Don’t make a $10,000 mistake! Don’t hire a lawyer to represent you in your accident claim until you know your rights.
1. Attorney’s Fees. You don’t have to agree to a set percentage. Most lawyers charge 33% to 40% of the amount recovered. At Swope Law, we frequently represent clients for lower percentages than those charged by other lawyers. Call us at (727) 725-0200 to discuss your case and learn how much you can save in attorney’s fees by hiring us.
2. Right to Change Lawyers. If you are dissatisfied with the legal representation you are receiving, you have the right to terminate your lawyer and hire a new one. If the termination is for “good cause,” you may not even owe the lawyer a fee. Many clients who hire us to handle their accident claims were previously represented by lawyers who failed to return phone calls or otherwise ignored their clients. If our clients owe a fee to a prior lawyer, we pay the former lawyer from our share of the recovery, not yours.
3. Know Your Lawyer. You have the right to know your lawyer’s education, training, and experience. Don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer if he or she will go to court to protect your rights if necessary. The lawyers at Swope Law, P.L. have successfully handled more than 1,000 auto accident claims over the past 15 years. Scott Swope was a Sheriff’s Office traffic homicide investigator and uses his training and experience handling fatal car crashes when handling his clients’ claims.
4. Referrals. Your lawyer must tell you whether he or she plans to refer your case to another lawyer to handle. Be careful! Some of the “big box” lawyers who advertise heavily never take their cases to court; they refer them to other lawyers if they can’t get them settled. The insurance companies know which lawyers go to court and you should too. At Swope Law, P.L., we handle all of our cases in-house from start to finish so you will not have to worry about your claim being transferred to another lawyer who knows nothing about you.
5. Costs and Expenses. Ask your lawyer how costs and expenses are handled. Do they charge for making copies and sending faxes? If they don’t recover money for you, will they ask you to reimburse them for their costs? At Swope Law, P.L., we never charge for making copies or sending faxes, and we never ask our clients to pay us anything out of their own pocket. If we are successful in recovering money for our clients (and most times we are), then we get reimbursed for our out-of-pocket expenses out of the insurance proceeds recovered.
6. Settlements. You have the right to make your own settlement decisions. Don’t let your lawyer pressure you into settling your claim for less money than is appropriate under the circumstances. You also have the right to know where every penny of your settlement money is going. At Swope Law, P.L., we present each of our clients with a closing statement that shows where every penny is going and how much our client is going to receive.
7. Information. You have the right to know what is going on with your claim. Some lawyers fail to return their clients phone calls or fail to keep their clients informed about the status of their claim. Some lawyers make their clients talk to a paralegal, rather than talking to the clients themselves. At Swope Law, P.L., our clients have 24 hour access to their file, which is maintained electronically in a password protected environment on our website. Our clients also receive the personal cell phone numbers and email addresses of our lawyers so they can call their lawyer 24 hours a day.
8. The Florida Bar. All lawyers in Florida are governed by The Florida Bar. If you believe that your lawyer is acting inappropriately, you may file a complaint with The Florida Bar by calling (800) 342-8060.