When you hire a personal injury attorney, it is likely that you are doing so for the first time. Because you will likely build a relationship with the attorneys or law firm you choose to represent you, it is important that you know what to expect. Here are some of the things you should expect when building an attorney/client relationship.
It is almost impossible to build a relationship when the other party is often unavailable. Your attorney should be available to answer any questions you have as well as inform you about the progress of your case or lawsuit. While some attorneys will direct you to a member of their staff, you should have access to your attorney anytime you wish, but within reason. If not, they should make it a point to get in touch with you as soon as they receive your message or know you would like to talk to them.
In virtually all personal injury cases such as car accident lawsuits, attorneys often work with what is known as a contingent fee contract. A contingent fee contract stipulates that the attorney will only be paid if they get you a positive settlement. The amount depends on the complexity of the case, but in many cases, you can expect them to charge a third of the total compensation package. Many attorneys will also bump this up to 40% in case the lawsuit goes in front of a judge, and 50% if there is an appeal on the case.
Some attorneys also have provisions for negotiating the fee once the settlement comes in. Many attorneys do this to ensure that the client does not end up receiving a smaller amount than the attorney once everything is settled. This is common in auto accident lawsuits and other types of personal injury cases where there are extended hospital stays and hefty medical bills.
Keeping You Informed
Lawsuits and personal injury cases evolve over time. With your attorney being the primary point of contact, they will receive information from the other parties and pass it on to you. Unfortunately, some attorneys may not pass on all the information they receive. This is usually to avoid giving you bad news such as when an insurance company comes up with a very low compensation offer.
When hiring an attorney, you should try to find one who understands that they solely work for you and for your benefit. By understanding this, reputable law firms know that the auto accidents lawsuits they handle are very important for their clients and their clients are privy to all the information the attorneys receive. Ideally, the attorney should get in touch when there is a significant development in the lawsuit or settlement negotiations.
Your attorney should be honest with you and not mislead you in any way. They should also be honest about the probability of getting a great settlement through an agreement or a jury and judge. They should not shield you from the information you might not want to hear.
Knowing what to expect when you hire a personal injury attorney makes things easier for you. When you go in with these expectations, it gets easier to see if the attorney you are considering is the right one for you.