Selecting a spinal cord injury lawyer while under stress is a difficult process. Knowing these misconceptions will help you evaluate if a lawyer meets your needs financially, personally as well as having the proficiency to successfully handle your case.
It is not an easy task selecting a qualified and an exceptional spinal cord injury lawyer because most lay persons know little to nothing about the aspects involved in spinal cord injury (SCI) or personal injury law. Take a look at some misconceptions about hiring the right legal counsel when it comes to SCI:
Misconception: A highly reputed personal injury attorney is a good choice; you need not hunt specifically for a SCI specialized lawyer.
The Truth: Spinal cord injury involves many factors that are not regular or routine to most personal injury cases that require a specialized SCI lawyer. Besides the immense pain and suffering caused to the victim and their family, SCI involves unique medical issues, long term and possibly life time disability, specialized doctors and rehabilitation/medical expenses, psychological and physiological aspects, and much more. Unless your lawyer is very familiar with all these aspects and has experience in handling such cases, he would not be familiar with the medical aspects of your case, your best long term medical and rehabilitation needs, and thus will not be able to negotiate the best compensation package for you (usually a structured settlement that takes into account your specific financial, medical and rehabilitation needs).
Misconception: Once you track down an experienced and reputed SCI lawyer, your work is done.
The Truth: Selecting a spinal cord injury lawyer that is familiar with paralysis and the effects is not only about experience, qualification and proficiency – though it is true that these factors are critical to winning the best compensation for your condition. It is equally important that the lawyer and you are able to work together effectively. These are complex cases that may require years of coordinated effort between you and your attorney. This is why you should hire the SCI lawyer only after you have had an initial interview and you found him or her readily accessible, and easy to talk to regarding your case. You should feel the lawyer is familiar with your medical condition, and can access the local doctors specializing in this field. Just as with a doctor, you should feel comfortable to talk, inquire, suggest, and discuss all matters regarding your case. Just as with a doctor, you don’t want your case handed over to someone else you didn’t choose or who may not have the same experience of the person you chose.
Misconception: You find an experienced lawyer and you are comfortable talking about all aspects about yourself, your expectations and the procedure involved in the lawsuit. You hire this lawyer; you don’t have to worry about costs.
The Truth: There is a lot of ground work to be done in a spinal cord injury case. There are medical records to be gathered, expert opinions to be sought and documented, research collected on the cost of the medical care and related treatments and so much more. You need to discuss whether the lawyer will cover these costs by taking their compensation out of the settlement (contingent based) or if some money up front will be requested before or after a case is filed on your behalf. You need to discuss if the lawyer is willing to commit the resources necessary to take the case to trial if that is your best option for maximum recovery. Most victims of SCI do not have the financial resources upfront to cover expert witness fees, litigation costs or legal fees, and an experienced SCI lawyer knows this and will offer to handle your case on a contingent fee basis without any up front costs to you.
Misconception: Selecting a spinal cord injury lawyer is easy; search the Net and you will find plenty.
The Truth: All the above misconceptions will tell you this is not an easy task. You need to research – not just search – on the Net to help you zero in on the best matched SCI lawyer for your case. Most general personal injury law firms will be running internet ad campaigns designed to ‘catch’ any and all types of injury cases. That doesn’t mean they have specialized experience in SCI cases. Ask what percentage of the lawyer and firm’s cases involve SCI injuries? Ask how many SCI cases the lawyer has successfully resolved, and how many years of experience they have with these cases. Ask if they personally have the experience or if they are relying on the combined experience of other lawyers in the firm. Ask when was the last case they successfully resolved and to describe the case to you.
Interview Questions to Help Select a SCI Lawyer
There are several questions you should ask any lawyer you are considering hiring:
- How long have you been practicing?
- What percent of your cases over those years of practice have involved SCI?
- Do you or your firm handle other types of personal injury? What percentage involve other types of injury claims? What types of other cases do you handle?
- How many spinal cord injury cases have you handled and what is your track record with winning trials? When is the last case you personally tried to a jury and obtained a successful verdict?
- Will you be personally handling my case or will someone under you be handling the majority of the work? Who is this person? Lawyer or paralegal? How many years experience do they have in SCI cases?
- Will you advance all the costs necessary to bring the case to trial if that is the best option for maximum recovery? Will I ever be asked to advance any costs in the case?
James Avery of the Avery Law Firm has 30+ years of experience in spinal cord injury cases and possibly the best trial record of any SCI specialized lawyer. See James Avery’s profile page for more information or call us at (866) 987-4368 or fill out the form on the right side of this page.