If you have been injured at work, in a car accident, or in any situation where someone else’s negligence was the cause, you may feel overwhelmed by your situation. Accidents rarely happen with any sort of warning, and there is no textbook detailing how to process what you have been through. One of the most important steps you can take after an accident is contacting a personal injury lawyer who can help ensure that your legal rights are protected.
If you feel nervous or anxious about your consultation or the legal process, remember that it is perfectly okay to ask questions and express your concerns. Choosing the right attorney for your case, and your needs is important. Here are 10 of the top questions to ask a personal injury lawyer that can help you feel confident as you make your decision.
If you want to make sure that a prospective personal injury lawyer is right for your case, consider asking these top 10 questions.
1. What areas of law do you specialize in?
The legal industry is full of lawyers offering a range of services. And while sometimes this is perfectly fine, you don’t want to hire a criminal defense attorney to manage a medical malpractice case. Why? Medical malpractice law is very specific and complicated. Lawyers who are not trained in these areas may not be able to successfully manage your case. Much like you wouldn’t want a chiropractor delivering your baby, you don’t want a lawyer with no knowledge of personal injury law managing a personal injury case.
2. Have you managed personal injury cases in the past? What were the outcomes?
In addition to assurance that the lawyer has adequate skills, you may also want to find out what sort of cases they have managed in the past, and what the outcomes were. Did the cases result in settlements, or did they go to trial? It is always best to find a lawyer who can handle a range of cases, and is prepared to take your case as far as necessary to get results.
3. Who will be working on my case?
Many personal injury law firms have several lawyers on staff. Ask the lawyer you consult with who in the firm will be handling your case. Will it be a partner, another lawyer, a paralegal, or another staff member? Knowing who is working on your case is important as you move forward.
4. How long will my case take to resolve?
There is never an easy answer to this question, but your lawyer may have some idea of how long similar cases have taken in the past. Experienced personal injury lawyers also often have experience working with the courts, expert witnesses, hospitals, and insurance companies, which can help move the process along.
5. What sort of fees can I expect?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means that unless they obtain a verdict or settlement in your favor, you owe them nothing. The lawyer getting paid is “contingent” on you getting a financial award in the case.
6. Is there anything I can do to improve our chances for success?
Being an active participant in your case can definitely assist the legal process, and could impact the outcome. You and your lawyer will move through a series of processes including interviews, gathering documents, and filing papers with the court. The more active you are in helping your lawyer do what is needed, the better.
7. Will my case go to trial or settle out of court?
Early in your case, it may be difficult for a lawyer to answer this question. However, you may find that your lawyer has experience in both settling and taking cases to trial, which can be helpful. That means that you have options no matter how your case progresses. What is important is finding a lawyer who is dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve, not settling or trying a certain number of cases.
8. Have you ever been disciplined or charged with malpractice?
A prospective lawyer may not like you asking this question, but many people find the question itself very telling. Most lawyers have never been disciplined or sanctioned, or charged with malpractice. These lawyers will have no trouble telling you as much. If your lawyer hesitates or becomes defensive, you may want to take that as a red flag and look into his or her record.
9. What happens if I disagree with what is being presented?
Many clients wonder what will happen if they and their attorney disagree on a settlement offer. Ultimately, if you are not satisfied with the settlement offer, it is perfectly acceptable to say as much. Negotiation is often a large part of the legal process. Find out before hiring a lawyer whether he or she is willing to negotiate. Ask if disagreeing on a settlement could result in their dropping you as a client.
10. Do you have references from past clients?
Some jurisdictions allow lawyers to provide references from past clients. Many of these references or referrals can be found online nowadays, but sometimes you can also find a lawyer with a written reference or other source of referral.
Get Help With Your Personal Injury Case
Finding the right lawyer to work with you on a personal injury case may seem like a difficult task. By asking these questions, you can help narrow down your search and find a lawyer with the right skills and experience. At The Embry Law Firm, our attorneys are dedicated to helping auto accident victims protect their legal rights and get the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to learn more, and to schedule a free consultation.