Terry E. Lumsden, Tacoma's Best Personal Injury Lawyer

Questions to ask yourself when hiring a personal accident injury attorney in Tacoma

When you are pursuing a legal claim against an insurance company, you are taking on an organization that is armed with years of experience in handling such situations, almost unlimited resources, and an army of skilled and savvy lawyers who are highly adept at defending their clients from personal injury claims. With that being said, having the right lawyer at your side will play an integral role in obtaining the kind of compensation that you rightfully deserve.

The majority of injury victims are completely unaware that the most competent and decorated personal injury attorneys in their locality charge identical to nearly the same rates as amateur lawyers who have yet to taste significant victory in court. With that being said, it would be wise to put less weight on striking ads about personal injury lawyers altogether. If you don't, you might end up with a lawyer who won't even try to negotiate an insurance company's first offer even though there is a real opportunity for an even bigger and better settlement.

There are plenty of personal injury lawyers who simply take cases and settle them quickly which basically translates to an easy ROI for them but meager chumps of change for their clients. They lack both the determination and the skills needed to grind an insurance company down to the last possible dollar. But that's not how Terry Lumsden approaches cases. And it's why you need to ask these important questions before choosing a personal accident attorney.

First and foremost, you want to hire a personal injury attorney that you can work with at a close level. The relationship you share should be centered on trust, respect, and confidence. After all, both you and your attorney are in it together, for better or worse, that's why it is important that you understand each other as the two of you walk every step of the case.

Try to talk to your attorney first so you will get a feel on how he or she will be able to represent you in your legal battle. Engaging on a one on one conversation with your personal accident injury lawyer will give you a feel on whether or not he or she is best suited to advance your legal needs. Here are a number of questions that you might want to include in your personal interview with your personal lawyer:

1.) How much do you charge for your professional legal service?
The majority of personal accident injury attorneys follow a contingency fee for their legal services. If you work with a lawyer who observes this kind of compensation system, you are not required to pay the attorney a single dime unless your legal claim bears any monetary fruit. If you win on your lawsuit and are granted compensation for the injuries you incurred, your personal accident attorney will receive a portion of the money, normally between 25% to 40%.

While you obviously want to opt with an attorney that asks for the minimum percentage, you should also seriously consider his or her qualifications as well. A 25% contingency fee wouldn't mean much if your attorney is not skilled and experienced enough to take the case to deeper waters to obtain more lucrative legal awards. With that being said, try to find a personal injury lawyer who asks for a reasonable rate based on his or her track record of courtroom success.

2.) If the law suit fails, are there certain costs that I need to cover?
There are personal accident injury lawyers who will levy advance fees on their clients to cover the necessary expenses in the preparation of the case. These fees are often called as "out-of-pocket" costs and they are separate from the standard contingency fee that most lawyers charge on injury claimants.

Try to ask your lawyer if there are any out-of-pocket costs involved in his or her legal services and whether you will be responsible in covering them if the personal injury lawsuit becomes an unfortunate failure. This way, you will know what to expect in advance.

3.) Have you experienced similar cases in the past?
Your personal accident injury attorney may have handled a similar case to yours in the past or not, but it would be best not to expect this firsthand without any confirmation. That's why it's important to interview your lawyer regarding his or her past cases and what the end results were. And as much as possible, you want to determine if your lawyer has experienced significant success in his or her career on cases that are similar to yours.

Asking this kind of question is relevant as you want to hire a personal injury lawyer that specializes in your particular type of claim. If you survived a vehicular accident that resulted to an extended stay at the hospital and months of therapy and recovery at home, for instance, it would be best to opt with a lawyer who focuses on car accident lawsuits. You don't want to end up hiring an attorney whose experience and skill set is not suited to your personal case.

4.) How heavily invested will you be on my case?
Some lawyers handle multiple claims from different clients all at the same time. So if you work with these kinds of lawyers, there is a real chance that your case may end up sitting at the bottom of the rest of the other case files. When it comes to personal injury claims, time is of the essence as every hour you spend at home or at the hospital recovering from your physical and mental wounds translates to dollars lost due to the absence of work.

