If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s carelessness, you have every right to expect compensation. While money can never put everything right again, it CAN pay for the medical expenses you’ve incurred, any future medical or care needs related to your injuries, and other damages, like pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment. To get the kind of money you need, though, you need a good Milwaukee personal injury attorney.
How to interview your lawyer: 10 questions to ask before choosing a law firm Interviewing potential law firms: 10 questions to ask your lawyer
As you meet with lawyers, here are some questions to ask of any attorney you’re considering hiring to represent you:
1. What areas of law are you experienced in?
If you’re not talking to a personal injury attorney, you’re talking to the wrong attorney. While the lawyer who handled your uncle’s divorce may be great at what he does, he’s not qualified to handle a personal injury lawsuit. This is why there are entire law firms devoted to personal injury law. If you’ve been injured by someone else’s carelessness, you absolutely need to be talking to a personal injury attorney.
2. Have you ever had your law license suspended or faced disciplinary action?
While there are rare occasions where an attorney may have had his law license suspended due to some extenuating circumstances and it should not impact your decision, it’s generally not a good sign. Similarly, attorneys or firms that have faced disciplinary action are also best avoided—even though it might have been the result of something as minor as neglecting to pay their bar dues. If you are interviewing attorneys, the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation website lists all attorneys in the state facing disciplinary action.
3. Have you handled injury cases like mine? How did they turn out?
While it would be reassuring to know the attorney you’re considering hiring has handled cases just like yours, the fact is no two cases are exactly alike. What’s really important is that the attorney has experience in similar cases and a winning record.
At Warshafsky Law, our attorneys have handled virtually every imaginable type of personal injury case, so odds are good someone on our staff has experience with your specific injury. More importantly, though, we have an impressive history of winning big for our clients.
4. What is your contingency fee?
Knowing how much you will pay is important. Most personal injury law firms (ours included) work on a contingency basis. Contingency fee agreements are negotiable, depending on the circumstances of your case. Typically, the fee ranges between 25% and 40% of any monetary compensation you receive (either through a jury award or a settlement). Fee agreements are more negotiable when cases are particularly strong and the damages more severe.
With Warshafsky Law, there is no retainer fee or ongoing legal bills. Additionally, if we do not succeed in your case, you don’t owe us a thing. Most personal injury law firms or asbestos lawyers have similar policies, but if you find yourself meeting with one that wants a retainer fee and plans to bill you every two months, keep looking.
5. How many personal injury cases have you taken to court?
It’s important to know if the attorney you’re talking with has trial experience. Most personal injury law firms today are “settlement mills”—law firms that rarely take cases to court, preferring instead to settle out of court as quickly as possible, take their cut of the settlement, and move on to the next case. Unfortunately, they’re more interested in lining their pockets than looking after the best interests of their clients.
Warshafsky Law is different. We built our firm on a willingness to take every case to trial in order to get our clients the most money possible for their injuries. That’s still our philosophy. As a result, Warshafsky Law consistently secures some of the highest monetary awards in the history of Wisconsin law. If the attorney you’re meeting with suddenly has a deer in the headlights look when you ask about taking cases to court, you need to keep looking.
6. How long does it take to resolve an injury case like mine?
If you’ve been injured and unable to work, you’re obviously worried about how long it will take to get your case sorted out. Specifically, how long before you get reimbursed. Unfortunately, every case is different, so it’s impossible to give an exact time frame. That said, if the lawyer doesn’t wait to file the suit until the statute of limitations is just about up, it’s possible for a case to resolve in 2 to 3 years, sometimes even less.
7. How available are you to communicate about my case?
One of the biggest complaints against lawyers is that they’re impossible to get a hold of and won’t return calls. While you don’t want to be calling every day, it’s understandable to expect a lawyer will be available to answer questions you may have. Since almost everyone uses email now, it has become the most commonly used form of communication—eliminating many of the hassles and missed calls of telephone communication.
The attorneys of Warshafsky Law make every effort to respond to client questions within one business day. More importantly, when you hire a Warshafsky attorney, that’s who you’ll be communicating with—not an assistant. One way to tell how you’ll be treated as a client is if the law firm sends a paralegal or an “investigator” to meet with you at the initial consultation. If they do, keep looking.
8. Do you have the time and resources to handle my case?
Most personal injury law firms have plenty of attorneys and support personnel on staff to handle personal injury cases. However, some firms are better equipped than others. Any law firm willing to take a case to court has to have plenty of resources—not just attorneys and support staff, but money to pay for expert witnesses and other expenses. There’s always a lot on the line in a personal injury case, so you want to be sure the firm you hire is as able to represent you as they are willing.
9. What is my case worth?
It’s understandable to want to know how much money you can expect as compensation for your injuries. Every case is unique, which makes it impossible for any attorney to pinpoint an exact dollar number. Still, most attorneys have seen how similar cases go and should be able to at least give you a broad range of what to expect. You should be just as troubled by any attorney who gives an outlandish number as you are of any who hem and haw and can’t even give you examples from previous cases they’ve handled.
10. Can I get references from some past clients?
Any successful personal injury law firm should be able to provide you with a list of references. If they tell you to “Just look at the testimonials on our website,” be suspicious. Anyone can put anything on their website, but a verbal or written reference directly from an actual client is far more credible. If the lawyer you’re meeting with can’t do that, you need to be looking elsewhere.
Hire Warshafsky Law, get the compensation you deserve
When the personal injury attorneys of Warshafsky Law take on a case, we prepare from day one as though it will go to trial. The result: Some of the highest awards and settlements in the history of Wisconsin law. If you have grounds for a suit, Warshafsky Law will fully fund your case at no upfront cost to you whatsoever. Only after your case has been resolved and you have been compensated do we ask for payment. Additionally, our No Win, No Fee policy ensures you have no financial risk at all when you hire Warshafsky Law.