conversations.
Johnson | Livingston is here for you. We work hard to provide our clients with the best possible outcome to their personal injury cases. We also take our job personally and believe that you deserve to have legal counsel and support that cares about you and your best interests.
Personal injuries can have a significant impact on your life, and your case should be handled with care and attention. If you are currently searching for an attorney, we would love the opportunity to talk with you about your case, your injury, and your needs. You can call us at (801) 948-9670 or reach out to us through our website to schedule a FREE consultation and case review.