Questions to Consider When Choosing an Attorney
Do I have a case? Do I need an attorney? Which law firm should I choose? Questions and concerns like these may come to mind in the hours following an automobile accident or other type of personal injury claim. As an injury lawyer working in a busy Plaintiff’s law firm, I often find myself responding to these questions several times in a given day. The answers I frequently give in response, however, may surprise you.
Do I need an attorney?
Take the question, “Do I need an attorney?” No lawyer in his or her right mind would respond to this by telling a potential client “No,” would they? Believe it or not, on several occasions, particularly when speaking with potential worker’s compensation claimants, I have said exactly that. I do, however, go on to explain my answer a bit further, usually something along these lines:
In a perfect world, when a person is injured on the job they can report the accident to a supervisor, be sent off for treatment, have that treatment paid for by the employer’s worker’s compensation insurance and be reimbursed lost wages for time they are forced to miss from work because of their injury. As long as all of these actions happen as they are supposed to, there is little reason for an attorney to be involved in the process. Unfortunately, there often comes a time during a worker’s compensation claim where benefits are slow to come or stop all together. Medical treatments ordered by the injured person’s doctor may not be approved for weeks, paychecks could stop coming. This is where the answer to the “Do I need a lawyer?” question changes. When benefits are denied, the answer quickly becomes a “Yes,” you need a lawyer, one who will work to ensure you are getting the benefits to which you are rightfully entitled. While you may not truly need an attorney at the outset of a case or claim, taking that affirmative step early could mean you are prepared for those unforeseen difficulties that can crop up without warning.
Which law firm should I choose?
After an accident victim decides that they want to hire an attorney, they often wonder which law firm is the best choice for them. Occasionally, when potential clients seek out the services of the law firm I work for, they ask why they should opt for hiring my firm to represent them. For me, this is one of the most difficult questions to answer. Sure, I could easily tell them how many clients we represent and how many cases we have settled, but I feel it is better to paint a picture of our firm as being competent and dedicated, rather than coming off as arrogant and quick to brag about our success.
To do this, I often point out that our firm has been in existence, helping people with personal injury issues, for over 30 years. I feel that this is a testament to our experience and knowledge about the variety of legal issues that may arise as a case progresses. It also speaks to our reputation in the eyes of defense attorneys and insurance adjusters, many of whom we have dealt with long enough for them to know the claims we bring are well founded and the clients we represent are genuinely injured and deserve compensation.
In addition to experience, there are other factors you should consider when choosing an attorney to represent your interests. When you meet with a potential lawyer prior to hiring them, make sure to confirm which practice areas their firm handles. If you have recently been involved in a car crash where your car is totaled and you have a sore neck and splitting headache, an attorney who spends most of his days drafting wills might not be the best person to turn to for questions about insurance and how to find a doctor.
Above all, you should find an attorney or law firm that will work hard for you, one that realizes that while they may have hundreds of open files, you only have one case and deserve their complete attention. Answering your phone calls, keeping you updated and informed about where your case stands is not too much to ask.
Talk to Your Friends!
A good way to learn of a firm’s reputation for these characteristics is to speak with other people. Advertising rules limit how attorneys may use satisfied clients to give testimonials on their behalf, so do your own homework. Ask a friend who has been in an accident or who has hired an attorney to fill you in on the firm they turned to when they needed help. We cannot ask them to speak up on our behalf, but if they have had a good experience with an attorney or firm, they are often willing to share what they know.
This article was submitted by Personal Injury Attorney, Robert Wohn, III from Rue & Ziffra. Rue & Ziffra is a Florida injury law firm located in Daytona Beach, serving those who are injured in various types of injury claims, from automobile accidents to Social Security Disability claims.
The above entry is NOT LEGAL ADVICE and should not be intended or construed as such. It is intended only as general information. No individual reading it should act upon it. Reading this entry does not create any relationship between Rue & Ziffra and individuals reading it. If you have questions or concerns, please seek professional legal counsel.