Every second, one American sustains an injury. In fact, accidental injury is now the third leading cause of death in the United States.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of negligence, you have a choice to make. Are you prepared to make your case or is it time to hire a lawyer?
Hire a lawyer and you will have an advocate and representative throughout the legal process. They can help you secure compensation for your injuries as well as other losses.
There are key questions to ask when hiring any type of lawyer, but it’s even more vital to do your research in a personal injury case. Be sure you establish a connection and feel comfortable before giving them your trust.
So, where do you start? Keep reading for the questions you should ask before hiring representation.
7 Key Questions to Ask a Potential Personal Injury Lawyer
Don’t walk into a consultation unprepared. Use the free time to assess your potential attorney for any red flags before hiring them.
1. How much time can you devote to my case?
Make sure that potential representation has adequate time to take on your case. This is especially true if your case is a complicated one.
Be wary of lawyers who promise quick results. It’s important not to rush the process just to cross the finish line. Each case is unique, but most injury claims take one to two years to resolve.
You equally don’t want a lawyer who is too slow. Ask for an average case length to determine whether they have a history of dragging their feet.
2. What are your fees?
When working with most attorneys, you won’t have to pay any fees unless you win a settlement. This is because most work on a contingency fee basis.
If you recover money damages at the end of your trial, your lawyer will likely take between 25% and 40% of the award.
3. What happens if I lose?
If your attorney works on a contingency fee basis, you may be wondering what happens if you lose. A lawyer may say that you don’t “owe anything” if you’re not successful, but they will leave out any mention of expenses.
Some attorneys will charge you for any expenses incurred in relation to your case. These expenses are usually related to the preparation of your lawsuit/ This could include court filing fees or costs associated with an investigation.
These expenses will vary among law firms but don’t underestimate how financially damaging they can be. In certain cases, litigation expenses can top $50,000 or more — especially in claims involving medical malpractice.
It’s a good idea to ask about these fees upfront, just in case your lawsuit proves unsuccessful.
4. How long have you been practicing law?
The experience-level of a lawyer can have a big impact on your case. While young attorneys might handle certain parts of your case, you don’t want someone without experience taking the lead.
In your initial consultation, ask about the firm’s process and who will be working on your case. Some lawyers have junior associates that assist throughout the process. This is typical, but they shouldn’t lean on them too much.
It should be said that most firms will charge the same fee regardless of the attorney’s level of experience. If you’re charged the same, you should lean towards choosing the more seasoned attorney.
5. What kinds of cases do you handle daily?
Don’t you want to know what any potential attorney’s track record is before making a decision? Know whether your attorney specializes in personal injury cases or if they are a general practitioner.
In the legal field, a general practitioner is someone who dabbles in many areas of the law. They usually work for small firms or independently.
If your case is serious, you should seek someone who specializes in personal injury claims. The law is complex, and it is difficult for someone who doesn’t handle personal injury cases every day. This is especially true when it comes to the complexities of medical malpractice.
If you’re going against a corporation, they’re likely to have specialized representation. A general practitioner will be at a major disadvantage in that courtroom.
Don’t be afraid to ask the attorney if they have ever had any cases similar to yours. All cases are different, but the best injury lawyers will make you feel confident in your lawsuit.
6. What will our relationship look like?
Know your role in your case.
Every attorney is different and will require a different level of participation from their clients. Do you want to attend every disposition and meeting related to your case? Make sure you choose a practitioner that will allow that because some don’t.
On the flip-side, you may want nothing to do with the case. You want to sit back and let the attorney do what they do best.
Either way, make sure you clearly ask what is expected of you. It’s important that you and your lawyer remain on the same page throughout the legal process.
7. Do you have references?
As in any other industry, if someone is proud of their work, they’re happy to offer references.
Ask if you can speak to former clients. In most cases, an attorney will be able to provide you with contact information for at least one satisfied customer.
If they can’t, run away quickly.
Never trust a private website or other promotional materials. Those reviews are often biased or paid for by the law firm. You also have to take into account creative editing on the firm’s part.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
No matter the complexity of your case, do your homework and hire a personal injury attorney you deserve. Asking key questions will make a huge difference in your case.
If you are injured, exercise your right to an attorney and choose representation whenever possible.
Do you have experience with a personal injury case that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below to guide others in the right direction.