Accidents are the #3 cause of death in the United States.
It’s no wonder then that personal injury attorneys are in such high demand.
Yet lawyer consults can be intimidating and you may not know what questions to ask. That’s why we’re outlining our top 10 questions to ask your prospective legal representative.
If you’re searching for a lawyer to help with your automobile accident or work-related injury case, here are the questions to ask a personal injury lawyer before you hire.
10 Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer
Most lawyers offer a free consultation before you sign the agreement of representation. This is the time for you as their client to get on the same page as your prospective attorney.
A good lawyer will always give you clear cut answers. He or she won’t pressure you to make your decision quickly and will re-explain something if you’re confused.
Make sure to prepare your questions ahead of time. If you aren’t sure what questions to even ask, here’s a handy guide to the top 10 questions you should be thinking about.
Question 1: How Much do Your Services Cost?
When you go in for your free consult, the first question you should ask is about the lawyer’s fees.
Most lawyers charge their fees on a contingent basis. This means that you don’t have to pay the lawyer unless you get money from the suit. Typically, a personal injury lawyer will take 25% to 40% of the final amount you’re awarded.
You should also ask about other fees. For instance, some lawyers will collect their percentage on the amount you get from the damage to your vehicle. Others may take fees from the money you get back from personal injury protection.
Question 2: Are You Experienced?
Once you’ve determined the price of your lawyer’s services, you should question their expertise with cases like yours.
Your personal injury lawyer should have experience with cases similar to yours. Their experience with other cases, even high-profile ones, is irrelevant if they were criminal cases and yours is an automobile accident case.
A lawyer should also have proof of success. Check out their website before you head in for your consult because most lawyers will publish success stories online.
But don’t stop there– ask your lawyer for references to successful cases he or she has tried. Every lawyer should have at least one success story. If they seem reluctant to share a reference, you may want to consider another lawyer.
Question 3: Do You Have Time for My Case?
Always ask a lawyer if they have time to devote the attention that your case deserves.
Many personal injury lawyers will take on more work than they can feasibly handle. That’s why you should ask when the case will be filed and how much time the lawyer has to devote to your case.
Question 4: Who is Taking My Case?
Part of the previous question is understanding who will actually take over your case.
Some larger firms will send a senior partner to meet with new clients and impress them. Only for associate lawyers to take care of the majority of the case. If an associate is handling the case, make sure to ask who’s supervising them and how to get in touch with that person.
Question 5: How will You Communicate with Me?
You should also ask about your personal injury lawyers preferred method of communication. If that style doesn’t mesh with yours, you may not want to deal with the headache.
A larger firm may vet you through legal assistants or secretaries. Smaller or more niche firms may offer direct access to your personal injury lawyer via email or text.
Be upfront about the method you want to communicate. This includes how often and how much communication you receive.
Question 6: What are Your Expectations for My Case?
A good personal injury lawyer should be able to give you an estimation of how your case will turn out. To get an idea of their expectations, you can ask:
- How much can I win?
- How much do I stand to lose?
- Do you expect my case to go to trial or settle?
Make sure you know where your attorney is in the process and what the next step is. It may be helpful to ask for an outline of the steps your attorney will take to give you an overview of the process.
Question 7: How Long will it Take?
Part of understanding your attorney’s expectations is knowing how long the process will take.
There are multiple factors that go into a personal injury case. Yet most attorneys should have at least a rough estimate of how long the case will take.
This is important to form your own expectations.
Question 8: What is My Case Worth?
Another way to form your own expectations is to ask how much your case is worth.
Again, much goes into determining how much you can get from a case. But your attorney should at least have a range in mind. Ask them to explain how things like medical problems, liability, and discovery factor into the final result.
If an attorney’s claim seems too good to be true, it probably is. Do your own research to validate what your lawyer is promising.
Question 9: Do You Have Trial Experience?
One of the most important questions you should ask is if your personal injury lawyer has trial experience.
Many lawyers may assure you that it’s going to settle. But good lawyers will prepare the evidence in your case as if it’s going to go before a jury.
The more evidence your lawyer has, the better the settlement results will be. And if the case does end up escalating to trial, your lawyer will already be prepared.
Question 10: How Much Will I Pay if I Lose? Win?
Finally, you should ask how much you’re going to pay in fees if you win and how much you’ll pay if you lose.
Court fees and other costs can start to add up. Make sure you understand how much you’ll pay before you get a surprise from your settlement check.
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Make sure you get your questions answered by the person who is directly handling your case. Ask for clarification if you’re confused and write down the answers to reference later.
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