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7 Must-Know Tips for Hiring an Attorney for Your Case

When you find yourself faced with a legal issue, the steps you take next can literally impact the rest of your life. Hiring a legal professional – and doing it the right way – is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

Not sure how to hire an attorney for your case? You’re in the right place! Keep reading for ten must-know tips that will make hiring an attorney easy.

1. Ask for Recommendations

One of the best ways to find a good attorney is to ask people you trust for recommendations. Start with family and friends – ask if they’ve had a positive personal experience with an attorney in the area of specialty you’re looking for.

If you have a relationship with an attorney who works in a different specialty, he or she may also be able to give you a recommendation. For example, your business lawyer probably can’t help with a personal injury case, but he may be able to refer you to a great personal injury lawyer.

Use these recommendations to create a short list of three to five attorneys who you’ll investigate further before making a decision.

2. Do Online Research

Next, it’s time to hop online and start doing some research about each of the attorneys on your list. Check Google reviews and at least a couple of the lawyer review sites – like Lawyers.com and Justia.

It’s also a good idea to take a look through the lawyer’s website and their social media – including the reviews section. Remember that you can’t please everyone, so don’t put too much weight into one or two bad reviews, but if you start to see a pattern, consider crossing that lawyer off your list.

3. Schedule a Consultation

Once your research is done, narrow down your list to the top three, then call to schedule consultations. Most attorneys will meet with you for at least a brief consultation without charging you.

Pay attention to whether the person who answers the phone is polite and accommodating. When you arrive at the office, notice whether the location is convenient and whether you feel comfortable in the space.

4. Ask the Right Questions

When you sit down with the lawyer, it’s a good idea to have a list of questions prepared. This will ensure that you make good use of the time you have and that you don’t forget anything important.

Some of the questions you’ll want to ask include:

  • Do you specialize in cases like mine?
  • How long have you been practicing?
  • Do you feel that I have a strong case?
  • How much do you think my case is worth?
  • How often do you take cases to court vs. setting?
  • Who will be handling my case?
  • How and when will I need to pay?

Look for an attorney who is honest and upfront when answering your questions. Don’t be afraid to take notes, as you’ll want to compare the interviews with each of your top three options and remembering who said what could become a challenge.

5. Assess fees and Costs

You never want to hire an attorney based on cost alone, but, of course, price does matter. Ask the attorney to thoroughly explain their fees, and, if possible, to provide you with a written summary. Don’t feel like you’re “being cheap,” you deserve to know what you’re paying for and how much it’s going to cost you.

6. Review the Payment Arrangements

There are different ways that your attorney might bill you. Options include:

  • Contingency fee – the attorney receives a percentage of what you’re awarded if you win your case.
  • Flat   fee – a set dollar amount for services. This is common for simple things like writing a will or filing a non-contested divorce.
  • Hourly rate – this is a set fee per hour. The final cost will depend on the number of hours worked.
  • Retainer – this is a fee you pay upfront. Lawyers often use this to pay expenses and fees associated with trying your case.

It’s important to understand how your attorney bills so you know when and how much you can expect to pay. If you don’t ask these questions, you could end up with an unpleasant surprise.

7. Listen to Your Gut

Once you’ve reviewed all of this information and met with each potential attorney, it’s time to evaluate your experience with each and make a final decision. You’ll use logic for most of this evaluation, but it’s also important to listen to your gut. If you have a really great feeling about one attorney that you met with – if you feel like you trust and believe in him or her – then this is a great indication that you’ve made the right choice.

The same goes for a negative feeling. Even if you can’ quite put your finger on it, if there’s something that just doesn’t seem quite right to you, then move on. There are thousands of lawyers out there, so it makes sense to keep looking until you find one that’s a good fit for you.

Hiring an Attorney is a Critical Decision

Follow these tips for hiring an attorney and you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve made an excellent choice. If you need even more information, take a few minutes to scroll through some of our other helpful blog posts!

What Will Your Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

Whether your personal injury case eventually settles (as most do) or goes to trial, your personal injury lawyer will be busy trying to get you the best possible result. After all, most personal injury attorneys get paid on a contingency fee basis, meaning the lawyer doesn’t recover fees for representing you unless you recover compensation from the at-fault party. Let’s look at a few key aspects of a lawyer’s role during a typical personal injury case.

