After an injury or tragic death, the last thing a family wants to do is look for a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer quickly is important but can be difficult. Even when a person has ample time to conduct due diligence, finding the best lawyer can be difficult because of the number of lawyers who inundate our televisions, radio, and billboards with lawyer advertising.
A lot of lawyers claim to get great results for their clients. A lot of injury attorneys claim to litigate and try cases. The reality is, very few injury lawyers try cases. In fact, most so-called “injury attorneys” do not even file lawsuits and will push their client to take quick settlements.
You can verify whether your attorney litigates and tries cases by going to the Clerk of Court’s website and looking up the attorney. For example, the following link is to the Hamilton County Clerk’s website (lawsuit search: https://www.courtclerk.org/records-search/schedules-for-attorneys/) . You can check the clerk’s office in all 88 counties throughout Ohio. Simply type in an attorney’s name and you can see a listing of the cases that the attorney has litigated in any given year. If your attorney doesn’t have any cases listed, you should look for a different lawyer. If the attorney has cases listed, ask him or her about the results of those cases.
Below we give a few questions you can ask a lawyer before making the important decision to hire him or her. You should write down additional questions your family or you have prior to meeting with an injury lawyer.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Injury Attorney
1. How are you paid and what does it cost me to hire you?
Tip: If a lawyer is charging you a contingency fee, you should NOT have to advance any costs. Your lawyer should not be afraid to spend significant money hiring experts for your case.
2. How many cases like mine have you handled? How recently?
3. How many cases like mine have you taken to trial? How recently? What were the results?
Warning: If a lawyer does not try cases, you will not get fair compensation. Insurance companies keep records of the lawyers who try cases and will not offer fair settlements to attorneys who do not try cases.
4. What areas of law do you specialize in?
Tip: The more complex the case or serious the injury, the more specialized the attorney you should hire. For example, if you get into a truck wreck, you should hire an attorney that focuses his or her practice on truck wreck cases and who frequently litigates those cases.
5. Do you teach other lawyers in the area you specialize in? Do you have any examples such as seminar you’ve spoken at or publications you written?
6. How many cases are you currently handling? What types of cases you are currently handling?
Warning: If your attorney has hundreds of cases, he or she likely doesn’t have enough time to give your case the attention it deserves and will not be able to personally work on your case.
7. If I hire you, will you personally handle my case? Will other attorneys also be working on my case?
8. Do you have any references from former clients who you have previously represented in cases like mine?
Tip: Google the law firm you are considering and read former clients’ reviews.
9. Do you have the resources and staffing to handle my case through trial, if necessary?
Tip: Ask for the initial consultation at the lawyer’s office. This way you can see whether the lawyer has the resources and staffing to handling your case.
10. How do you get your clients? What percentage of your cases are from referrals from other attorneys? Prior clients?
Warning: If the law firm’s business comes for directly soliciting clients through the mail that can signify that the firm has a difficult time attracting clients and may not have the resources or skills to handle your case.
11. Will you keep me up to date on my case? How frequently can I expect to hear from you?
Warning: If the law firm has an investigator or paralegal meet with you instead of the attorney who will personally handle your case, the firm may be too busy to give your case the attention it deserves and requires.