Are you thinking about hiring a personal injury lawyer for your personal injury case? This may be your first time seeking legal counsel. If You Have Suffered A Personal Injury, It Is Best To Hire A Lawyer. This Guide Explains How To Find A Personal Injury Lawyer In SC Or Any State In The US.
Getting into an accident of any kind disrupts your life, which, let’s face it, no one has time for. Accident injuries can lead to a hospital stay, missed work, and a lesser quality of life.
If this happens to you, it’s crucial that you have top-tier legal representation for your personal injury case. How do you know what to look for in a personal injury attorney?
You deserve a lawyer you feel comfortable and confident with. Keep reading for our guide on how to find a personal injury lawyer in South Carolina so you can get back to your life sooner.
You should ask questions about their experience, specialty, legal team, work schedule, and fee structure. Further, other questions will help you find the right lawyer.
Choose a Lawyer With the Right Experience
There are so many different types of lawyers, so you want to make sure you choose one who specializes in your type of case. You already know you need a personal injury lawyer, but did you know you can get even more specific than that?
For instance, some personal injury lawyers have more experience with slip and fall cases, while others are veteran accident lawyers.
When you’re searching for lawyers, ask them about their past experiences with cases just like yours. Their expertise will guarantee that they can get you the best possible outcome for your case. Contact our South Carolina Slip and Fall Attorneys for more information.
Read Reviews From Past Clients
The most important thing you can do before you choose a lawyer is research. You should read through their website to learn about their experience and credentials.
However, to really learn how they work, you should read reviews from their past clients. A long list of happy past clients can make you feel good about their skills and competence.
On the flip side, more than a couple of negative reviews should be a major red flag that sends you back to your search.
If you have friends or family members who have used a personal injury lawyer, asking for a referral is a great way to go, too. People give their honest and frank opinions about lawyers, so you can trust reviews and referrals.
Research More Than One Lawyer
When you are in an accident, you need to find a personal injury attorney quickly. However, the last thing you should do is rush through the research and hiring process.
Take your time finding the personal injury lawyer that is right for you. Don’t immediately jump at the first advertisement you see. Read through the pages of their website to make sure they have the right credentials and seem like someone you want to work with.
Research at least five different lawyers before you decide on the right one for you.
Make a Short List and Talk to Multiple Attorneys
Once you’ve narrowed down your selection to a handful of lawyers, start requesting interviews with them. The interview is where you get to know the lawyer’s personality, which is something you can’t learn from a website.
At the interview, give them some information about your case and ask about their experience with past cases like yours. This will give you an idea of how they’ll represent you and handle your case.
They can also give you an idea of the procedure and steps involved in your case. This will help you get a general timeline and understanding of how the legal system works.
After a couple of interviews, you will know which lawyer makes you feel the most confident and comfortable with them. Trust your instincts here.
If you get a bad feeling about a lawyer it could be that you don’t trust their judgment. You should only work with someone that you feel comfortable with, so listen to your gut and take note of who made you feel like you are in good hands.
Questions to Ask Potential Attorneys
When you get to the point in the consultation/conversation where you talk about your case, ask prospective attorney’s these questions about how they would represent you:
1. Does Your Experience Relate to My Case?
Find an attorney who handles cases that are similar to yours. Avoid general-practice attorneys who may know nothing about personal injury claims.
If you were involved in a truck accident, for example, find legal counsel who has experience in truck accident claims. Your case may require a special knowledge base that other attorneys don’t know about.
A personal injury claim requires specific steps, such as:
- Gathering Evidence: An attorney can help you gather physical evidence that will support your case. Physical evidence can be in the form of medical costs or damaged property.
- Presenting Your Case: An experienced attorney must articulate your case to a jury. Your attorney should know how to talk to jurors effectively.
- Negotiating Settlements: The defense or insurance companies may offer a settlement. Your attorney must negotiate a higher settlement if necessary. In many cases, negotiations can take weeks or months.
Additionally, inquire about his or her results. Do they have a track record of winning cases?
You can also ask about any awards or recognitions that signify their experience. Perhaps they teach seminars or give lectures about personal injury cases. They could also publish articles on personal injury topics.
2. How Often Does Your Firm Handle Personal Injury Claims?
If the firm handles a small percentage of personal injury cases, you may want to look elsewhere. Above all, you should hire a lawyer from a personal injury law firm. A firm with minimal experience in personal injury may not have enough resources to buffer your case.
If the lawyer handles many types of cases, they’re a general practice attorney. A general practitioner is no match for a specialist.
You need a specialist because insurance companies will have defense attorneys who specialize in insurance negotiations and personal injury claims.
