selecting a lawyer

The leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 33 is “unintentional injury” as stated by the CDC. Many of these injuries are the result of negligence on behalf of a trusted professional or corporation. 

If you’ve lost a loved one due to wrongful death, finding an attorney may be one of the last things on your mind. However, you and your loved one are entitled to justice and so finding representation is essential in getting compensated for your loss.

Selecting a lawyer to represent your case takes careful consideration. Let’s take a look at 7 factors to consider when choosing a lawyer for your wrongful death case.

1. The Right Experience

Selecting a lawyer to handle your wrongful death case begins with looking for someone with relevant experience. Take into consideration, for example, the differences between a medical malpractice case versus a drunk driving wrongful death. These two cases are different from each other in many ways and require special awareness. Wrongful deaths occur in many different forms. 

You want to seek out someone who has taken on cases that are very similar to yours. Start with finding several wrongful death attorneys in your area and then narrow down the search to only those who specialize in cases that mirror your own. 

You also want to ask each attorney how long they’ve worked as a licensed attorney and how long they’ve specialized in wrongful death cases.

Having a licensed, experienced attorney in your corner who is up-to-date on the latest procedures and laws regarding wrongful death suits will provide you with peace of mind. 

2. Check Their Standing

It’s always a good idea to check a wrongful death attorney’s bar association standing when selecting a lawyer. You can do this by visiting the local bar association’s website for your area.

Check to make sure that the attorney you’re considering shows up as a member. You can also check to see if the attorney has any leadership roles listed which will give you a better idea about them. 

If you’re unable to locate the lawyer in question, you may want to consider looking elsewhere for an attorney. 

3. When Selecting a Lawyer, Look for a Solid Reputation

Take the time to look into the reputation of an attorney you’re considering. You can do this by looking up user reviews to see how other clients have rated their experience. Expect to find a couple of negative reviews, but a good attorney should have mostly positive reviews. 

Seek out law firms such as those at athenslawyers.com that are well-established within the community and don’t hesitate to ask the attorney for any references from past clients with cases similar to yours.

Don’t hesitate to contact these references to ask questions about their experiences, both good and bad. As is the case with online reviews, reference feedback won’t be all good. But their feedback can help you make a more informed decision. 

4. Consider Their Track Record

When you’re selecting a lawyer, look at their track record to get an idea of how many wrongful death suits they’ve won in recent years. It’s also worth noting how many cases they’ve settled out of court.

You want to look for someone who has a good chance of winning your case and their overall track record will give you a better idea of their experience. However, even with a lot of experience, if they’re mostly losing their cases, it’s best to look elsewhere. 

Be wary of attorneys who have settled an overwhelming amount of cases outside of court. In many instances, more frequent settlements can be an indicator that the attorney just wants to close cases quickly.

5. The Cost

This one is a given, but you should take the attorney’s fees into consideration before hiring them. Ask them how much the wrongful death suit will end up costing you when all is said and done.

Ask the attorney if they are willing to work on a contingency fee basis which means that he or she will receive only a percentage of what you receive through settlement. 

6. Compassion and Understanding

Following a wrongful death, you’re likely going to be feeling emotional and vulnerable. And though the experience and expertise of an attorney matter more, having someone in your corner who is also compassionate helps a lot.

Consider how empathetic the attorney seems during your first meeting. You probably don’t want to work with someone who seems detached and indifferent to your tragedy. You’ll be working with your attorney a lot over the coming weeks so this should be someone you feel comfortable interacting with.  

7. Trial and Courtroom Experience

Though many wrongful death cases are settled outside of court, there’s always the chance that your case makes it to trial. When selecting a lawyer, you want to make sure that the law firm you’re considering has courtroom experience. This way, you won’t need to worry if your case ends up going to trial. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your attorney is prepared to handle it. 

You can ask the attorney in question upfront about their courtroom experience and how often they’ve had to take a case to trial. 

Discover Other Useful Tips

Hopefully, this article has served as helpful guidance for selecting a lawyer to take on your wrongful death case. For more legal tips and advice, or for insight on finances and online marketing, we encourage you to check out some of our other useful articles.

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