If you’ve been injured in an accident, slip-and fall, or medical procedure and are considering a personal injury lawsuit, your first step is to pick an attorney. This is an important and often daunting decision since your attorney will have a huge impact on the outcome of the case. The following are some tips to help you evaluate a Georgia personal injury attorney and their rates.
Evaluating Personal Injury Attorneys
The first step to evaluating a possible Georgia personal injury attorney is to learn about them. Review their website, Google search results, and online reviews. Look for an attorney who has solid ties to Georgia, has a strong legal education, is experienced in personal injury cases, cares about his or her clients, and has a good reputation. To make this evaluation, look for information about:
- The attorney’s location and willingness to meet with you at a convenient location.
- The attorney’s ties to the community.
- Where the attorney went to law school.
- The attorney and law firm’s experience working on personal injury cases in Georgia.
- Awards and recognitionthe attorney has received.
- News articles about the attorney or law firm.
- The resultsof the attorney and law firm’s cases.
- How the attorney’s law firm views its clients; for example, does the tone of the website sound like the firm cares about its clients or just treats them as a way to make money?
- Reviews of the attorney and law firm’s work.
When reading reviews, pay most attention to the majority opinion. What do most reviewers think about the attorney? As with all types of online reviews, there are sometimes people who write reviews that do not accurately reflect the situation, and sometimes, unethical competitors even write bad reviews.
In addition to reading about the attorney, if possible, talk to anyone you know who has used the same attorney. Ask them about their experience working with the attorney. This type of first-hand information will help you learn what the attorney is really like.
Interview the Attorney
Don’t hire an attorney without talking to them first. You will get a much better sense of them during a conversation than you can based on just reading about them online.
Ask the attorney about their experience handling personal injury cases like yours, experience going to trial, the outcomes of their past personal injury cases, how much support they have from their law firm, their relationships with local experts, how often they will be in touch with you, and anything else you want to know about their abilities. A good Georgia personal injury attorney will be happy to answer these questions.
In addition to evaluating their experience, pay attention to how the attorney treats you, their tone of voice when answering your questions, and if you feel like they are someone you can trust. Trust is a cornerstone of the attorney-client relationship. You will be sharing confidential information with your personal injury attorney and trusting them to take action in your best interests.
Evaluating Personal Injury Attorney Rates
Determine whether the attorney’s fee is an hourly rate or contingency fee. Most personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingency-fee basis which means you only pay the attorney’s fees if you win the case, or obtain a settlement in your favor. The fees come out of your recovery so you do not have to pay out of pocket. Contingency fee agreements must be in writing, so read the agreement carefully before you sign.
In addition to the contingency fee, some law firms charge their personal injury clients for the legal costs associated with the lawsuit. Costs can include things like filing fees, expert evaluation fees, medical record fees, copying costs, mailing costs, and other expenses incurred in litigation of a lawsuit.
Ask prospective attorneys whether they charge for legal costs and if so, what costs they charge for. Also ask whether you are responsible for the costs if you do not recover money from the case. Consider costs and the risk of having to pay out of pocket when evaluating a law firm’s rates.
Take Experience Into Account
Experience should be considered in determining whether a law firm or attorneys’ rates are reasonable. For example, it is typically better to hire an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney with a higher rate than to pay a Georgia business law attorney with no experience at a lower rate.
Experience affects the outcome of the case, which affects how much you recover. It is possible to take home more money paying an attorney a higher percentage than paying a less-experienced attorney a lower percentage because the experienced attorney gets you a higher recovery from the lawsuit.
At Williams Elleby, we understand that if you are considering a personal injury lawsuit in Georgia, you likely have questions about what it will cost you. We would be happy to talk to you about your potential case and our legal costs. Call us at 833-LEGALGA (833-534-2542) or sign-up here to set up a free consultation.