When interviewing to decide about hiring a personal injury lawyer, ask about additional resources they could use to strengthen your case. They could have a team that provides support along the way.
3. Do You Only Take Cases that Settle Out of Court or Can You Handle My Case if it Goes to Trial?
4. Who Else Will Work On My Case?
Lawyers may have assistants who work under them. A legal team can improve your case. In other cases, your lawyer may hire a private investigator to look deeper into something.
Your attorney is more likely to overcome obstacles when multiple parties are involved. Your lawyer could even bring in another attorney if necessary. With that, additional personnel may cost extra.
5. How Much Do You Charge?
Before hiring your attorney, ask about their fee structure. There are several fee structures to consider:
- Contingency Fee: A contingency fee will consist of a percentage of your award or settlement. The percentage usually hovers between 33 to 40%. If you lose the case, you don’t have to pay a percentage. However, you could pay miscellaneous expenses.
- Flat Fee: A lawyer will charge a flat fee upfront. Flat fees usually apply if your case is simple. Since personal injury cases are complex, personal injury lawyers are less likely to adopt this fee system.
- Hourly Fees: The lawyer will charge you for each hour they work on your case. The fee could be around $100 an hour.
- Retainer Fees: Retainer fees are similar to down payments. You’ll pay a certain amount of money upfront. The lawyer will use the funds as your case proceeds. This scenario is common for long-term cases.
Most personal injury lawyers have a contingency fee. However, request an agreement that notes the fee structure in detail.
You absolutely must know what you can expect to pay in legal fees after your case is settled. Make sure the lawyer you choose is upfront about what percentage they take from your settlement after they win your case.
You should also ask about additional legal fees on top of that percentage. For example, some lawyers charge an hourly rate for additional work that arises.
The best way to talk about money with a lawyer is to be open and blunt with them. That way, you will be able to tell if you’re getting honest answers in response or if they’re being vague.
6. How Long Will My Case Take?
An experienced lawyer will know how long your case will typically take. The timelines depend on a variety of factors. However, your lawyer can provide a rough estimate.
Regardless, your lawyer should strive to end the case as quickly as possible, especially if you’re in dire need of compensation.
7. How Busy Are You?
You may have the best lawyer in town, but their experience means nothing if they’re too busy. Overextended attorneys may devote less time to your case.
Moreover, be wary of attorneys from large firms, as they may prioritize high-paying clients over you. For smaller firms, lawyers may juggle many clients with fewer resources. Regardless, ask about the attorney’s caseload and how much time they can spend on your case.
8. What Are My Chances of Winning?
A potential lawyer should give you a realistic scenario. They’ll give you a proper assessment when they analyze the evidence and your story. If your case is weak, they can help you gather the necessary evidence.
There’s a chance that your case won’t make it to trial, as insurance companies could offer a settlement beforehand. With that, attorneys should always prepare for trial.
9. What Realistic Outcome Do You Foresee for My Case?
This is an important question because most victims don’t know how much their case is worth. An attorney should provide some range of guidance based on your details.
You should also know what kind of outcome they are striving for with your case; however, be wary of any lawyers that promise you big sums of money.
If they tell you the amount they’ve gotten for past clients in a similar situation as you, that’s fine. What they shouldn’t do is promise you a number that they don’t know if they can deliver yet. It speaks to their bad character if they try to entice you with a big payout.
You can win several types of awards, such as:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Structured settlements
- Property damage
- Funeral costs
- Disability costs
10. What is Your Communication Policy?
It is important to understand how often you will be able to be in contact with your attorney. Are you only able to contact them to schedule a time to speak? Do you have to wait until they contact you back? Will they contact you back? All of these are important considerations because every law firm operates differently and you need to be comfortable with the level of communication and access you will have to the attorneys working on your case.
Review Their Legal Contract
Take as much time as you need to read all the paperwork that prospective lawyers give you to sign. If you have any friends or family members that are also lawyers, you can ask them to go over it with you.
Ask potential attorneys as many questions as you need to to get a clear understanding of the agreement you’re entering into. If they start to seem bothered by your questions, they probably aren’t the lawyer for you.
The right personal injury lawyer will listen intently to all of your questions and provide you with honest answers.
Wondering How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer in SC? Call Burriss and Ridgeway
If you’re trying to find a personal injury lawyer in the Columbia, South Carolina area, let Burriss and Ridgeway represent you. We never back down from a fight and we deliver compassion and compensation.
Contact us today so we can talk about your personal injury case.
You deserve a lawyer you can trust, and we believe that’s us. At Burriss and Ridgeway, justice matters. We have three offices in the Midlands of SC and are available to help with personal injury cases in South Carolina.