It’s unlikely that you have had many dealings with lawyers previously, so how do you go about choosing the right lawyer to help you?
Personal injury compensation claims whether through a work or car accident, medical negligence or a fall in a public place for example, may result in unexpected medical bills as well as pain and suffering and even loss of your income if you are unable to work as a result of your injury. They can take many months and even several years to settle. This is a period you should be focusing on your medical treatment and recovery and not having to personally deal with the added stress of making a claim and having to directly liaise and negotiate with the other party and their lawyers. It is therefore critical you have every confidence in your lawyer, which makes your initial selection decision most important.
Here is a checklist to help you make that all important decision:
- Ask your friends, acquaintances or get a referral from another lawyer or professional person such as your doctor.
- Be prepared for your first meeting. Make sure you have a clear picture of your problem and what you hope to achieve. Assemble as many facts and supporting documents in an organized way for your lawyer, so they can advise you properly and quickly Remember time is money.
- Will the lawyer you initially saw, be the person handling your matter?
- If yes, what is their previous experience in personal injury compensation?
- If no, who will be handling your matter and what is their level of experience?
- Were they professional in their presentation to you?
- Did they actively listen to you?
- If you ring the law firm, are you able to speak to the lawyer handling your matter and what is their policy in relation to the timeframe in returning your calls?
- Was the process clearly explained to you?
- Did the lawyer talk in easy to understand plain English, as opposed to legal jargon?
- Was the anticipated timeframe to complete your matter discussed?
- Was the method of charging and the amount of costs likely to be charged, clearly explained to you?
- Some law firms now offer their first meeting totally free to discuss the merits of your case, as well as “No win-no fee” option. They may also be able to fund disbursements such as your medical expenses. Were any of these offered to you?
- Were you given an opportunity to ask questions?
- Were the chances of success, and whether it would it be better to try and negotiate a settlement discussed?
- Did the lawyer seem genuinely interested or simply ‘go through the paces’?
- At the end of your first meeting did you feel totally comfortable in putting your matter in their hands?