How do I choose an attorney?
There are a lot of questions to ask yourself when you hire an attorney. Some of them are pretty obvious, like how experienced are you and your firm? Here are a few that you might not have considered.
- Does this attorney regularly practice in this area of law? For example, we do not handle divorces, wills, or anything far outside of workers' compensation and personal injury cases. We focus our practice on workers' compensation and personal injury so that we can stay up to date with current legal decisions and know how the process works. Workers' compensation, especially, is a unique enough area of law that you want to have an attorney who regularly practices in front of the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court.
- Is this attorney just telling me what I want to hear? If an attorney is throwing numbers at you before they have seen your medical records or you have reached maximum medical improvement, you may want to be concerned. Almost everyone wants to know at the outset what their case is worth, but it is rare that an attorney can honestly respond to that question so early on. You may want to be cautious of an attorney who tells you there will be a big payoff before they know enough about the case to be sure of that. The attorney you choose should be willing to tell you what is good about your case but also be honest with you about any weaknesses in the case and about what the true value is so that you can make informed decisions.
- How does your fee work? Most personal injury/workers' compensation attorneys operate on a contingency basis because clients who are put in those situations rarely have the extra money to pay a large retainer fee. Ask your attorney what kinds of fees/reimbursements they may charge you in addition to the contingency fee. It is normal to be charged also for things like medical records that the attorney has to request. Some firms may charge for other things, like postage or the attorney's mileage to your deposition. Some attorneys may make the percentage they take a fee on dependent on whether the case settles or goes to trial. You want to make sure you understand how the fee setup works.
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