Things You Should Know Before Hiring a Phoenix Accident Lawyer
If you've been seriously injured in an accident, whether it was a car crash or another type of incident, chances are that you will benefit from the help and expertise that only a skilled personal injury attorney can provide. But before you open the phone book and hire the first attorney that answers the phone, it's important for you to understand exactly what it is you're getting yourself into. After all, not all attorneys are created equal and certainly not all personal injury attorneys are created equal. Many attorneys have a specialty; this means that just because a lawyer has a law degree does not mean that they are able to best represent your interests in a personal injury accident case, nor do they necessarily understand the nuances of the law that can make or break your case and determine whether or not you receive the settlement you deserve, or receive one at all.
Before hiring an accident attorney in Phoenix, there are things that you should find out about the attorney. Think of it as a job interview. When you go to a job interview, you are asked a series of questions to determine whether you are the right fit for the job. And when you decide to hire an attorney to represent your case mediation, or litigation if necessary, you should ask them a series of questions to make sure that they meet your needs. As not all personal injury accident attorneys are the same and do not all do business the same, you may find that only one or two of a dozen are able to meet the criteria you need for your case and your preferences. And when your life, your future, and your finances are on the line, these things truly do matter.
When you decide to hire a personal injury attorney to help with your case, there are many questions you will have about your future, your finances, how the case will work, what the timeframe will be, and more. And while these are important questions, they are ones that typically should be reserved until you have decided to commit to a free consultation with a specific attorney. This is because these questions all have emotionally charged reasons and answers behind them. You should choose an attorney for the assistance that they can provide to you in your case and with other issues that will surround your recovery from your accident and your injuries, and not based on how many promises they can make. After all, no attorney can promise that you will get the exact result you desire.
When you are ready to interview personal injury attorneys and select the one that will represent you and your interests throughout your case, you should ask the following questions.
- What is your area of practice? The area of practice for attorneys is a crucial piece of information that can determine the success of your case. If you find yourself speaking with an attorney whose specialty area is family law, but you need a personal injury attorney, then you should move on to another attorney. Never allow an attorney to tell you that specialty areas of practice do not matter. Personal injury attorneys who are certified specialists in injury and wrongful death cases know important information about the law, where it bends, and where it doesn't that attorneys who do not specialize in this type of law will not be privy to. The answer to this one question alone can make or break your case. In the same vein, it is important to know whether the law firm practices other types of law or if they only practice personal injury and wrongful death law. This can help you determine the ability of the law firm to take on your case and give it attention.
- What is your caseload? It is always appropriate to ask the attorney you are considering for hire the current nature of their caseload. If your prospective attorney has 47 other major cases on their desk at the same time as yours, it may take them days to get back to you when you have a question. If your timeframe is tight, and you are concerned about the statute of limitations and other deadlines for your care and recovery, an attorney who is unable to get back to you in a short timeframe may not be right for you.
- What is background and experience in personal injury and wrongful death law? When you are looking at the possibility of hiring an attorney, knowing how long they have been practicing is important. An attorney who has been practicing personal injury law for 10 years is likely to be more successful with your case than someone who has been practicing only one year. Likewise, it is important to know the rate of successful negotiation or litigation for cases similar to yours that have been represented by the firm. You should also make yourself aware of the reputation of the firm within the legal community. Are they known for being easy to work with? For settling cases too easily? For pushing cases to court that did not need to go to court? Finding out all you can about the attorney, both by asking them, and by seeking out information elsewhere, can help make the decision an easy one.
- How do the costs and fees for hiring the firm work? When you hire an attorney to represent your personal injury accident case or wrongful death lawsuit, you will have to eventually pay the attorney. You will want to know the cost of hiring the attorney (an hourly retainer, in most cases) and how that is to be paid. It is also important to ensure that you will be paying the attorney on a contingency basis. This means that the attorney will only be paid if they win the lawsuit.
- Do you have malpractice insurance? Yes, even attorneys can commit malpractice. And it is critical to hire an attorney that is protected by malpractice insurance so that you know that they understand the serious nature of their work and that they have your life in their hands.
But there are other benefits to ensuring that your attorney has malpractice insurance and they're not all about whether or not your attorney understands how serious your case is and how it can impact your life. If your attorney does not have malpractice insurance and makes a grave error that costs you the settlement you deserve, malpractice insurance will ensure that your case and your claim are both protected. If it can be proven that your attorney made an error that caused you to lose your settlement, the malpractice insurance will help to cover the remuneration and damages you should have received in the settlement.
- What happens if I sign a contract with your law firm and decide not to pursue my case, or that I would like to go another route? This is a critical question when choosing an attorney. The contract you will sign with your new attorney will likely have many stipulations and requirements. If you do break your contract, you may held liable for upholding certain aspects of your contract. Always ask to see a copy of the standard contract before making a decision to sign with an attorney as this may help you make a decision as to whether one attorney is right for you and your case over another.
Most importantly, you must ask yourself whether or not you are comfortable with the attorney you are interviewing, and if you are comfortable with their team around you. These individuals will become a significant part of your life for what could be many months into the future. If you are uncomfortable with the team or with the attorneys in any way, then you should interview another attorney and leave this firm behind you. There is no reason to work with an attorney, or group of attorneys, that make you feel uncomfortable.
It is critical to find the right Phoenix accident attorney for your personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit because having the wrong attorney can have a serious impact on the outcome of your case. With the right attorney on your side, you will have a better chance of getting the settlement you deserve for the damages, pain, suffering, and lengthy recovery you have had to endure as a result of the at-fault individual's negligence.
There are no restrictions in the state of Arizona demanding that only lawyers who specialize in a certain type of law litigate that type of law. This means that a personal injury attorney could potentially represent you in your divorce, and that a family law attorney could represent you in your personal injury or wrongful death accident case. Many times, individuals who know an attorney that practices another type of law will ask that attorney to represent their case in their personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit.
However, the State Bar of Arizona certifies attorneys for their specific area of expertise and does this for a reason. Attorneys who specialize in a specific area of law understand that area of the law better than all other areas of law, and are at the ready to represent your interests in the best and most professional ways possible. It is critical for personal injury victims and the families of wrongful death accident victims to know and understand that less than 2% of attorneys in the state of Arizona have received a certification from the State Bar of Arizona for personal injury law and wrongful death law. This means, that unless you are serious about the questions you ask and you make it a priority and requirement to have an attorney with this certification, you may end up with an attorney that is underqualified or not qualified at all, to represent your case.
A free consultation with an accident lawyer is crucial to the outcome of your case, just as all of these other questions are. The consultation is a period that you get the information you need to determine whether the attorney and the firm are right for you, whether your case has merit, what you can expect from the timeline for your case, and what you will need to do in the meantime to protect your health, your finances, your rights, and your family. For a free consultation with certified wrongful death and personal injury accident attorney, Mark Breyer, contact The Husband & Wife Law Team at (602) 267-1280 today.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer