1. Initial consultations are usually free.
Often people don’t call a lawyer believing it will cost too much. A good personal injury lawyer will be willing to discuss the facts of your case and tell you whether he believes you have a case. He will usually not collect a fee unless you are compensated.
2. Experience Matters.
Most good lawyers limit their area of practice to one or two types of law. While a firm may handle many different types of cases, the individual lawyers each have their own ares of expertise. If you are hiring a lawyer to represent you in a personal injury case, make sure that lawyer has personal injury experience.
3. Beware of Ambulance Chasers
Ambulance chasing is illegal in South Carolina and for good reason. If you were in an accident and are contacted by a personal injury lawyer immediately following, beware. Look for referrals from friends and family before you hire any lawyer.
4. You don’t always have to file a lawsuit.
Many cases are settled without going to trial. In some cases you do not even need to file a lawsuit to receive a settlement. A personal injury lawyer may be able to get the important information to the defendants insurance company and settle the case without the need to file a lawsuit. Often this is faster and less expensive.
5. Know the Fee.
Most personal injury lawyers work on a “contingency fee.” This means the personal injury lawyer does not get a fee for his work until you get paid. This allows you to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer without having to pay upfront. However, be sure you understand the fee before you hire a lawyer.
6. Expenses Are Not Included.
Usually the fee is stated as a percentage of your settlement. However, that fee only pays for the lawyer’s time. When a lawyer has to pay someone else for work on your case or for other expenses, the personal injury lawyer usually pays for these expenses and then bill you at the end of the case. Ask about expenses before you sign the contract.
7. You may have to pay back your insurance companies.
Insurance is number one misunderstanding clients have in personal injury cases. If your insurance has paid for your injuries and you receive a settlement, you may have to pay them back. A good personal injury lawyer will work with you and your insurance companies to make sure you get the most possible from your settlement.
8. Cases Take Time
Personal injury cases may takes a while to complete. When you hire a lawyer, ask how long he thinks the case will take. A good lawyer should be able to give you a realistic time estimate. Beware of promises for quick settlements or fast cash. They are almost always untrue.
9. There are No Guarantees
If a lawyer guarantees you a result, don’t walk away, run! A good personal injury lawyer will give you an honest opinion of what he thinks about your case.