5 Questions To Ask Before You Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer*
You’ve been injured through no fault of your own, whether it’s by a trip or fall, on the job, or in an auto-accident. You’ve broken a bone, herniated a disk, or your back, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, legs or any part of your body tingles and hurts, or you hit your head and have aches; What should you do? First, seek immediate medical care. Your first call should not be to a lawyer. Lawyers are not doctors and just as lay people should not give legal advice, lawyers should not give you advice on how to treat your injuries.
That said, you can’t wait forever to seek legal advice. In general, in Georgia you have two years from the date of injury to settle your personal injury claims or file a lawsuit. So, yes, you will need legal advice on what to do next within a reasonable amount of time after you are injured. How soon to seek legal advice can be affected by your injuries, your health insurance status, your age, and other factors. Generally, seeking legal advice within two weeks of being injured is reasonable, whereas waiting six months before talking to an attorney may not be.
Lawyers can and do refer clients who don’t have health insurance but need treatment to medical providers willing to provide services while taking a lien on the client’s personal injury case. When a medical provider agree to take a lien, they are agreeing to wait for payment out of your settlement proceeds when your case settles. If you don’t have health insurance, then that is one very good reason to see a lawyer sooner, rather than later.
There are a lot of law firms out there who claim to represent people who have suffered personal injuries. Here are some questions to help you narrow your potential attorney list and make sure you get the best possible representation:
- Has your firm handled personal injury cases like mine before? How many?
- If we can’t settle my case (either because you are still treating or because the adjuster has made low offers), will your law firm be the one to file a lawsuit on my behalf? Note some of “one call does it all” large personal injury firms will refer out any cases requiring litigation.
- Are you the attorney that will be handling my case and talk to me when I call with questions about my case? Be wary of firms who push client relations off onto paralegals or investigators. These people cannot give legal advice and should not be your main point of contact.
- What is your contingency fee? Is it different if we settle without filing a lawsuit than it is when filing a lawsuit is necessary? Here at The Read Law Firm, we stagger our contingency fee based on the amount of work we put into a case to get it settled or tried. Our percentage is higher once we have thoroughly pursued pre-suit settlement and file your case in court.
- Do you help negotiate my medical bills as part of your service? There are a hundred different prices for the same medical services, and your attorney should try to see if the providers are willing to take a lower amount than what they initially charged.
To discuss your personal injury case with T.K. Read, please call 770-929-8644. If she is not in, she will get back to you as soon as she can.
*Please note, the above is not legal advice. Your reliance on it is at your own risk. Provision of this article as a public benefit does not create a contract between you and the attorneys at The Read Law Firm, P.C. Law changes and the intricacies of a particular case should always be discussed with a competent attorney.
For Articles by Attorneys Richard Read and T.K. Read on Legal Subjects of Interest to the Public, click below:
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