If you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident in Wilmington, hiring a North Carolina injury attorney should be one of the top items on your “to-do” list. Although the statute of limitations may give you up to two years to file a lawsuit, it is vital that an investigation of your accident begin as quickly as possible. An attorney’s investigation can determine who was at fault in the traffic accident—whether it was the other driver, the county road maintenance officials, or even the guy who sold you your tires.
Selecting an attorney with the deep experience to conduct a thorough investigation into your case is essential, but it’s not the only thing you need to know about the person who offers to represent you. For most people, hiring a lawyer is a novel experience—a once-in-a-lifetime event. It stands to reason that you’re unfamiliar with the right questions to ask to figure out whether a particular attorney is the right choice for you.
Ethical attorneys will not try to initiate contact with you. They will not hire agents to solicit you as a client. They will wait for potential clients to find them. That’s okay—you probably are exposed to dozens of legal advertisements every day on television, the Internet, and radio. But once you have a list of names and phone numbers, how do you proceed from there?
The six key questions to ask your New Hanover County accident attorney
Virtually all injury lawyers will offer prospective clients a free opportunity to visit their office and confer about the case. Great! Think of that as your shopping opportunity. You have the chance to visit a number of different attorneys and see who is the best fit for your case. During the appointment, take the time to ask the following questions:
1. What experience do you have with cases like mine? Every injury lawyer will have had some experience with vehicle accident cases, so you’re looking for a response that’s as specific as possible. Experience with car accident lawsuits may not be ideal if you have a motorcycle collision case, and experience with brain trauma injuries may not be the best preparation for a foot amputation case. Understand, though, that no two accidents are ever precisely the same. Give the attorney a chance to explain how his record and experience will work to your advantage.
2. Do you provide a free book to clients to explain your law firm’s attitude toward cases such as mine? Today, even small legal practices will often provide new clients with a book—sometimes an electronic book download—or a DVD that introduces the firm and explains its legal philosophy. Not having a book shouldn’t disqualify an attorney, but it may make it harder to learn where he stands.
3. What is your law firm’s record at trial—not just in settlement conferences? It’s true: most civil lawsuits are settled out of court. But if the insurance company or the opposing lawyer won’t offer an honest settlement, you need a lawyer who is willing to take the case to the courtroom. An attorney who never faces a jury is less desirable in that situation. You deserve to know whether your representative can take the case all the way to trial if the need arises.
4. What financial recovery do you think I can get? You shouldn’t expect a lawyer to pin a precise value on your case at the first meeting. He has not had the time to look over your medical records or talk to your doctors about the likely costs of future treatment and rehabilitation. Be wary of a lawyer who quotes a very specific high figure without any justification for it.
5. What will I have to pay for your services? Most North Carolina traffic accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. They only get paid when you accept a settlement or you win a damage award from a jury, and then they get a portion of the total. That’s generally 30 to 40 percent of the final recovery, and the lawyer you interview should readily tell you how much his firm charges. Find out if there are any other fees—such as filing fees or copying costs—that you are expected to absorb as well.
6. Why should I hire you? Make the attorney explain why you should commit to his firm instead of a competitor. Why is his approach unique?
Speaks Law Firm has all the right answers
If you are searching for a personal injury law firm in the Wilmington area, including Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Whiteville, Lumberton, Leland, or Shallote, then you owe it to yourself to consider Speaks Law Firm. Contact us at 910-341-7570 or toll-free at 877-593-4233 to schedule a confidential, FREE consultation about your case with one of our injury lawyers. Just for calling, we’d like to send you a free copy of The North Carolina Auto Injury Book, by our founder R. Clarke Speaks.
At Speaks Law Firm, every client is treated as our most important client. We focus our energies on helping you recover not only your physical health, but also the fair compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us today.