Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer in Greenville, SC
During your search for the perfect personal injury lawyer to handle your accident case, schedule free case consultations at a few different law firms in your area. Narrow your list down to two or three options that appear to cover your practice area in Greenville, South Carolina and that have positive reviews and testimonials. Then, call to request a free initial evaluation of your potential case. Prepare to ask a few key questions during your meeting with each attorney to determine whether the firm is the right fit for you.
Do You Take Cases Like Mine?
First, make sure the law firm accepts personal injury claims in your specific practice area. If you suffered a catastrophic injury in a commercial trucking accident, for example, make sure those are two case elements the firm has handled. You do not want to retain a lawyer who has never litigated a trucking accident if this is your practice area, nor one that has only handled minor injury claims. While you can usually find practice area information on a website, ask the lawyer in person for more details about comparable cases the firm has fought and won.
How Much Experience Do You Have?
Next, ask about the law firm and attorney’s levels of experience. Years of experience handling claims in your practice area could enable the lawyer to more easily navigate your case. An experienced attorney will have the legal knowledge, connections, resources and relationships to negotiate with insurance companies and prove the elements necessary to obtain an award. You do not want to be a green attorney’s very first case.
What Is Your Success Rate?
While past successes do not guarantee future results in personal injury law, a history of positive settlements and verdicts can prove that the law firm has what it takes to negotiate and litigate cases. Ask about past case outcomes and the firm’s average success rate. Each case is unique, but a track record of wins can verify that the attorney knows how to fight for justice on behalf of his or her clients, even if that takes going to trial.
How Do You Handle Cases?
Your Greenville personal injury lawyer should look out for your best interests, first and foremost. Your lawyer should have the time to dedicate toward listening to you and understanding your goals. Then, he or she should take action to work toward them. Your attorney should not want to end your case as quickly as possible if you are willing to go to trial for better compensation. At the same time, your lawyer should not push for a trial if you feel satisfied with a settlement offer. Your lawyer should help you achieve your goals for your case.
Will I Be Able to Contact an Attorney Directly About My Case?
Ask if the lawyer you are meeting with will be the same one that represents your case. Some law firms – especially large mill-type firms – pass cases off to assistants or paralegals, with the lead attorney only overseeing matters in a general sense. Make sure you will receive personal care, attention and representation from a licensed personal injury attorney. Then, ask about communication. Your lawyer should believe in transparency and responsivity, and should not discourage you from calling and asking for updates about your case.
How Much Are Your Services?
Before you exit your initial interview with the attorney, ask the price of retaining the lawyer’s services. You want to make sure you can afford what the lawyer charges to take clients. Ask about the rate for insurance settlement negotiations as well as what it might cost if your case needs to go to trial. Ask if you will need to pay anything upfront or pay extra for specific services. Many personal injury firms are willing to accept cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning no fees upfront and no fees for a lost case. Retaining a lawyer that operates on a contingency fee basis can provide financial security since you will never have to pay attorney’s fees out of pocket.