When people realize they need the help of an attorney, they sometimes are hasty when they make decisions. Although you may feel anxious to secure legal counsel, it’s vital to take the time to ensure your West Virginia personal injury lawyer can competently and successfully represent you.
Many attorneys offer initial consultations for free or a very small fee. During these consultations, the attorney will review the details of your situation, the damages, and other issues surrounding your potential lawsuit. While they will be asking you a great many questions, it’s important to ask a few important ones of your own. Finding out too late that you made a poor choice in legal representation can be expensive and frustrating. It may even exacerbate your current predicament.
Take the time to thoughtfully interview a potential lawyer before agreeing to their representation. Ask these questions during your consultations to get a better feel for the attorney and only agree to representation if you feel confident after your consultation.
- Ask the attorney how long he or she has been practicing law. Additionally, if the attorney specializes in your particular kind of case, ask how long he or she has focused on this area.
- Find out what the firm’s typical clients are like. While they won’t reveal particular details about specific individuals, they can tell you the type of problems they have helped other clients solve.
- Once you have an idea of how many cases they have handled similar to your own, ask about their success record. Don’t be afraid of being direct – legal representation needs to be a priority. If you’re meeting a good lawyer, he or she will appreciate your forthrightness.
- Ask about any supplemental areas of expertise that may help. Some areas of law require specific certifications or education to handle.
- Find out how the office bills clients. Legal representation is rarely inexpensive. In some cases, an attorney may offer a reduced rate. Some attorneys will offer a contingency fee, which means you only have to pay your legal fees if you win your case. Additionally, don’t just ask how much their services will cost – make sure you know what type of work they will add to your bill, including work from support staff such as paralegals, clerks, and legal assistants. Take time to clarify when your payment will be due.
- Ask the attorney how they approach winning a case. Hearing how an attorney feels about the law and representing cases is invaluable and will help you form a better idea of what to expect from working with the attorney.
- Find out if the attorney believes there may be an alternative to filing a lawsuit. Some lawyers, unfortunately, take cases they could handle very quickly for the sole purpose of over-billing clients. Ask about other options, like mediation or arbitration.
- Ask about keeping in touch. Find out how often your attorney expects to meet with you. Additionally, ask about how often you can expect phone calls and when the attorney will be available to receive your calls.
- Finally, don’t shy away from asking about your chances of success. Ask the attorney to give his or her honest first impression of the situation, what the process is going to look like, and how long it will take.
Every case is different for every potential plaintiff. There may be other questions you need to ask about unique aspects of your circumstances. An attorney is there to help you, so being honest about your case is crucial. Only agree to counsel if the lawyer has a proven track record of success in the practice areas relevant to your case and he or she makes you feel confident about your choice.