Have you recently been injured? Possibly, many thoughts going through your head, all of which are difficult to manage. You’re having to deal with home life, work, recovery, medical expenses and the insurance company.
You also need to consider the legal side of things, especially if the accident wasn’t your fault.
If you strongly believe you have a case against the person who caused your injury, consider hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. They’re your best bet to represent your interests during settlement negotiations with the insurance company. Remember, it’s never a good idea to file a personal injury lawsuit without first consulting the right lawyer.
But how do you know they are the right lawyer?
Here are some of the questions you should ask.
Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer, Ask These Questions
Each case is unique, which is why you need an experienced lawyer who’ll put in the time and effort to maximize your compensation. Keep reading to learn the most important questions to ask your lawyer before hiring them.
“What is your area of expertise?”
What kind of law does the lawyer practice? Just as doctors practice different fields of medicine, lawyers specialize in different types of law. For instance, if you have an immigration-related case, you’ll need to look for an immigration lawyer. Note: even among personal injury lawyers, there are different types of cases that your lawyer will be expert in. So, it’s vital to ensure yours has the experience to handle your type of case, be it a bicycle, pedestrian or car accident.
“Do you offer confidential and free case reviews?”
A reputable personal injury lawyer should give you the chance to discuss your case free of charge before signing you as a client. This consultation should be confidential and give you the chance to ask preliminary questions to determine whether it’s a good idea to file a personal injury lawsuit. Make it a point to speak to the lawyer directly, not a paralegal or case manager. Doing so can give you some basic information on the non-legal side of things. Speaking to the lawyer directly, though, allows you to determine whether you want to hire the firm.
“What’s your assessment of my case?”
As the victim, it’s easy to assume that, yes, you deserve financial compensation for your suffering. But every case is different and there’s a possibility that the particulars of yours might make it impossible for it to go to court.
When you hire an experienced personal injury lawyer, they’ll be able to assess your case properly. They can tell you what your chances are, whether the case should be pursued and how much it’s worth financially.
“How often should I expect you to communicate with me regarding my case? And will you be answering all my questions moving forward?”
A big red flag to watch out for is a senior lawyer sending an ‘investigator’ or paralegal to your initial consultation. As the main party, you should be able to speak to your lawyer directly and they should give your case the attention it deserves. This doesn’t mean you won’t be talking to their staff at all. Remember, it takes a team to manage a case effectively. That said, make sure you have access to the personal injury lawyer handling your case.
“How long do you think my case will take to be resolved?”
A personal injury lawsuit often takes years to conclude. If your lawyer isn’t honest from the start about the length of time your case may take, it can mean one of two things. Either they don’t have the experience to understand your case or they’re not giving it the attention it requires. A good personal injury lawyer will be with you every step of the way and put in the effort to achieve the desired outcome, no matter how long it takes.
“What are your fees? And does your firm charge a contingency fee?”
Many personal injury lawyers offer their clients a contingency fee. This means you don’t pay anything unless you recover monetary damages. They will however take a percentage of your compensation should you win the case.
While a personal injury lawyer may offer a definite figure of the percentage they will charge, they might not be qualified to handle your case. This makes it even more vital to understand your lawyer’s qualifications before hiring them.
Be sure to read all contract documents thoroughly before you sign them.
“What’s your firm’s success rate with personal injury cases?”
This question may seem rude but it will benefit you to ask. While their win-loss record along may not indicate how good or bad they are, you’ll gain greater insights into how they work and how they view your case. A good lawyer is focused on representing their clients, regardless of what the chances of winning look like.
If you’ve sustained a serious injury following an accident that warrants hiring a personal injury lawyer, it’s important to get the right person for the job. Asking these questions will increase your odds of finding a qualified lawyer who’s a good fit for your case. By finding someone you trust, you can rest assured knowing you’ll receive a positive outcome. Hopefully, this post will better allow you to weigh your options and understand which firm will best represent you.