Everything You Need to Know When Hiring an Austin Personal Injury Attorney
When you get hurt in an accident someone else caused, it’s an understatement to say that it’s a difficult, stressful time. You’re fighting to get compensation for your injuries and losses, but the insurance company is pressing you to sign away your rights on a lowball offer. You know that a personal injury attorney could help, but you’re not sure where to start.
Television and billboards are full of lawyer ads, but you don’t know anything about any of these people. How do you know you are trusting the right personal injury attorney? What do you ask? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know when hiring an Austin personal injury attorney and how to tell if you’ve found the right law firm to help you!
What to Know When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
The first thing to keep in mind when meeting an injury lawyer is that the initial interview goes both ways. Many attorneys offer a free case review to determine how they can best help you, but you are interviewing them as much as they are reviewing your case.
The most important thing to know about hiring a lawyer for personal injury cases is that this is a relationship. You need someone you can trust, someone you can count on, and someone who cares about you and treats you like a member of their own family. Don’t settle for less. You deserve an attorney who can confidently look you in the eyes and say, “We’re on top of it!”
Here are some questions you’ll want to ask to make sure you are working with the right personal injury law firm.
What Is Your Area of Focus?
Every attorney has an area of focus, whether it’s slip and falls, wrongful death, defective products, auto accidents, or another area. Personal injury attorneys may specialize in several areas of personal injury, but those who specialize in your specific case area tend to be more effective than those who don’t.
Ask your attorney if they specialize in your type of case. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you will want an attorney who has extensive experience and expertise in car accident law. If you were injured in a car accident, someone who specializes in medical malpractice could help your case, but probably won’t be the absolute best fit.
What Is My Case Worth?
Asking what your case is worth should be used as a trick question. You’re not looking for an attorney to immediately give you a number. If they do give you a number right off the bat, before even hearing about your case, it’s a red flag. Every injury case is unique, and your injuries are unlike anyone else’s. The right attorney will recognize that and put in the time you deserve. The wrong attorney will try to streamline the process, which could damage your case and the final amount you could receive.
A good attorney will tell you that they can’t give you a number without first reviewing your case. They will need to hear the facts first to learn about you and how your injuries have affected your ability to live life. Only then can they estimate what they think your case is worth.
Your attorney should discuss that you can possibly get compensated for medical bills, lost wages, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and other losses, but they should never give you a number upfront.
Will I Be Working With You or Someone Else?
A lot of bigger law firms will hand you over to a legal assistant or someone else to communicate with after they accept your case. This means you may or may not have one of the firm’s main attorneys working your case.
Always ask who you will be working with, and ask to speak directly with that person. You are, after all, building a relationship. It doesn’t help you if you can’t speak to the person with whom you’ll be working. If you ask to speak to the attorney who will be handling your case and they are unavailable or unwilling, that can be a red flag.
What Will Working With You Cost Me?
Every attorney has a fee. Most attorneys advertise that they work on a contingency basis, meaning that you won’t pay anything upfront and that there’s no fee if you don’t win your case. At Lorenz & Lorenz, LLP, we also work on that same contingency basis.
But, you’ll want to know ahead of time what their fee is if you do win. For most attorneys who work on contingency, the fee will be a percentage of your settlement. If, for example, the attorney’s fee is 30%, that means if you get a $100,000 settlement, you will receive $70,000 of that and the rest will cover your legal costs.
Another red flag to look out for is if the attorney waves off their fee, or avoids telling you what the fee is. You have the right to know upfront what you will have to pay if you win your case.
How Are Your Fees Collected?
You will also want to know how the attorney collects their fees. In general, you want a personal injury lawyer who doesn’t charge a fee upfront at all. It is considered a red flag for a personal injury lawyer to charge upfront fees.
You also want to look for a firm that doesn’t charge or obligate you for your case review, and someone who won’t charge anything if they don’t win your case. This is the most standard and honest way for attorneys to operate. Some attorneys do have other costs that you might be responsible for, like filing fees, photocopying fees, or records fees. While these are legitimate expenses, you should know if there is anything you will need to pay out of pocket.
We also recommend asking how they will collect their fee at the end of the case. Some attorneys add their fee onto the amount of compensation they demand. Many have the compensation check delivered to their firm and take their fee out before delivering the rest to you so you won’t have to worry about it. But, it is in your best interest to make sure you are in the know about their process.
What’s Your Track Record With Courtroom Experience?
Most personal injury cases never go to court. That being said, you want an attorney who has some experience in court in the unlikely case they will need to take your case to court. If they have never gone to court, they might not be a successful negotiator. They might also be afraid to go to court, which is never a confident sign.
Litigation experience is as important as negotiation skills. In the end, you want an attorney with a solid track record of negotiating good settlements out of court, but who also has a track record of winning when they go to court. Be sure they’re prepared either way.
Contact Our Experienced Austin Personal Lawyers at Lorenz & Lorenz, LLP
If you’d like more information on everything you need to know when hiring a personal injury attorney, get in touch with Lorenz & Lorenz, LLP to get your free case review today! We are an experienced team of personal injury attorneys who have over two decades of experience supporting communities in Austin and across Texas.
Our goal is to help clients by doing everything we can while remaining transparent so that you feel as confident as we do in your case. At Lorenz & Lorenz, we’re on top of it!