A personal Injury lawyer represents your interests when you or a loved one suffers an injury due to another’s action.
While it seems natural that person would offer compensation for your injury, or that their insurance company would, it rarely happens. Our experience as a personal injury lawyer for our clients has shown us many people will not take responsibility for their actions. We also know insurance companies actually profit from under-compensating injury victims. Lawyers representing insurance companies know governing law in great detail which is a huge advantage when dealing non-lawyers have limited or no idea what legal rights and remedies they have in Beloit WI.
An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to build your case, negotiate on your behalf with insurance companies and when needed, take your case to trial.
An option available to everyone is negotiating your claim directly with an insurance company without using a personal injury lawyer. However, insurance companies will always be focused on the lowest possible settlement. This will not be in your best interest. Further, throughout discussions, an insurance company will attempt to elicit statements from you that can damage your position if you ultimately decide to sue. Unfortunately, without a personal injury lawyer involved at that point in the process, you may unknowingly limit or completely eliminate your claim.
A personal injury lawyer in Beloit WI is in a good position to help you obtain a favorable settlement. What usually happens is even with the personal injury lawyer fee deducted, settlements significantly exceed what you can obtain without counsel.
The Cost Of A Personal Injury Attorney
Personal injury lawyers usually accept cases on a contingent fee basis. This means they if they win your case, they receive a percentage of the settlement as their fee. If they lose, they do not receive an attorney fee. No matter the outcome, there may be some related costs you will be responsible for such as a filing fee for your lawsuit. This is rarely an issue because most civil litigation settles before a trial, but you may want to clarify costs with your personal injury lawyer at the beginning of your case.
Personal injury lawyer fees will vary somewhat from state to state. In most states, the attorney fee will be between one third and 40% of a personal injury award. Workers’ compensation cases are more tightly regulated and usually have lower fees than regular personal injury matters.
Personal Injury Lawyers Can Specialize
When you are seeking a personal injury lawyer, be aware most personal injury lawyers do not practice medical malpractice law, and many do not handle workers’ compensation cases. Just as doctors specialize to provide a specific type of medical care, a personal injury lawyer in Beloit WI specializes to provide the best possible representation.
Beyond workers’ compensation and medical malpractice, some law firms even focus on particular types of injury or cause of action. Some personal injury lawyers focus primarily on burn injuries, or brain and spinal cord injuries. Other personal injury firms concentrate primarily on car accidents, construction accidents, or defective products litigation.
When selecting a personal injury lawyer, ask each lawyer you consult with whether they have experience with your type of injury before you hire.
Meeting With A Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury attorneys in Beloit WI rarely charge for an initial meeting. However, before you meet you should ask if there is a fee for an initial consultation. If there is a fee, you will be obligated to pay that fee even if you do not hire that personal injury lawyer. Conversely, when an initial consultation is free, you are not obligated to hire that lawyer. Taking some time to consider your options is perfectly acceptable. Hiring a personal injury lawyer in Beloit WI is a big step and it is not uncommon to consult with more than one to fins a lawyer with which you are comfortable.
Questions To Ask A Personal Injury Lawyer
A personal injury lawyer will be assisting you with a very difficult situation. It is important you feel comfortable with the attorney you select to work with. Topics to discuss are below –
- Areas of specialization?
- Have you handled cases like mine before?
- Are you the only attorney working on my case?
- If not, who else?
- How long will it take for this case to be resolved?
- Will you take my case on a contingent fee basis?
- What things can I do to improve my case, or to help you?
- How will you keep me informed about the progress of my case?
- How long will you take to return my calls?
- If you are unavailable (vacation, in court, etc.) who can I speak to about my case?
- With cases like mine, how often do you go to trial?
- If I am not happy with a settlement offer and you want to settle, will you go to court anyway?
- If I am happy with the offer but you think we can win more at trial, will you follow my wishes?
- Have you ever been disciplined by an ethics committee or been suspended from the practice of law? If so, why?
- What “continuing legal education” courses have you attended related to my type of case? Have you taught any?
These questions and topics of discussion are important because attorney-client confidentiality may not allow a personal injury lawyer to provide references. However, you can ask for references from other attorneys.
Ask For A Written Retainer Agreement
Written retainer agreements ensure your rights are protected. In many jurisdictions it is required for a contingent fee agreement to be valid. Most personal injury lawyers use a short fee agreement. Be sure to take your time and read the whole agreement before signing. Ask if there is something you don’t understand and be sure to clarify questions before you sign a retainer agreement. Be sure to understand any costs you are obligated to pay no matter the outcome.
If You Do Not Like The Work Your Personal Injury Lawyer Does
Your personal injury lawyer works for you. Therefore you have the right to end the attorney-client relationship. Be advised, however, your personal injury lawyer is entitled to be compensated for work performed on your case. If the attorney was representing you on a “contingent fee” basis, they will often be entitled to a portion of the proceeds when your case once is resolved.
NOTE: Before you fire your lawyer, talk to a different attorney first. Often the new attorney will suggest you work out your problems with the present lawyer. If you decide to hire the new attorney, the new attorney should work out the details of fees you may owe to your prior lawyer.
Appealing Your Case in Beloit WI
If you decide to appeal your case, you are not obligated to work with your original personal injury lawyer. However, if your retainer agreement requires your personal injury lawyer to take on the appeal, he/she will. Ordinarily, your lawyer will only have to represent you on the matters specified in your retainer agreement. When a final judgment has been entered, your personal injury lawyer usually has no further responsibility.
Disputes With Personal Injury Lawyers
If you do have a dispute with your personal injury lawyer in Beloit WI, dispute resolution services are often offered by the state bar association. These services can be very helpful in fee disputes. Should you feel your lawyer has acted in an unethical manner, every state has a “grievance” procedure where you can file a complaint against your lawyer and have your complaint investigated.
Monahan and Johnson S.C. in Beloit WI have experienced personal injury lawyers ready to assist you in navigating the personal injury recovery process.
Monahan and Johnson S.C. offer free initial consultations to Beloit and Janesville WI area residents. You will meet one-on-one with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Call or email Tom Johnson today at 608-362-8086 for more insight about how to proceed with an personal injury lawyer in Beloit WI.