10 Important Questions for Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Attorneys
Before you choose a personal injury attorney, get the facts. Find out everything you can about the attorney’s qualifications, previous experience, and business practices. For your convenience, BLACKBURN & GREEN has prepared the following list of 10 questions you should ask before hiring a personal injury attorney. Don’t assume all lawyers are the same. Get the facts, ask questions, and make an informed decision.
1. Do you limit your practice to personal injury and wrongful death?
Just as there are different kinds of doctors, there are different kinds of lawyers. Some are general practitioners (who have a strong general knowledge in many areas of the law), while others limit their practice to just one field – such as personal injury and wrongful death, divorce, tax law, bankruptcy, criminal, and so on.
At BLACKBURN & GREEN, we limit our practice to just personal injury and wrongful death law. By concentrating our efforts on just one area, we’re able to devote more time and energy to each client.
2. Did every partner graduate with honors?
In order to graduate with honors from law school, it takes desire, discipline and dedication. When you find an attorney who graduated from law school with honors, you can be assured that he or she has worked hard to obtain the knowledge and proven discipline to professionally handle your case.
Tom Blackburn and R.T. Green both graduated with honors from Indiana University, Robert H. McKinney School of Law, one of the most prestigious law schools in the Midwest.
3. How many years of experience do you have?
OVER 70 COMBINED.
When it comes to personal injury and wrongful death law, there’s no substitute for experience. Together, Tom Blackburn and R.T. Green have over 60 years of legal experience and have represented victims throughout the Midwest, California, Colorado, Florida, New York, North Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Before founding their own personal injury law firm, each gained valuable experience by serving in various legal capacities. Those positions include deputy prosecuting attorney, circuit court judge, insurance company defense lawyer, and general practitioner.
4. Do you have jury trial experience?
An attorney with a solid reputation in court has more clout with insurance companies. That’s because insurance companies know which lawyers are willing to go to trial and which ones aren’t, and they use that information in deciding how to handle your case. A lawyer who has trial experience is more likely to be offered a fair settlement sooner by the insurer. A lawyer who has never been to court, on the other hand, may get a lower offer.
Over the years, Tom Blackburn and R.T. Green have tried many jury cases – both large and small – for their clients. In compliance with the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct, they are happy to provide you with the number and size of jury verdict awards. Call toll-free 1-800-444-1112 and request a free appointment to discuss our jury trial experience and verdicts.
5. Do you charge a flat fee or an increasing fee?
There is a difference. Lawyers who charge a flat fee earn a percentage of your total recovery amount- usually 33-1/3%. This percentage stays the same regardless of whether the case is decided by settlement, mediation, trial, or appeal. Lawyers who charge an increasing fee, however, can raise their percentage to as much as 45% if the case goes to trial, and as much as 50% if it’s won by appeal.
At BLACKBURN & GREEN, we always charge a flat fee of 33-1/3%, even if your case goes to trial or appeal. We’ll stand by you as long as it takes to get a fair settlement or verdict, and remember, you don’t pay any attorney fee unless we make a recovery for you.
6. Do you make house calls and hospital visits?
Since day one, personal services has been the foundation of BLACKBURN & GREEN. We don’t just say we care about you; we show it by making personal visits to your hospital or home – free of charge. When you’ve been injured or lost a loved one in an accident, it may be difficult or even impossible for you to drive to a lawyer’s office. Caring attorneys understand this, and they’re willing to make house calls and hospital visits for your convenience. If a lawyer will not come to you, it’s a pretty good indication of the kind of service you’ll receive from that firm.
7. Do you use professional investigators and accident reconstruction experts?
To secure evidence for your case, a lawyer will need to conduct an investigation. This might involve photographing or videotaping the accident scene, talking to eyewitnesses, or even reconstructing the accident. At BLACKBURN & GREEN, we’ve built up a strong network of professional investigators, accident reconstructionists, and other industry experts to help us in preparing your case. We even use computer simulations of accidents to help support a case when necessary.
8. Does your firm have a legal malpractice insurance coverage?
At BLACKBURN & GREEN, we strive for an outstanding reputation. We carry full legal malpractice insurance coverage to protect your rights.
You have the right to know whether the lawyer you’re considering (or any lawyer at that firm) has ever committed legal malpractice. Lawyers are human beings, after all, who can make mistakes. But as legal professionals, they also have a responsibility to protect your rights and financial interests. For that reason, all attorneys should carry legal malpractice insurance. Make sure the lawyer and law firm you choose is protected against legal malpractice. Not all of them are.
9. Do you advance pre-litigation expenses for all clients?
In the course of preparing your case, a lawyer will incur certain expenses that are separate from attorney fees. These include the cost of hiring professional investigators, obtaining medical records and reports, preparing diagrams, and so forth. A financially sound law firm will always pay these expenses in advance for you, helping you to avoid pre- litigation out-of-pocket charges before your case is decided.
With BLACKBURN & GREEN, you’ll never be expected to pay pre-litigation expenses upfront. We advance all pre-litigation out-of-pocket expenses for you.
10. What are your professional affiliations and recognitions?
Lawyers can belong to a variety of local, state, and national associations to help them stay abreast of changes in the law. Is the lawyer you’re considering a member of these prestigious organizations?
- American Association for Justice?
- Indiana Trial Lawyers Association Board of Directors?
- American Bar Association?
- Million Dollar Advocates Forum?
- Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum?
- Top 100 Trial Lawyers by National Trial Lawyers Association?
- Indiana Top Lawyer, Personal Injury & Wrongful Death
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