Your selection of a wrongful death attorney greatly influences the odds of your receiving the full compensation you deserve in a wrongful death lawsuit. The key to finding the right attorney is asking the right questions and making sure you feel comfortable with the answers you receive.

Here is a list of questions that may help you distinguish an adequate attorney from an exceptional one:

What experience do you have negotiating settlements in wrongful death cases?

A skilled negotiator can often get you the full compensation you deserve without the time and expense of a trial. During your time of grief, the last thing you need is to have to endure the stress of an unnecessary trial.

Are you prepared to take my wrongful death case to trial? What trial experience do you have?

Although you may want to avoid a trial, trials are sometimes necessary when liability is disputed or a fair settlement offer cannot be obtained. You want to make sure that you are working with a lawyer who knows how to prepare your case to trial. If your lawyer isn’t prepared to go to trial, the other party and their insurance company probably knows it, which can hurt your chances of getting a fair settlement offer.

What results have you gotten for other clients?

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. You need to know, however, that your lawyer has been successful in handling wrongful death lawsuits in the past. You may want to ask the lawyer if you can speak to some of his past clients.

What is your reputation among local lawyers and courts?

In the words of Sun Tzu, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” A lawyer with a good reputation already has the war halfway won, while lawyers with poor reputations are often fighting an uphill battle.

How many cases are you handling right now? Who will be handling my case?

A lawyer whose efforts are divided is less able to focus on your case and may miss important details or opportunities. The larger the law firm, the less likely it is usually that the named attorney will be handling your case exclusively. This is not necessarily a bad thing—there are many lesser-known lawyers who get great results—but this is still something you need to take it into account when choosing a lawyer.

What are your fees? Do you have a retainer or is this entirely on a contingency basis? Including case expenses, how much do you think the lawsuit will cost altogether?

You may be tempted to ask about fees and costs immediately, but this should be the last question you ask the lawyer. You need to be able to put the answer to the fees and costs question into the context of the lawyer’s other answers. You want to know the value of a lawyer, not just his cost.

The initial consultation is the perfect opportunity to ask these and other questions about your wrongful death case. Robert W. Kerpsack looks forward to addressing your concerns during a free consult. Please call (614) 766-2000 or complete our online contact form to arrange the initial meeting.