Finding an attorney can be stressful, especially when it involves pursuing justice for your child or their mother. Birth injury attorneys specialize in injuries sustained by either the child or the mother before, during, or soon after birth.
When looking for a birth injury attorney, it is essential to make sure they meet certain specifications to have the best chance possible at winning your case. The following are the top five questions to ask your birth injury attorney.
1. What Qualifies You to Take My Case?
This open-ended question will give the attorney a chance to explain their qualifications, which should include education, credentials, and experience.
What is their education level, and where did they go to school?
The attorney should have attended a school that is accredited or approved by the American Bar Association. This is one of the most important things to look for in education. If the American Bar Association accredits it, you can trust that it has a quality law department.
If the school they attended is not accredited or approved by the American Bar Association, don’t discount it immediately. Look into the school some more and see what kind of law department they offer, making your own judgments.
What are their credentials?
First and foremost, the attorney should be licensed to practice law in the state in which the trial would take place. They should be listed with the American Bar Association, and they should not have any current or past disciplinary actions against them. Also see if they have won any awards or accolades, written journal articles, or done studies in the field of birth injuries.
2. What Specific Experience Do You Have with Birth Injury Cases?
Experience is just as necessary as education and credentials. The last thing you want to be is your attorney’s first case in birth injury law. Birth injury law is very specific and requires attorneys familiar with the laws and proper protocol for those types of cases.
Robert Goldwater, founding attorney of Birth Injury Lawyers Group, suggest that you consider asking the attorney what percentage of their cases deal with birth injuries. Additionally, consider asking the attorney how long they have been practicing overall and specifically in the birth injury field.
2. How Much Time Will You Personally Dedicate to My Case?
This question is crucial because it is common for attorneys to take a case, then pass it off to another attorney in their practice. Additionally, many lawyers utilize paralegals or administrative assistants to perform the legwork on their cases. Although this is not inherently a bad thing, if there is no direct supervision on the work being done for the case, there could be errors or oversights.
Who will you be corresponding or communicating with throughout the process? Will it be with your attorney, or with someone acting on their behalf? Will the attorney be at your trial, or will they send another staff member?
Asking your attorney upfront how much time they will dedicate to the case is a fair question that most attorneys will respect. Although they may not be able to give a specific answer, they should be able to communicate how their practice handles cases from start to finish. This will help you better decide if they are a good fit.
Additionally, consider inquiring how many cases at a time your attorney takes on. This could give you an idea of how busy they are. The more cases they take on, the less time and attention they will have to dedicate to your case.
4. What Is Your Recommendation as to How I Should Proceed with My Case?
Once the attorney has a good understanding of your case, they should be able to make a recommendation on how to proceed. They will be able to tell you your chances of winning a judgment should you take your case to court, or they may be able to give you alternate solutions for attempting to obtain damages.
Their answer to this question could determine whether you will work with this attorney in the future, or continue the search to find a different attorney.
5. What Is Your Track Record?
Although an attorney’s track record isn’t everything, it indeed says something about their capabilities. An attorney who loses more cases than they win is likely not the best choice. However, if they are known for taking on the most difficult cases, their track record may not tell the whole story. Knowing the kinds of cases they take as well as their track record will give you a more reliable idea of how successful they are.
What is their percentage of cases settled versus those tried in court?
Part of the motivating factor for a defendant to settle is the fear of owing more in a judgment by the court. If your attorney is known for always settling and never going to court, the defendant will not be threatened and will likely offer a minimal settlement amount.
Beware of attorneys who either settle a case or refer the client to another attorney to be tried in court. You will likely want a lawyer who is willing and capable to do what is necessary in order to get the most amount in damages as possible.