Investigation and Initial Demand

The first thing your attorney will do is get as much information as possible about your case. That means all relevant details related to the nature and extent of your injuries and a determination of fault for the underlying accident, including:

  • medical bills
  • medical treatment history
  • police reports
  • surveillance footage
  • witness statements
  • photographs, and
  • official government reports.

Next, the attorney will likely make a demand to the insurer of the liable party (in a car accident case, for example, that means the at-fault driver’s car insurance company).

If this initial demand results in a settlement offer, your attorney will review it with you and recommend how to respond. The initial settlement offer is rarely the final offer. One thing to keep in mind is that your attorney will wait until there’s a full understanding of the scope of your injuries and other losses (including all future medical care you’ll require and how your injuries will affect your ability to work) before accepting a settlement.

If, after settlement negotiations, your attorney is unable to get an amount you’re willing to accept, the next thing your attorney will do is begin the lawsuit. (Learn more about your options if you’re at a personal injury settlement impasse.)

The Personal Injury Litigation Process

A personal injury lawsuit starts with the filing of the complaint, a legal document listing your legal arguments, the facts in support of those legal arguments, and what you demand in relief.

After you file the complaint and serve it on the defendant (the person you’re suing), the defendant will file a response to your complaint (the “answer”).

Next, “discovery” begins. This is the stage of litigation where the two sides exchange information that might serve as evidence during trial. In most personal injury cases, discovery will consist of depositions, requests for documents, and interrogatories, and the process can take months to complete.

After discovery, the trial is set. Your attorney may file a variety of pre-trial motions (to try to keep the defendant from using a piece of evidence during trial, for example). It’s very rare for a personal injury lawsuit to reach the trial phase. Settlement is possible at any point during this process, including right up to (or even during) trial.

Your personal injury lawyer will take care of all aspects of the litigation phase and will keep you updated on your case’s progress.

Points to Keep in Mind After Hiring a Lawyer

Your attorney probably can’t respond immediately to your telephone calls or emails. Lawyers are ethically bound to respond to clients within a reasonable amount of time, but they have other cases to work on, depositions to prepare for, and court hearings to attend.

One thing your lawyer should never do is keep you in the dark about what’s going on in your case, especially if the other side makes a settlement offer. Unless you’ve given your permission, your lawyer cannot accept or reject a settlement offer without running it by you first.

Be careful discussing your case with anyone other than your lawyer or a representative from your lawyer’s office. If you get a call from an insurance adjuster or someone you’re not familiar with, don’t talk to them about your case. If they have legitimate questions or concerns about your case, you can refer them to your attorney. On a related note, unless your attorney advises you otherwise, do not sign any document relating to your case, and do not change doctors.

Keep your lawyer updated. For instance, if you finish your medical treatment, tell your attorney. If the defendant or someone working on behalf of the defendant tries to contact you, tell your attorney. If you receive additional medical bills or other documents that substantiate your damages claim, tell your attorney and send them copies of relevant documents.

If you’re having money struggles as a result of your personal injury, tell your attorney. They can suggest avenues of financial support and give you advice on how to deal with creditors.

After Obtaining a Legal Recovery

Whether you win at trial or obtain a settlement, your attorney will make arrangements to collect the money the defendant must pay. This might mean getting in touch with the defendant’s insurance company and having a check sent to your attorney’s office. Or it could include filing post-trial motions to collect the judgment. Learn more about collecting your injury settlement or judgment.

If your case settles, you will likely sign settlement and release forms. In essence, these forms say that in return for compensation, you agree to end your lawsuit against the defendant (or promise not to sue them in connection with the underlying accident).

Five Tips for Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Why hire a personal injury lawyer? The answer is simple: to protect yourself and to maximize the value of your case. Insurance companies spend enormous amounts of money training their staff (insurance adjusters) in how to try to limit their losses. These trained professionals know many ways to get information from you that hurts you and your case. The insurance companies have done studies comparing settlements for people without personal injury lawyers to settlements for people with personal injury lawyers and these studies verify much better settlements when you have an injury lawyer assisting!

Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

Personal injury lawyers are trained professionals working on your side! We have knowledge and experience to protect you from the insurance company tactics. We can help you maximize your case value. We don’t charge any money upfront, so you can afford to get help without incurring any initial expense. Personal injury lawyers act as a barrier to the insurance company so that you don’t get taken advantage of.

How to Hire the Best Personal Injury Lawyer

With so many ads for attorneys it is a difficult task to find the best personal injury lawyer for you. When you have been injured or in an auto accident, truck wreck, motorcycle wreck, bike wreck, or struck as a pedestrian, you want sound advice fast so that you know what to do to handle property damage issues, personal injury protection issues, liability issues, and uninsured or underinsured motorist issues.

In addition:

  • You want a reliable personal injury attorney with many years of experience and a proven track record of success.
  • You want a hard-working personal injury attorney who you can talk to who is available and who responds to calls and emails.
  • You want a personal injury attorney who is respected by the insurance companies and opposing attorneys.
  • You want a personal injury attorney who has great reviews from prior clients and who prior clients refer their friends to.

Choose a Lawyer Who Practices Personal Injury Law Exclusively

Many lawyers handle multiple areas of practice and don’t have the specialized knowledge and experience to best handle your auto accident, truck wreck, motorcycle wreck, bike wreck, or pedestrian versus car wreck. Having a personal injury attorney that exclusively handles injury claims and injury cases will get you a better result due to the specialized training and experience and the knowledge that comes from decades of handling similar issues involved in hundreds of prior personal injury cases.

Be careful to get an actual lawyer instead of someone who hands you off to a case manager or prior insurance adjuster. Be careful also to get the lawyer with experience instead of getting handed down to an attorney with just a few years of experience.

Select an Attorney with a Proven History of Winning Settlements

At Brian and Brian at Pistotnik Law, there is a proven history of winning settlements on auto accident cases, truck wreck cases, motorcycle wreck cases, bike wreck cases, and pedestrian cases. Brian Pistotnik has 31 years of proven history of winning settlements and Brian Collignon has 18 years of proven history of winning settlements. Each and every year hundreds of injury victims get paid due to this winning history. There are very few personal injury lawyers in Wichita or Kansas with the successful track record of the TWO BRIANS. Experience pays!

Hire a Lawyer Who Is a Member of Local/National Trial Lawyer Associations

Brian Pistotnik and Brian Collignon are proud members of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association and have been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers Association as “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” and recognized by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys as “10 Best Attorneys”. They are also members of the Wichita Bar Association, and both have received many other accolades and recognition’s including “Client Distinction Award,” “Best Attorneys in Kansas,” and “Best Lawyer” from other organizations. Get a personal injury lawyer with a great reputation!

Check Your Personal Injury Attorney’s Reviews

Your personal injury attorney has been reviewed on the internet. Some attorney’s websites have client reviews. Reviews can be seen on Google, Facebook, Yelp, Avvo, Yahoo, and many other online locations. Brian and Brian have some of the best reviews for personal injury lawyers in Wichita and in Kansas. The excellent five star reviews for Brian and Brian confirm a great reputation amongst prior clients and their experience and great reputation amongst past personal injury clients that have received quality legal services on their auto accident cases, truck wreck cases, motorcycle wreck cases, bike wreck cases, and pedestrian cases.

Find a Personal Injury Lawyer with Trial Experience

It is amazing how many attorneys claiming to be personal injury lawyers have little to no trial experience. The largest personal injury law firm in Utah, whose identity won’t be disclosed, has more than several lawyers who have little to no trial experience. The other largest advertising firm in Wichita has lawyers working on cases who have never won a personal injury trial. Worse yet, many clients at other personal injury firms have their cases handled by “case managers” who don’t even have the ability to act as a lawyer. They are overseen by lawyers who have almost no real knowledge of the details and intricate facts of the injured person’s case. Meleycola Personal Injury Lawyer have years of real trial experience! We know our clients and know how the details and intricate facts of each case will affect those cases.

Contact the Best Personal Injury Lawyers in Wichita

Meleycola Personal Injury Lawyer are the best personal injury lawyers in Utah for your case if you are wanting an experienced lawyer that exclusively handles personal injury cases, if you are wanting a lawyer with a proven history of winning settlements, if you are wanting a reputable reliable attorney who is connected with the trial lawyers’ associations, if you are wanting a five star reviewed attorney that prior clients’ recommend.

Contact us today!