If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you need an experienced personal injury attorney with the skills and resources to successfully resolve your case and recover your damages.
The best lawyers are professional and diligent. They are both respectful of their clients and the court, and respected by their peers and adversaries. Don’t get stuck with an attorney who falls short. If you have suffered injuries in the Doral area and need a lawyer, ask these key questions before you make a representation commitment:
Question #1: Do You Have Experience With My Kind of Injury?
Each personal injury case is unique, but it may have some commonalities with other cases, including type of accident, type of injuries, the same insurance provider, or even the same defendants. Therefore, it is beneficial to find an attorney who knows your type of case. This means that if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you will likely be best represented by a premises liability lawyer, and not an attorney who has built their practice on motor vehicle accidents or medical malpractice cases.
Ask your prospective lawyer about the types of injuries their previous clients have suffered. For example, if you have a traumatic brain injury (TBI), hiring a lawyer who has prior experience with victims of TBI means they may already have an established network of experts on TBI who will help substantiate damages. Additionally, a lawyer with experience in TBI will have other advantages, such as they will not have to self-educate on medical terminology and brain functions at your expense, and they will have a more developed understanding of exactly what TBI can mean for the client and their physical, emotional, and financial prospects moving forward with their life after their accident.
Any good personal injury attorney will be absolutely committed to their client’s case. They should work hard, and serve and support their clients through what is likely to be one of the worst times in their lives. However, there are lawyers who will go above and beyond in their practice. They may take client calls on weekends, or at night. They may connect their clients with the best resources available, from physical therapists to home renovators who can widen doorways or install wheelchair ramps. They may even find ways to limit or reduce their own costs to ensure that more of the settlement or verdict award will go toward meeting their client’s needs rather than their own pockets.
Question #2: How Are the Reviews From Previous Clients?
Before you hire an attorney, read the reviews of their previous clients. Satisfied clients will often give positive reviews about their experience with the firm and their lawyer, while unhappy clients may give informed warnings. You can usually find reviews on the attorney’s website, but be sure to check other sources as well, such as the bar and bar associations, Yelp, Avvo, the Better Business Bureau, the local Chamber of Commerce, Google My Business, social media, and common search engines.
Red flags in reviews may include comments about poor communication, lawyer inaccessibility, and over promising but under delivering. Keep in mind that anonymous reviews may not always be trustworthy or accurate. However, if an attorney’s ratings are consistently low across various sources, or even worse, if the state bar has previously disciplined or suspended the lawyer’s license, you should probably keep looking for an attorney for your case.
Question #3: Has the Lawyer Received Any Professional or Community Recognition?
Making an informed decision about hiring a lawyer may mean researching more than just client reviews. Perhaps you prefer a lawyer who is not just good at their job but who also contributes to their profession and community, or who has been recognized for excellence by their peers. In that case, ask for recommendations from other lawyers. Research the lawyer’s name and firm and determine if they have any notable achievements, awards, or outstanding record of service. Look, for example, at the rankings for Brent Sibley on Super Lawyers or Matthew Dolman on Avvo.
Question #4: Does the Attorney Have the Resources You Need?
There are advantages and drawbacks to different types of firms. At a big law firm with significant resources, a client with a small case might feel unimportant, or lost in the shuffle, while at a very small law firm with limited staff, a client might get individual attention but it may also seem like there are not enough resources to adequately serve every case.
There are excellent lawyers at all types of firms, but you want to be sure that the firm you hire is the right fit for you, and the lawyer who represents you has the resources necessary to resolve your case. Be assured that a sole practitioner or a small group of partners who carefully select and manage their caseloads can be just as competent and successful as a lawyer at a big firm with hundreds of employees. You just need balance: an attorney who can commit their time and energy to your case, and also has the ability to thoroughly investigate the facts, negotiate your claims, and substantiate your damages.
Question #5: How Many Years of Experience Does the Lawyer Have?
Experience counts for a lot, but what kind and for how long are just part of the calculus you should make when hiring an attorney. A new lawyer may be well versed on the latest relevant laws and professionalism rules, but they won’t have the experience of a lawyer who has been in practice for years or even decades. However, more experienced lawyers may be at risk for becoming complacent with their work, and might overlook novel arguments or creative solutions that a newer lawyer will be willing to pursue. If your case is complex, you might need a lawyer who has a lot of years handling similar cases. If your case involves something very specific or even obscure, a lawyer with expertise in that area, even if they are newer to the practice of law, may be the better option for you. The best decision for you will be one that considers all of the factors of your unique case, and what you value most.
