In addition to guarantees of "no fee unless money is recovered for you," most personal injury lawyers in Columbia, and throughout South Carolina, offer free consultations. At the end of these meetings, you may be asked to sign a contingency fee agreement and other paperwork. Before hiring a law firm for your accident case, be sure to get answers to these important questions:
1. Do you have experience with this type of case?
It is much easier to advertise for injury cases than to handle them. TV ads and lawyer websites make it seem as if every person with a law degree is equally capable of handling a car wreck, on-the-job injury, or medical malpractice claim. Don't believe everything you read. Instead, ask the attorney about their experience with cases like yours, the results they achieved, and their plan of action for your case.
2. Will you be the actual attorney working on my file?
Many personal injury lawyers advertise as if they will be the person handling your file, when instead it is a paralegal or young associate who is doing all the work. My firm takes a team approach when it comes to accident cases. Though my paralegal, associate attorney, and legal assistant may all work on your case with me, I remain involved with and knowledgeable of every case we handle. When you hire my firm - you get my entire team - including me.
3. What resources will you devote to my case?
Accident cases can be very expensive on the front end. Multiple experts may be needed. For example, a trucking collision could require us to retain an accident reconstructionist, trucking safety expert, and life care planner to establish who caused the wreck, how it could have been prevented, and what medical treatment it will require over the course of an injured person's lifetime.
You want to be sure that the firm you hire is willing and able to spend the money it takes to maximize the value of your personal injury case.
4. What steps will you take to make sure I am kept informed?
One of the biggest complaints people have about past experiences with law firms is that they were not kept informed of developments with their file. My firm has a policy by which clients never go more than a few weeks without either an in-person meeting or a scheduled phone conference. Likewise, clients are always free to call us so that questions may be answered, and their minds may rest at ease.
We want injured people to know how hard we work, how close we are to a resolution, and what steps must be taken to achieve a fair outcome.
Almost all attorneys - myself included - offer free consultations. However, a free consult should not be the determinative factor when selecting a personal injury lawyer to represent your interests. Instead, ask the questions listed above - along with any others you may have - to ensure you make the right choice for your case.
To find out more about my firm, and to learn how we can help, call my Columbia, SC office at 803-790-2800.