First, ask the attorney you are considering hiring these critical questions about their experience and expertise:
- How long have you been practicing law?
- Have you handled cases similar to my case?
- Have you ever tried a case and recovered over a million dollars? (this shows the ability to obtain adequate compensation in a big case through a jury trial)
- Have you ever settled a case and recovered over a million dollars? (this shows the ability to obtain adequate compensation in a big case through settlement)
- Have you tried over 50 cases to verdict? (this shows significant trial experience and the courage to take a case to trial to obtain the maximum possible compensation)
- Have you handled over 1000 personal injury cases in your career?
- Will you personally oversee my case?
- Do you have professional liability insurance?
- What type of fee do you charge?
- Do I have to pay the expenses of my case before it settles or is tried?
- Do you regularly communicate with clients?
- Have you ever been nationally recognized as an outstanding personal injury trial lawyer?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can begin to determine if the lawyer has the experience and qualifications to help you with your case. Different types of cases require different levels of experience. For example, if it is obvious that the other person caused your car wreck (for example, if the investigating officer reported it was their fault), and your injuries are minor, then you may be able to slide by with a less experienced lawyer. I am not recommending you make this choice, only that it is less risky to do so where the stakes for you are not very high.
If your car wreck is more complicated, or your injuries or more sever, then you need to hire a lawyer that is experienced in handling serious injury cases and that is not afraid to take your case all the way to trial to maximize the amount of money you recover for your injuries.
Where liability is not clear, or the injuries are serious, your St. Louis car accident lawyer may need to hire an expert in “accident reconstruction.” These experts literally “reconstruct” car crashes. This is necessary in more complicated crashes in order to determine who is truly at fault for causing the crash. In some of the more complicated liability car accident cases, the attorney will have to hire a “biomechanics” expert. These experts analyze the crash and may conclude when and how certain injuries occurred in the crash, which is often relevant to the liability case.
In cases involving very serious injuries, such as fatal injuries, paralysis, brain injuries or burn injuries, the lawyer must evaluate whether there is a “defective product” case. Often, a defect in one of the vehicles involved in the crash caused the crash, and you need a lawyer qualified to evaluate that aspect of the crash