Long Island Attorney BlogSpot

Sunday, June 22, 2008

12 Bullet Proof Questions To Ask Your Accident Lawyer

This is the first post on behalf of my firm Goldstein & Bashner and I thought what better way to begin then to simply state what I believe every accident victim should know before hiring a lawyer. I wonder how I would look for a lawyer if I were in an accident. I guess I would ask my family and friends for a referral. As a comparison if I were looking for a specialist in broken bones or brain injuries I would begin with the family and friends. But what if they did not know anybody or if they did should I take their word and look no further. Would I look in the Yellow Pages for a specialist? I don't think so and I don't think anybody should approach a search for an accident lawyer in the same manner. In Long Island which is a suburb of New York the rules which regulate a lawyer's conduct when attempting to solicit an accident victim are very strict. Without getting into detail you should never hire an attorney who either approaches you at an accident scene or who somehow manages to get your telephone number and calls you within hours after your accident. Lawyers have been punished for this behavior and you should not communicate with anybody who calls you without your permission. When searching for the right accident lawyer my number one piece of advice would be to meet them in person. You can tell a lot about a person when you meet them face to face. From how they address you to how they dress themselves. In my firm( http:www.eglaw.com ) we spend a great deal of time at the initial consultation. We believe it is at this point that we learn a lot about the client and the client has an opportunity to learn about us. Most clients never seem to ask the right questions of the lawyer that may be handling their recent automobile, train or other accident which has caused them to be in this unfortunate position.

The following questions should always be asked of your potential accident lawyer and the answers you get are equally important:
  1. Has your firm had experience with my type of case?
  2. What is your initial opinion of my case?(Most lawyers have some feeling about the case although it may change along the way as more facts are known)
  3. What kind of support staff will assist you with my case?(Is this a one man/woman show with no paralegals and only an answering machine)
  4. Does your firm have the financial resources to spend on my case?(Look my firm has spent 20, 30,40 and even 50 thousand on some cases. Is this firm ready to spend?)
  5. Does your firm have trial lawyers that can try the case if it does not settle?(My firm has several experienced trial lawyers and even has a co-counsel relationship with the top trial firm in New York City. Has your potential lawyer tried any cases and if not who are the lawyers the trial lawyers he has a co-counsel relationship with. Ask for names)
  6. What is the firms policy on telephone calls from clients?(Don't be offended if the lawyer says he only takes planned phone calls unless its an emergency.Likewise you want to know if the lawyer will get back to you within 24-48 hours.)
  7. Does the firm concentrate in only one geographical area?(If his office is in New York City has he handled cases in Long Island )
  8. Does the firm understand the time limitations on my case?(Sure most lawyers will say they do but do they really?Cases against the City,County,Port Authority and the railroad have different time limitations)
  9. How will the firm advise me of the status of my case?(Will your potential lawyer notify you in writing or call you?How often will you be advised of the status?)
  10. How often will we meet in person?(I know it sounds crazy but some clients I have met have never seen their lawyer. This is a sin. If you have not seen your lawyer you are asking for trouble)
  11. What if you decide not to handle my case?(At my firm we tell you up front or as soon as possible if we are not going forward with your case and we will tell you why. If your lawyer continues with excuses and has not decided if he is proceeding with your claim get rid of him)
  12. Will you tell me the truth?(Sounds crazy but ask the question and look at your lawyer when he says "of course I will tell you the truth". Look at his face you will know)
In the end it may just be chemistry. Your potential lawyer may have all the right answers but something inside tells you that this is not the right person. Go with how you feel. Also, maybe the lawyer did not have all the perfect answers but you feel "right" about this attorney. You feel comfortable with him. This is key. Most if not all of my clients retain my firm not only because the right answers are there but the chemistry is right.Let me know how you feel and visit my site at http://www.eglaw.com/