Question #6: Has the Lawyer Been Disciplined or Suspended?
Attorneys must adhere to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism. If an attorney has been disciplined by the bar, successfully sued for malpractice, or their license to practice law has previously been suspended, you should be extremely cautious of proceeding with their representation.
Question #7: Can You Talk to Past Clients?
Some people will provide more information, and possibly be more candid, if you talk to them in person. Therefore, you may want to ask if you can speak to a lawyer’s past clients who have given their permission to be contacted. However, do not assume that just because an attorney does not have a list of satisfied clients to provide to you upon request that there is something wrong. In fact, lawyers have a duty of confidentiality and so may not be able to disclose client information to you.
Question #8: How Often Does the Lawyer Take Cases to Trial?
Despite how it looks on TV, incredibly few cases actually go to trial. Therefore, other than criminal defense lawyers who get to go to court regularly, most attorneys have very limited courtroom experience in front of a jury. If your case seems especially unlikely to settle, having an attorney who is experienced in taking cases to trial is critically important.
You may also consider the following questions:
- Does the attorney have a consistent record of good settlements without taking their cases to trial? If the answer to this question is yes, it may indicate that the attorney does not need to go to court to get the results their clients need. Settling instead of litigating will reduce overall costs and may mean more money in your pocket.
- Does the attorney show reluctance to take cases to court? A reluctance to take personal injury cases to court is not necessarily a positive thing. For example, it might mean that attorney prefers to convince their clients to settle for less than they deserve rather than to follow through with a necessary fight.
- Does the attorney appropriately and effectively litigate? You do not want an attorney that jumps the gun and goes straight to court, but you need one who will take a case to court if needed.
Carefully consider a lawyer’s track record before deciding who to hire. In some cases, you may need to ask the attorney to describe their decision-making process. How do they determine when to negotiate and when to litigate? How do they establish what is fair for damages? If their process makes sense and seems sound, you are more likely to be satisfied with the outcomes.
Question #9: What Services Does the Attorney Provide?
When you have a personal injury claim, you may need a wide range of services from your attorney. Take a look at the services they offer before you decide who to hire. For example, will this attorney:
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf? Virtually all attorneys will represent their clients in negotiations. However, some lawyers are better, more skillful negotiators than others. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may need an attorney who is an especially capable and experienced negotiator.
- Communicate with all parties related to the accident for you? You may need to make personal statements about your accident and injuries to certain authorities and your own insurance provider, but otherwise, a lawyer should be handling all communication with the other involved parties, insurance providers, and defense attorneys.
- Provide you with connections to other professionals you may need? An attorney with established professional networks offers an advantage for their clients. Such connections may include expert witnesses, medical professionals, and even contractors who can modify a home if a client has suffered a long-term or permanent disability caused by their accident.
- Provide advice about your conduct during the process? Some people do not realize or understand that their words and actions may be used against them, even if they are just engaged in a civil case. This may include posts on social media, and any public conduct. If you have been injured, you may not know what to refrain from, or how to best handle your return to work. A good attorney will help you understand how to help yourself throughout your case.
Question #10: Is the Attorney Selective With Cases?
Being an attorney in a competitive market can be financially challenging, especially for small firms and sole practitioners. That means some attorneys accept virtually every case they can, with limited regard for the merits of the case or their own capacity to successfully handle it. If you have been injured, you need a lawyer who carefully vets all of their clients, and appropriately manages their caseload so that they can be certain of doing the best job possible for you. Serving clients well, and ensuring successful outcomes for them, should always be more important than the firm’s bottom line.
Question #11: How Does the Attorney Handle Payment?
Finances are often a huge source of stress when someone has suffered a personal injury. There may be big medical bills that are compounded by the victim’s inability to work and generate income because of their injuries. Therefore, the idea of hiring an expensive attorney to recover damages might simply seem impossible. Given this reality, it may be best to work with a lawyer who offers representation on a contingent fee basis. This means that the attorney’s fees and costs of litigation will be deducted from any eventual settlement or judgment rather than an upfront retainer and payments directly from the client.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you have been in an accident and suffered damages because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. You need an advocate with a record of success, who will meet your expectations and ensure the best possible outcomes for your case. Contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at (833) 552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) or online to schedule a free consultation and learn if we may be able to help you.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
8400 NW 36th St.
Doral, FL, 33166