10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Injury Lawyer
- Are you a certified specialist in injury and wrongful death law?
- Is your practice entirely focused on personal injury cases?
- Will my case matter to your office or will I be just another number?
- What is your experience? (years in practicing focused on personal injury cases)
- Do you take cases to trial?
- What is your reputation in the legal community?
- Will you represent me on a contingent fee basis?
- What happens if I sign up with your firm and change my mind?
- Do you have malpractice insurance?
- Question to ask yourself: Do I feel comfortable with this attorney and their team?
Here is why these questions are so important:
Any lawyer can take an injury and wrongful death case in Arizona even if that attorney has never handled an injury or wrongful death case before. The State Bar of Arizona certifies attorneys who are "experts" in their area of law. Less than 2% of Arizona lawyers have been certified as specialist in Injury and Wrongful Death. Mark Breyer is a certified specialist in injury and wrongful death law. In addition, all we practice is injury and wrongful death law. It is important to know this because an attorney who practices one area of law is more likely to know what they are doing and more likely to achieve the results you deserve.
There are some firms that take as many cases as they can without paying attention to the individual clients and their unique needs. Personal injury is not a "one size fits all" type of law. It is about people who were injured and the law that exists to protect those people. Our clients receive the attention they deserve. They are not just a number, are they are treated with the respect they ought to be afforded as people who have suffered unexpected and life changing injuries.
It is vital to have a lawyer that takes injury cases to trial. This does not mean that you want your case to go to trial. Usually, people would prefer to avoid trial. However, it is vital that the defendant and insurance company know that you have a hired a lawyer that will take them to court and hold them accountable if they fail to make a fair offer. Clients represented by lawyers that never go to trial are less likely to have the case settled for a fair amount because the insurance company or defendant on the other side has no reason to fear the lawyer who settles almost every case. Ask the attorney about his trial experience. If you choose a certified specialist you know you will be getting an attorney who has ample trial experience.
Many personal injury attorneys in Arizona represent clients on a contingency fee basis. We have so much confidence in our legal ability and the way our clients our treated, we make it clear to our clients at the outset of every case that our contingency fee agreement can be cancelled by our client at anytime if they are not completely satisfied with the way their case is being handled. We want and expect that our clients will be more than pleased with their experience with our office. While we would not attack other lawyers, we strongly advise people looking for a lawyer after a serious injury or wrongful death case to be skeptical of "discount lawyers." Some may do a good job, but remember that the old phrase "you get what you pay for" is often a truism. Every settlement and verdict depends upon many factors, and one of the factors you can control is picking the right lawyer. Finding and hiring the best possible personal injury attorney is not like going out to buy a shirt at a discount store. The insurance company evaluates each case depending on what has been presented to them and who they will face on the other side if they cannot settle.
Why would you care if the lawyer has malpractice insurance? Because you want to make sure your claim is protected if any lawyer makes a mistake. Attorneys in Arizona are not required to have malpractice insurance. We cannot tell you how many people have called us because their attorney missed the deadline (the statute of limitations) or made some other mistake that cost them their case. We have had malpractice insurance since day one.
Lastly, make sure to pick an attorney you feel comfortable with. It is not just important to find the best injury lawyer, but to find the top injury lawyer that fits you and your case. If you are not certain you have found the right person, keep looking. Make sure you get a feeling you are dealing with a lawyer that will tell you the truth, advise you on the strengths and possible weaknesses of your case, and that you can trust. As "The Husband and Wife Law Team" we are willing to meet with clients early on in the process to make sure it is a "good fit" for everybody. We are committed and goal-oriented toward our opposing parties, and we understand our clients are suffering through physical and emotional issues most people cannot begin to fathom. When it comes to the clients we choose to work with and that choose to hire us, we are here for the long run.
Choosing a lawyer is not an easy decision. We hope to hear from you. If you are not ready to hire an attorney but would like some initial questions answered, we encourage you to give us a call. We will give you honest, straight-forward answers to your questions and discuss the options you have in moving forward with a potential claim. Also, you can order a copy of our book or, if you prefer, chat with us on-line, call us, or e-mail your case submission form.