Boating accident cases are handled by personal injury attorneys, who will help you recover compensation from the negligent parties responsible for the accident. But, there are countless personal injury attorneys, so which one should you choose? It’s best if you make a short list of attorneys, and then schedule a consultation with each of them so you have the opportunity to ask them more questions. To find the attorneys for this list, ask friends, family, or the local bar association for recommendations. Then, schedule a consultation with each attorney on the list, and prepare questions ahead of time so you can learn more about these important areas:
The first topic that you should cover during a consultation is the attorney’s experience. Every personal injury attorney has a unique background, so you shouldn’t assume that just because an attorney practices personal injury law, he has experience handling boating accident cases. Ask each attorney that you meet with how many years of experience he has as a lawyer, and more specifically, how many boating accident cases he has handled. You should also find out the outcomes of theses—was he able to recover any compensation for his clients? Was the case settled outside of the courtroom? Boating accident cases can be complex, so if he hasn’t had success with these cases in the past, he may not have the appropriate legal skills for this type of case.
Next, find out how much trial experience your attorney has. Most personal injury claims are settled during pretrial negotiations, but there’s still a small chance that your case will go to trial. In the event that your case goes to court, you will need an attorney who is comfortable in the courtroom.
Value of Claim
If you are satisfied with the amount of experience the attorney has, move on to the next topic, which is the value of your claim. Bring documents related to the accident so you can help your attorney understand exactly what happened. The items you should bring with you include medical records, photos from the scene of the accident, and the police report, if there is one. Give the attorney a few moments to look everything over and then answer any questions that he may have about the accident. Then, ask him to estimate the value of your claim based on the limited information he has.
Make a note of what every attorney thinks your case is worth. If most of the attorneys on your list are giving you estimates of around $25,000, but one gives you an estimate of $100,000 with no explanation as to why, this could indicate he is exaggerating the value of your claim in order to win you over as a client.
Another important topic to cover is legal fees. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means they take a percentage of your settlement or verdict instead of charging you an hourly or flat fee. Be sure that you ask each attorney what percentage of your compensation he will be taking. You should also find out how the attorney plans on paying for other fees associated with filing a case, such as the cost of hiring an expert witness. It’s best if the attorney agrees to pay these fees upfront and then reimburse himself after you recover compensation. This way, you won’t have to pay any fees until you are awarded compensation.
Awards and Achievements
Ask each attorney if he has ever won any awards or accomplishments. Many awards are given out by local and national legal associations. If an attorney has some of these awards, it means he is respected by his peers in the legal community. For instance, attorney Nicholas C. Rowley at Trial Lawyers For Justice was given the “Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year” award by the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego. This award was given to Mr. Rowley because of his incredible ability to win large verdicts for his clients.
Attorneys should also share any achievements they are proud of with you. For example, if they recently secured a seven-figure settlement on behalf of a client, this is something you should know about. Ask the attorneys you meet with to talk to you about the highlights of their careers.
In the final part of the consultation, learn more about the law firm so you know what to expect if you choose to hire the attorney. The person that you meet with during the consultation is not necessarily the person that you will work with as a client. Make sure you find out exactly who you will be working with before you agree to hire the law firm.
Also, ask how often you will updated about the status of your case. Some clients want to be constantly updated, while others are fine with less frequent updates. Let the person you speak to know which you prefer, and ask if that will be a problem.
Making the Decision
Don’t feel pressured to make a decision during a consultation with an attorney. You can end the consultation by letting the attorney know that you will be in touch within the next few days. Feel free to take notes during each consultation so you can remember what everyone said later on. Once you’ve talked to every attorney on your list, review your notes and contact the attorney that you decide to work with to learn what the next steps are.
If you have been injured in a boating accident, your search for the right personal injury attorney is over. Contact Trial Lawyers for Justice today to schedule a consultation regarding your case. We will quickly begin to investigate the accident to determine who should be held liable for your injuries.