Updated April 2, 2024

What Is the Process of Hiring a Lawyer? 

Video Transcript

Hiring an attorney can be an intimidating process. It’s usually going into uncharted waters and oftentimes going into a field that most people would never expect to be in. Nobody expects to be injured, and nobody expects to be hurt, so when these things happen, it’s life-changing, and like I said, it can be intimidating.

Here at Wilson Kehoe Winingham, the first thing that you would do is you would call the office and speak to a member of our intake staff. The member of the intake staff would get your information, hear a little bit about the case, and then bring that information to an attorney. After going over the information with the attorney, the attorney would call you and then schedule a meeting with you at a place that you’re comfortable with. Now, we’ve done meetings at our office, we’ve done meetings at Starbucks, at the client’s home, at the hospital. The key is to make you feel comfortable in this intimidating process, so we would go over and we would meet with you and talk to you about your case.

Part of hiring an attorney is getting advice, and the attorney would advise you about the strengths and weaknesses of your case—for example, whether there’s a strong case of liability, how your medicals look, how your case is sizing up—and then give you a recommendation on whether the case should be pursued or not. If you feel that the case should be pursued and there’s an agreement there, then you’d sign a contract and that attorney would be your attorney for the duration of the proceedings until there’s a settlement or until a trial.

If you’re considering hiring a lawyer, feeling intimidated and overwhelmed is normal. You’re probably wondering: What is the process of hiring a lawyer? We’re here to explain when you might need a lawyer, how to choose the right lawyer, and what the hiring process looks like.

How Do I Know If I Need a Lawyer?

After an injury, many people hesitate before calling an attorney for several reasons. Some people may think that they are already receiving the best settlement possible. Others worry about the cost of hiring an attorney. And many others feel intimidated by the process.

Hiring an attorney can seem intimidating, especially if you’ve never needed one.

On top of that, you may be suffering from the physical and emotional toll of an injury or grieving the unexpected loss of a loved one. It can be hard to tell if you really need a lawyer, especially with so much going on.

The good news is that if you’ve experienced an injury and another party may be at fault, you can consult a lawyer at no charge. At Wilson Kehoe Winingham, we offer free consultations. We can review your case to determine whether the other party may have acted negligently and if there is enough evidence to pursue damages.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer?

After an injury, you may work on your case with someone from your place of employment or an insurance representative, depending on your injury. Often, these representatives can help you understand your options and benefits. But, even in these situations, you may still wonder whether you need an attorney.

The answer is usually yes. Insurance representatives can help you, but their ultimate responsibility is to their employer, not you. This is an important distinction because their goal is to limit their company’s liability for your accident. And if the company’s negligence caused your accident, you may be entitled to much more than they can offer.

When you have your own attorney, they can help you determine whether their settlement is fair and what other steps you may need to take. They can also advise you on what paperwork to sign, what agreements to make, and what steps to take next.

What Steps Do I Take to Hire a Lawyer?

If this is your first time needing one,  you may wonder how to hire a personal lawyer. Every law firm is different. At Wilson Kehoe Winingham, our process looks like this:

Contact the Office

First, you can call the office or fill out our online form. Our intake staff will collect your contact information and briefly ask about your case. You will only need to go over some things in detail. This conversation will help our staff determine whether we are an appropriate law firm for your case and, if so, which of our attorneys would be most appropriate.

Your Case is Assigned to an Experienced Attorney

Next, the staff member will share your information with our attorneys. An attorney with expertise in the relevant area of law will contact you to schedule a meeting.

Our Attorney Meets With You to Discuss Your Case

Our attorney will meet with you somewhere you feel comfortable. We have met clients at their homes, in the hospital, in our office, and at Starbucks. We understand that the process can be stressful, and we aim to make your experience as comfortable as possible while you make this critical decision.

During this meeting, our attorney will ask you questions about your case to better understand whether the other party may be liable. Then, they will advise you on the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Finally, they will give you their recommendation on whether to pursue the case or not.

Hire Your Lawyer

At this point in the process, you have no obligation to hire our attorney or pay any fees. After the meeting, you may decide that a different lawyer or firm will better suit your case, or you may decide not to pursue a case.

If you and the attorney agree to pursue the case together, you will sign a contract. From that point on, your attorney will help you for the duration of the proceedings until you reach a settlement or go to trial.

What Should I Ask a Lawyer Before I Hire Them?

If the idea of meeting with an attorney for the first time makes you nervous, you’re not alone. But it’s crucial to keep in mind that, even though the attorney will be asking you many questions, you’re the one who makes the final decision to hire them. Therefore, it’s essential that you know what questions to ask so you can make an informed decision.

When you meet with an attorney, some questions to ask are:

  • How much experience do you have handling cases like mine?
  • What do you charge? Do you charge hourly or on a contingency? Are there any additional fees or charges that I should be aware of?
  • How often will I receive updates on my case?
  • Will I work primarily with you, or will other attorneys, paralegals, and other staff play a large role in my case? If other staff members are involved, can I meet them?
  • What do you believe is the next best step for my case? What do you believe the best outcome will be?
  • In your opinion, how long will it take to resolve my case?

In addition to these questions, consider how you feel talking to the attorney. Are they easy to talk to? Do you feel comfortable talking about your case with them? Hiring a lawyer is a big decision, and you may be working with them for a long time—choose carefully.

How Soon After My Injury Should I Hire a Lawyer?

After an injury, you may feel anxious, overwhelmed, and in pain. You may be healing from a life-changing injury or have lost a loved one. On top of all this, you may also face hospital bills, work loss, insurance issues, and more. Finding and interviewing a lawyer can feel like the final straw.

However, after this type of injury, it’s important to consult an attorney as soon as possible if you believe another party is at fault. There are two main reasons for this:

Statute of Limitations

After an injury, victims have a limited amount of time to file a claim. This limited time frame is known as the statute of limitations. Most personal injury victims in Indiana must file a claim within two years. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. An experienced attorney can help you determine whether you are eligible to recover damages.

Receive the Most Appropriate Settlement

After an injury, the at-fault party may offer you a settlement. For example, the at-fault driver’s insurance policy may offer you a certain amount of damages after a car accident.

If you accept this settlement, you typically cannot sue for further damages later.

Similarly, if you sustain an injury at work, your employer may offer workers’ compensation. However, depending on the case facts, your employer (or another party) may bear some fault in the accident. By accepting workers’ compensation, you may not be eligible to file for further damages.

When you contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident, you can review all your options before deciding whether to accept a settlement.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact the Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you need to restore your life. Fill out our online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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