How To Choose A Personal Injury Attorney: The 5 Questions To Ask
Hiring a personal injury attorney can seem like a daunting task. After all, you’ve already been dealing with the aftermath of your injury, or the wrongful death of a loved one. Maybe you’ve been injured in a car accident or truck accident, or have been injured in a slip and fall, or have experienced medical malpractice. Perhaps you or a loved one have been injured because of a defective product, or you have been injured or lost a loved one in a DUI accident. Whatever the cause for your injury, you are probably wondering if you need an attorney, and you want to choose the right one. But, there are so many choices. How do you know which Tallahassee personal injury attorney is the right one for you and your personal injury case?
At Barrett, Fasig & Brooks, we have been working for justice for our clients, whether in Tallahassee or another city or state, for over 30 years. We understand that the process of hiring a personal injury attorney can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. To help get you started, our attorneys have compiled an easy checklist of questions to ask any attorney you might be considering hiring.
How much experience does the attorney have in personal injury cases?
While experience isn’t the only factor in choosing an attorney- we have several whip-smart, young(ish) attorneys at Barrett, Fasig & Brooks- it’s important to know if your attorney has experience in handling personal injury claims. Does your attorney have experience in handling your type of case? Does he have a successful record of settlements and verdicts? You should always ask for, and check, their references. (We can’t stress this point enough.)
Does the attorney have the resources to go the distance with your case, if necessary?
Personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingency fee basis; if you don’t get paid, neither do we. It is expensive to fight an insurance company, and you should choose an attorney that has the resources to carry that fight into a courtroom if necessary. The personal injury attorneys at the Tallahassee law firm of Barrett, Fasig & Brooks are experienced in the courtroom and are not afraid of going to trial, and have the resources to do so. Insurance companies know that when we say we’re willing to take a case to trial, we mean it.
Does the attorney have a good reputation in the community?
You should always check an attorney’s references. In Florida, the Florida State Bar is the governing body of lawyers (each state has its own Bar organization), and you can easily check with them to see if the attorney you are considering is in good standing with the Bar. There are several websites that rate lawyers, including Avvo.com. Look up the attorney and her law firm on social media sites, including LinkedIn and Facebook.
Don’t be afraid to ask the attorney you are considering for their bio, work history, and references. (And if the attorney hedges, run fast in the opposite direction.) Has she been recognized by her peers? Does he have any awards for his legal work? At Barrett, Fasig & Brooks, the bio of every attorney is on our website, as is a listing of the recognition we have received from our peers and the community. Barrett, Fasig & Brooks is honored to have received the Tally Award for Best Law Firm for the past five years.
Is the attorney upfront about your case?
Not every personal injury claim is going to be successful. An attorney should share with you the pros and cons of your case, and be honest in telling you what the risks and (potential) benefits are for every step of the process. Pursing a personal injury claim can take several years, and any attorney you interview should provide realistic expectations. Don’t hire an attorney who promises you the moon- nothing is ever a slam dunk. While you are hiring an attorney for his experience and knowledge, you should be careful to hire an attorney who puts his ego aside and thinks about what is best for you.
At Barrett, Fasig & Brooks, if we can’t take your case, we’ll explain the reasons clearly and thoroughly. If we believe you would be better served by a different attorney and law firm, we will refer you to them. We have been personal injury attorneys in Tallahassee for over 30 years, are very active in the legal community, and have a carefully vetted list of attorneys if we need to refer your case. Even if we cannot represent you in a legal matter, we will still keep your best interests in mind and help you find the right one.
What kind of service does the attorney provide?
What is his usual time frame for returning phone calls? When you call about your case, did you speak with an attorney? (At Barrett, Fasig & Brooks, an attorney will always take your call.) Do you feel comfortable with his staff, and with any other attorneys you meet at his firm? You’ll be in close contact with your attorney’s staff, especially his paralegal, as your case progresses. It is vital that you feel at ease with not just your attorney but also his entire team.
Furthermore- and this is important- you should feel as if you, and your case, are important to your attorney. You should never choose a personal injury attorney who treats you like you are a nameless case for her to rush through before moving on to the next. At Barrett, Fasig & Brooks, our motto is, “Personalized service from attorneys who care.” We truly care about our clients, and you deserve to have an attorney who cares not just about winning your case, but also about you.
Most importantly, ask questions. Ask ten or ask one hundred; there is no such thing as a foolish question. Most likely, you don’t know much (if anything) about how to pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim; that’s why you are hiring an attorney! The right attorney won’t just tell you what she is going to do with your case, she’ll help you understand why.
If you have any questions about a personal injury or wrongful death claim, please don’t hesitate to contact the Tallahassee personal injury attorneys at Barrett, Fasig & Brooks. We’re here to help.