What to know before hiring an accident attorney
The legal system can be complicated, which is why hiring a lawyer to help is essential when you’re dealing with injuries, wrongful death of a loved one, or all the stress that goes along with trying to get what you deserve from insurance companies.
“At Sweet James Accident Attorneys, our first priority is to make sure you are taken care of, that you receive the medical treatment that you need so you can get back on your feet. Next, we have expert teams that focus on your type of accident and getting you the compensation that you deserve,” according to Sweet James, a local law firm that specializes in serious injury cases.
Lawyers are experts at knowing what you need to do and when — at least they should be. As with any profession, lawyers have varying skill levels. So, how do you know what to look for?
To help, here are three signs your lawyer is unqualified.
Hiring a lawyer may seem expensive, but how much does it actually cost? That’s an important question to ask — and one a lawyer should be happy to answer.
Most lawyers offer free initial consultations so, from the beginning, you should know what services you are paying for and how much they are. That will also make it simple to compare fees between attorneys. Additionally, an attorney should give you fee information in writing. Then, if you are charged for something you do not recognize, you can compare it to what you were told.
“If you notice fees that don’t seem accurate, beware,” according to Sweet James. “You should remember agreeing with them when you signed your contract. Watch out for lawyers who inflate task time. If they cannot clearly explain fees to you, it may be time to look for a new professional.”
Not only does your lawyer need information from you, but you should also have a good idea of what’s going on with your case. Get on the same page about how you’ll communicate, whether it’s with calls, emails, or text messages.
Once you get going, you should receive updates about your case. However, that doesn’t mean your lawyer will be on call 24/7.
“The important thing is that they are competent and get the job done,” James Bergener of Sweet James Accident Attorney’s says. “You have a problem, however, if your lawyer is cold to you and doesn’t seem to value your business.”
That includes feeling comfortable asking questions without your lawyer being condescending or minimizing your concerns.
“You want to know that your professional understands that there are personal pains that accompany legal trouble,” Sweet James says. “Your lawyer should show the empathy that any human would. The right lawyer will show care and concern even if they have a busy caseload.”
Flaking out or constantly being late is not normal for an attorney. While emergencies happen to everyone, they should be the exception, not the rule. The same goes for being disorganized, as your attorney should meet court deadlines for your case and have the necessary paperwork ready for the court and you.
And, despite the jokes, it is rare for lawyers to lie to their clients. If you catch your lawyer in a lie, don’t hesitate to move on to an attorney who will be honest with you.
“You may, for example, hear from your lawyer that your case is going well,” Sweet James says. “Later on, however, you could discover that they have not been working on your case at all. Or your attorney could underestimate your chances of winning a case. They could, for example, get talked into taking a settlement that is too low.”
This is how James Bergener has earned the name Sweet James. The outcome matters and his team approaches each individual case with care and compassion to maximize the settlement that you deserve.
If you’ve noticed any of these red flags from your lawyer and want a second opinion, or if you have a new case you’d like to discuss, the attorneys at Sweet James can help. Visit SweetJames.com for more information and to schedule a free consultation, or call them at any time at 800-500-5200.