Interviewing personal injury attorneys can kind of feel like you are out on a blind date. Your interview is peppered with questions such as, 'Where did you go to college?', 'When did you graduate?', 'How long have you worked as a personal injury attorney?', and 'Are you interested in my case?'
These questions, just like a blind date, can leave you feeling like you still don't know that much about the person, or the lawyer you're interviewing, even though they answered all of your questions. If you feel like your questions are all falling short, try asking the following questions during your next interview:
When Did You Last Actually Take A Personal Injury Case To Trial?
How Many Times In Your Career Have You Taken A Case To Court?
These questions can reveal a lot about the attorney you are interviewing. Here are three important things you can learn from these two questions based on the attorney's answer:
1. How Often The Attorney Settles Cases Out Of Court
If your attorney has not been to court in the last two years, or has only gone to court once in the last two years, this demonstrates that they tends to settle cases the majority of the time. If you would prefer to settle your case, instead of taking it all the way to court, than an attorney who settles most of their cases could be just right for you.
2. The Attorney's Willingness To Take Your Case All The Way To Trial
On the other hand, you also want to hire an attorney who would take your case to court if necessary. It is not at all unusual for an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases to only take one case to court every year or so.
What you want to watch out for is an attorney who has not taken a case to trial at all in the last four years or more. This may indicate, not that the attorney is amazing at settling cases, but that they don't feel comfortable going to court and will settle to avoid a court date. You want an attorney who will fight for your right to fair compensation.
3. If The Attorney Is Running A Settlement Mill
If the attorney has not taken a case to trial for more than four years, and has only been to court less times than you can count on one hand, you may be interviewing a lawyer who runs a settlement mill.
A settlement mill focuses on settling as many cases as possible. The lawyer or lawyers behind a settlement mill often accept offers that are not beneficial to their clients. They do this because if they settle a set quota of cases each, quickly and efficiently, they will make enough money for themselves. These types of lawyers tend to drop cases they can't win, or charge large referral fees to attorneys who will take your case to trial, and they may not be the best fit for you.
If you really want to get beyond the feeling of a blind date, and really learn something about the personal injury attorney you are interviewing, ask the two questions above. Those two simple questions will help you figure out if your attorney has the skills to settle your case or take it court, and it will help you flag attorneys who are just trying to make a quick buck.
If you've been injured recently, think about getting in touch with a local firm, such as Stapleton Law Offices.