Three Things You Must Do Before Hiring a Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer
You are heading home from work driving on North Market Street when another driver rear-ends
your vehicle. The property damage to your vehicle is extensive and you suffered physical injuries in the collision including a sprained neck, pinched nerve, and a bulging disc in your lower back. You decide you need the services of a Jacksonville personal injury lawyer. You may ask yourself, “How do I find the best Jacksonville personal injury lawyer to handle my case?”
Great question. Below are three important things you must do to hire a top-notch litigator for your case.
Do Your Homework on the Lawyer – Visit Independent Rating Agencies
If you do an internet search for a personal injury attorney in Jacksonville, Florida, you will likely find a myriad of attorney web sites touting their credentials and why you should hire them. However, a better way to gauge the quality of the lawyer you are looking to hire is visiting independent, third party web sites where the lawyer has been rated by fellow lawyers in the community and prior clients. Good sites to visit include Avvo.com, Lawyers.com, HG.org and Yelp.
Actual Trial Experience is Key
Many lawyers talk a good game about their legal experience, but actual trial experience is critical when selecting a Jacksonville car accident lawyer. If your lawyer has only settled a bunch of cases, but has never actually taken a personal injury case to trial, be leery of hiring them. Lawyers lacking litigation experience routinely look to settle quickly in the hopes of getting a quick fee (more on that issue below). You want a lawyer who is comfortable in the courtroom and is willing to take your case to trial.
Review the Fee Agreement
If a personal injury lawyer attempts to charge you by the hour for their services, look elsewhere. The vast majority of qualified, experienced Jacksonville personal injury attorneys represent clients on a “contingency fee” basis. This type of fee agreement means that your personal injury lawyer is paid contingent upon money being awarded to you. This also means that if your lawyer does not get any money in the case, then you do not owe the lawyer any money. If you agree to accept a settlement or a jury awards money through a verdict, your lawyer receives a percentage of the overall amount recovery. Typically, most personal injury lawyers will receive 33 1/3 percent of the total recovery. So, for example, if your car accident injury case goes to trial and you receive a $100,000 jury verdict, your lawyer will likely get a fee of around $33,300.
The amount a lawyer charges for a contingency fee is not uniform or standardized. Typically, contingency fees will vary depending on the complexity of a case. For example, a lawyer may charge a higher contingency fee to represent you in a medical malpractice or product liability case since those types of personal injury claims are more complex and take more time to litigate compared to a rear-end automobile accident.
Many lawyers also have “escalating” contingency fee agreements. This means that if your case is resolved via settlement, the fee is less than if the case goes to trial. This is because jury trials are unpredictable, time-consuming, and expensive, meaning the risk is much higher. Therefore, a higher fee is appropriate. In many cases, a personal injury lawyer will charge a 33 1/3 contingency fee is the case settlements, but if the case goes to trial, the fee increases to 40 percent. If an appeal is involved, it may increase further.
Contact an Experienced Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Gillette Law, P.A. is here to help if you are in need of an experienced, aggressive Jacksonville injury lawyer. The firm serves clients in Jacksonville, Florida and in Georgia. We offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis.