Things to Consider When Hiring Boat Accident Lawyers
There are a number of things to consider when interviewing and hiring boat accident lawyers: Does the attorney have the necessary skills and experience to handle your case? Do you agree with the lawyer's proposed strategy? Do you feel comfortable with the attorney's advice and judgment? Does the estimated award amount seem realistic, and do the legal fees seem reasonable?
This articles discusses all of these considerations in more detail.
Before hiring an attorney, it's important to schedule a preliminary meeting, often called an initial consultation. The purpose of this meeting is to familiarize the attorney with your case and to determine whether the attorney is the best lawyer to represent you.
Evaluating a Boat Accident Lawyer's Experience & Skills
Attorneys are not required to pass any exams or take any classes before calling themselves "boat accident lawyers" or "personal injury attorneys." They simply need to pass your state's bar exam (administered to all new attorneys) and meet the state licensing requirements. Therefore, it's important to learn how much experience an attorney has in representing boating accident victims.
When meeting with boat accident lawyers, ask questions to help you assess their experience and skills. You probably know very little about boating accident law, but there are other ways to know whether an attorney has sufficient experience:
- How long has the attorney represented clients of boating accidents?
- Does the attorney's work focus solely on boating accident victims, or does the attorney handle other types of cases, too?
- If the attorney does other types of work, what percentage of his or her work is devoted to boating accidents?
- On average, how many boating accident victims does the attorney represent each year?
During your initial consultation, it's important to describe the facts of your accident so the lawyer has a thorough understanding of your case. Then you'll want to ask the lawyer how he or she would propose handling your case. What strategy would the lawyer recommend?
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to strategy. At some level, you'll have to rely on your gut instinct. Does the strategy seem reasonable and logical? Is it in line with how you'd like to see the case resolved?
You should also pay attention to how the attorney describes the proposed strategy. Does the attorney seem to know what he or she is talking about? Was the attorney able to give a meaningful answer?
After the attorney understands the details of your case, it's natural to discuss two aspects of money: How much money is your case worth, and how much would the attorney charge for his or her services, including fees and expenses?
When talking about both award amounts and legal fees, you're looking for answers that are reasonable and realistic. The advantage of meeting with several boat accident lawyers is that you may see patterns develop. If two lawyers tell you that your case is worth $50,000 and one tells you that your case is worth $500,000, you'll want to find out why one lawyer thinks your case is worth so much more than two other lawyers. Similarly, if one lawyer tells you that legal expenses will only be a couple of hundred dollars, but other lawyers supply much higher estimates, that may be a red flag.
Trust, Confidence, and Judgment
One of the most important factors when hiring a lawyer is also much more subjective: How do you feel about the attorney? You may be working with this lawyer for months or years, depending on how long it takes to resolve your case. You want to work with someone you can trust, someone who shows good judgment, someone whose advice you value.
The lawyer who's right for one person isn't necessarily right for another. This is why it's important to spend some time meeting with each lawyer before selecting one to hire. Look at how the attorney answered your questions and made you feel:
- Was the lawyer patient as you asked questions?
- Did he or she take the time to explain unfamiliar concepts?
- Do you feel as if the lawyer answered your questions directly?
- Did you feel comfortable with the lawyer's recommended case strategy?
Selecting a Boating Accident Attorney
After each initial consultation, make some notes about the meeting. How would you assess the lawyer on these criteria:
- Award estimates, fees, and expenses
- Trust, confidence, and judgment
Remember that you'll be working closely with your boat accident lawyer. It's worth investing the time to make sure you've hired the best boat accident attorney for you and your case.