For this reason, it would be best to ask your lawyer how heavily invested he or she will be on your case. Try to let your attorney understand that the law suit needs to materialize immediately so you can receive the rightful compensation and get back to your life as soon as possible. And don't forget to make an inquiry on the possible time in which your case can be filed.

5.) How long will it possibly take for my case to reach a reasonable settlement?
Try to find out the typical time frame in which a case like yours will reach an acceptable settlement. There are numerous factors that can directly impact the length of a particular case but a seasoned personal accident injury lawyer should be able to provide you with a crude estimate.

In the end, your lawyer will play a key role in how long it takes your case to resolve. As such, you should ensure that the lawyer you will be working with is completely dedicated to settling your case at the fastest time possible given the unique circumstances surrounding it.

6.) If my case reaches trial, what kind of results can you promise?
When you hear a lawyer making the prediction that your case will reach an immediate settlement, then you might want to be suspicious of his or her level of competence. Every personal injury lawyer worth his salt will always assume that the case is going to enter into a courtroom battle and will be prepared to go to war in front of a jury no matter how long it takes.

If your attorney has a mindset that is ready for anything, you will have plenty of ammunition to throw at the insurance company during negotiations. This, in turn, will give you the best chances of landing the best possible settlement. In the event that your case reaches trial, you need to ensure that your lawyer is well equipped and has enough victories in his or her belt in front of the jury.

7.) How much is my case worth?
Your personal accident injury attorney can anticipate how much your case will be worth. He or she should easily present you with a general scope and share to you in detail how different elements like present findings, liability, and preexisting health conditions may affect the settlement negotiations or final verdict of your case.

Try to do some digging around and let reason and logic guide you in gauging a particular lawyer's assertions. You might want to be cautious with personal accident injury attorneys whose projections sound too good to be true.

8.) Will you personally be managing my case?
When you work with a law firm, find out who exactly will be managing the different facets of your case. There are law firms who have the bad habit of recommending partner firms to their clients who suddenly become invisible after the representation agreement takes into legal effect.

Make sure that you clearly establish who your point of contact will be and the names that you need to reach out to in case there are any questions and concerns about the case that come to mind. Also, try to determine if your case will be handled by not so accomplished associates of the firm and if it will, who will be in charge of overseeing their performance.

9.) What is my level of involvement in the case?
When you talk to a potential personal injury lawyer that you are considering hiring, be sure to include what your level of involvement will be in your case so you can prepare once everything starts to roll. There are clients who prefer to have a significant role in their case, being present in depositions and other relevant discussions.

Some lawyers permit such deep involvement and there are those that don't so be sure that you know this first hand before hiring a personal injury lawyer. Most clients prefer handing the keys to their attorneys and simply fill the role as spectators. Whatever your level of involvement may be, be sure that both you and your personal accident injury lawyer agree on it completely.

10.) Can I ask for referrals?
Feel free to request for proof of work from your lawyer through referrals. A reputable personal injury lawyer should be able to give you one or two happy clients with their respective numbers and contact details. Try not to put special emphasis on all the promotional content and adverts featured on their websites. There is a chance that the information they provide is polished for marketing purposes.

It's always best to personally talk to your potential lawyer so you can get a feel on how he or she relates to you and your case. If you see that the lawyer is honest, respectful, and determined to advance your legal case, don't just hire him or her just yet. Talk to the attorney's past clients so you will have a good idea on how he or she works in real life.

Finding a good personal accident injury lawyer
Just like every major decision in life, doing your "homework" will help you hire the lawyer that is perfectly suited to represent your legal claims, whether it's on the negotiation table or inside the courtroom. Once you decide to have a face to face talk with your potential personal accident injury lawyer regarding your case, it's crucial that you focus on asking the right questions so you will know whether or not the attorney has the necessary skills and expertise to land you the best possible results. It's also a good way to determine whether or not you can work with the person at least in a professionally manageable way.

The main reason why you may want to consider asking the ten questions mentioned above is so that you will gain the necessary judgment that majority of injury victims never put much emphasis on when it comes to hiring personal accident injury attorneys. If you ask these questions, it may just make the difference between a victorious case or ending up with nothing or substantially less than what your personal injury complaint is really worth.

Terry E. Lumsden, Attorney at Law
3517 6th Avenue Suite 200
Tacoma, WA 98406
Phone: (253) 537-4424

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