Personal injuries are a serious matter that can throw people off course. Whether from a car accident or a dog bite, you can’t prepare for them. If you have been injured in an accident, you might have incurred medical costs, lost wages, or been forced to deal with stubborn insurance companies. For these reasons, you should put forth the effort to find a respectable and knowledgeable attorney who will fight for what you deserve. A good attorney will ensure a smoother experience in your case evaluation and a more significant settlement award.
You will need to ask a few very important questions when researching legal representation. Read on to learn what questions you should ask before hiring your personal injury attorney.
1. Can You Handle My Case?
A good attorney knows his or her strengths and weaknesses, as well as their limits. The right attorney will believe in what they represent. This means turning down a potential case when they know the case won’t get the attention it deserves.
Larger, more established firms with a network of attorneys, paralegals, records specialists and other experienced staff are ideal. This is because smaller or single attorney firms are more likely to have availability issues to the client.
Whatever the case, be certain that your attorney has the adequate time and energy to get familiarized with your case and that they are equipped to fight for what you deserve.
2. Have You Handled a Case Like Mine Before?
In legal dealings, expertise and experience are pertinent factors. You don’t want to make the mistake of hiring an under qualified attorney to deal with something as important as your personal injury case.
It’s important to find an attorney that has years of experience working on cases similar in nature to your own.
You also want to inquire about your attorney’s success rate. Winning cases may not be the only indicator of a strong attorney, but a winning record can point to other necessary traits to look for. You want an attorney who is tough, dedicated, understands the law, and knows how to work efficiently to represent your case.
3. What Is Your Evaluation of My Case?
It’s understandable that if you are the victim of a case, you may assume that you have a winning case and deserve financial compensation. But the reality is that accident cases are each unique, as are all personal injury cases. The law or the facts of your particular case may make a court case implausible, unlikely, or very difficult to prosecute.
It’s essential to have an expert attorney make an objective, unbiased professional assessment of your case. Your attorney should be able to tell you what your options are, approximately how much your case can be awarded financially, and if your case should even be pursued. This may arguably be one of the most important questions to ask an attorney to help you avoid any further exasperation.
4. What Areas of Law Do You Specialize In?
You’ll want to choose an attorney who specializes in personal injury law. If you are going to court, you need someone who is very well versed in the law. Your attorney should also be familiar with insurance company defense tactics, how to negotiate in ways that cater to your specific needs, and how to navigate other complex litigation strategies.
5. What Is Your Fee?
Most, but not all, personal injury attorneys work based on a contingency fee agreement. This means that you will only be responsible for legal fees if they are able to win you compensation for your injury(s). Contingency fees by high-grade attorneys vary and are generally a specific percentage amount of the settlement. It is in your best interest to thoroughly read your retainer documents before hiring your attorney. Generally speaking, you will get the quality of legal representation that you pay for.
6. How Much Am I Expected to Participate?
Be sure that you know what your attorney expects of you before committing. Every attorney will handle cases differently. While some attorneys may welcome or even ask for a high level of involvement from clients, others prefer to do most of the work by themselves.
Your attorney’s goal is to represent you in a way that you cannot do alone, so they will need to understand the specifics of your case very well. While facts are relevant and important to the case, your attorney should be able to and want to represent you, not just review your records.
7. Will I Be Expected to Pay Fees if We Lose the Case?
Personal injury firms usually advance the costs of legal processes. Out of pocket costs that attorneys facilitate include:
- Filing fees
- Medical records retrieval fees
- Expert witness costs
Many attorneys will not hold you accountable for these costs if the case is lost, but others will require you to cover them regardless of the outcome. Be sure to ask exactly what costs you are expected to cover when hiring an attorney and that you fully understand the agreed-upon terms before committing.
8. Will My Case Go to Trial?
Your attorney should be prepared for all of their cases to go to trial. It may make sense to settle in court in some cases, but a good attorney will have the skills to take your case to trial and win.
A proficient attorney should also be able to give you a general time frame for how long you will have to wait for your case to be tried in court. This shows that they are familiar with the local courthouses and the inner workings of the legal system.
9. How Experienced Are You With Personal Injury Law?
Years do not automatically equate to skill or ability. This is another question you should ask to find out about your attorney’s experience level. Most attorneys will have information regarding their concentration of practice areas, important past cases they have successfully represented, and or background information on their website. You should be able to easily obtain information about your attorney’s qualifications and achievements.
10. Which Attorney in the Firm Will Be Handling My Case?
This question is equally significant and potentially tricky. While larger legal firms may have the benefit of having a team of attorneys and staff members, this may indicate that your case will be passed through multiple hands during its course. While it can be advantageous to team up with a larger firm, it’s important to keep an open line of communication with your attorney. This way you can be clear about what your responsibilities are and what theirs are. Your attorney’s job is to help you, but you may need to contribute in order to move the case along efficiently.
See It Through With a Good Attorney
It’s not always an easy task to find a good attorney. The stress of an injury or financial hardships can take a toll on anyone. A bad or inexperienced attorney will only add to your frustration. Make sure you find the right attorney who is able to represent you fully and fairly. Do your research and ask these questions to ensure you make an informed decision and find the right attorney for your case. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.