Sustaining a spinal cord injury is expensive and can change your life forever. Because of this, many people seek legal representation to see if financial recovery for their injury is possible. The first year of life as a quadriplegic can cost over one million dollars alone. For people with spinal cord injuries, medical bills can rise quickly. When seeking a lawyer to represent you, it is important that you choose wisely to ensure you receive as much financial recovery as possible.
One of the most useful things you can do while finding a lawyer is schedule a consultation with an attorney you are interested in. A consultation can show you everything you need to know about a lawyer so you hire the right one for your case. Here are some important questions to ask a lawyer during a consultation, along with some tips as to what to listen for in their answers.
1. Have You Had a Similar Spinal Cord Injury Case Before?
How you were injured and the severity of your injury will impact the lawyer you hire. You need to make sure your lawyer has experience with a case similar to yours. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you will want to hire a personal injury lawyer who has experience helping people who have been injured in car accidents. If you were injured in a slip and fall on public property, you will want to find a lawyer with experience with that kind of injury.
In addition, the severity of your injury matters. You will want to make sure your lawyer has represented someone with the severity of your injury before to ensure that they fully understand the details of your injury. For example, if you have a C-4 injury, you should look for a lawyer with experience representing quadriplegics rather than a lawyer with experience representing only paraplegics. You will also want to see if a lawyer has connections with the local spinal cord injury community. Their answer can tell you a lot about a lawyer’s experience with SCI.
2. What Trial Experience Do You Have?
When hiring a spinal cord injury lawyer to represent you, your case will either be settled out of court or it will go to trial. If it goes to trial, you will want to make sure your lawyer has significant trial experience in successfully litigating a case similar to yours. If your lawyer has ample trial experience, you can be assured that you will get the amount of financial compensation you deserve from the defendant..
3. Do You Have Past Client Reviews/Testimonials I Can Read?
Another great place to look for testimonials and reviews of a lawyer is online. In addition to searching online, ask the lawyer during your consultation if they have any testimonials from past clients they would be willing to share. If you are unsure where to look online for reviews, look at Google, AVVO, and Super Lawyers. Don’t forget to look at the lawyer’s social media accounts, as well.
4. What is a recent settlement or verdict you have had?
Always ask about a lawyer’s recent professional activities. Are they on the top of their game? If they have recently won several cases, then the answer may be yes. You also want to make sure your lawyer has several settlements and verdicts on their record. This shows they have the experience you need to ensure that you receive compensation. Don’t forget to look at settlement amounts the lawyer has won for their past clients.
5. How Are You Helping the SCI Community?
In addition to having plenty of experience, you’ll want a lawyer who is actively involved in the spinal cord injury community. Involvement often includes partaking in outreach to the community by volunteering at events, donating money, or holding their own events. You can find out a lot about a lawyer’s community involvement from their blog, if they have one, and the press.
There are several other questions you can ask during your consultation, but make sure you ask the questions above. Above all, it is important that the lawyer you hire has vast experience with spinal cord injury cases. Listen to your gut, and keep in mind that your instinct can tell you a lot about a perspective lawyer.