If you find yourself in need of a personal injury lawyer, you are likely anxious, overwhelmed, and reeling from an accident.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer is a big decision. This is someone you will be working very closely with and someone who will get the recovery you need.
You may go with the first attorney you speak to. They may even come highly recommended from a trusted friend or family member.
Still, when interviewing a personal injury attorney, try to get a feel for that attorney and if he or she will be the best fit for you.
While interviewing, there are specific questions you should ask a personal injury lawyer.
These questions are designed to help you get to know the attorney, as well as their experience and how they handle clients.
Questions to Ask Your Personal Injury Lawyer
1. How are your fees calculated?
Most personal injury lawyers take their cases on contingency. However, the details and the amount of contingency can be different between firms. Some firms don’t ask their clients to pay any costs.
They take costs out of the recovery. On the other hand, some firms ask clients to pay for costs as they happen and then take just their legal fees out of any recovery.
You’ll want to know which type of agreement you are getting into before you sign with your lawyer. This is one of the most important questions to ask a personal injury lawyer.
2. Who is responsible for out-of-pocket costs if I lose my case?
Related to the question above, you’ll also want to ask your personal injury lawyer which party is responsible for costs if you lose your case. You may think that you are entering a contingency agreement where you aren’t required to pay anything if you lose, but the fine print of the document you signed with your attorney might say something else.
Choose a firm that does not seek expenses from you if they lose the case.
3. What percentage of your caseload is devoted to personal injury cases?
You’ll want to know if your personal injury attorney has experience with your specific type of case. If you are already interviewing the attorney, chances are they have a lot of personal injury experience.
However, if you’ve been referred to a family friend or local general practice attorney, they may not have the experience you need for maximizing your recovery from your personal injury case. This fact can mean the difference in getting a high or low settlement.
4. Will you be the only attorney handling my case?
Sometimes, law firms introduce you to the most experienced and successful partner to get you to sign with their firm. But then, that partner will disappear, and you will be stuck dealing with an associate and not the person you intended to hire.
Before you decide to hire the lawyer and firm, ask which attorney will be handling your case, or if there will be more than one.
5. What is your success rate for trial?
Has the attorney you are interviewing ever gone to trial? In many practice areas, litigation is common, but leading representation at trial is not. In case you do go all the way to trial, you’ll want to make sure your attorney has experience in that area.
This is a crucial question to ask your personal injury lawyer.
6. Will I be able to communicate with you as needed?
Just like it is essential to know whether one attorney or multiple will be dealing with your case, you’ll also want to know if you will be able to get in touch with your attorney when you need them.
You may barely get a chance to speak with your attorney after you hire them. Make sure this won’t be the case by asking questions before the representation relationship is set.
7. Do you have an idea for the timeline of the case?
Timelines of personal injury cases are variable.
Still, an experienced personal injury lawyer will have some idea of how long the case might take. They will factor in the type of case, how much they think it’s worth, who the defendant is, and other common themes among cases they’ve had before.
8. What happens if you don’t agree with my take on a settlement offer?
There may come a time that your attorney thinks you should take a settlement offer, but you don’t. Conversely, you may wish to accept an offer that your attorney doesn’t think is good enough.
You should ask any potential attorney what would happen in this case. Although all attorneys are supposed to respect your wishes, it’s still a good idea to understand your attorney’s view of the situation before it occurs.
9. What do you think my case is worth?
A highly experienced personal injury attorney should have a pretty good idea of what your case is worth.
They won’t give you an exact number, and in fact, they shouldn’t be able to do so. However, they should give you a ballpark estimate, and explain to you how they came to that number, as well as what factors they think might impact settlement offers.
10. Would it be possible for me to speak to any of your former clients?
You are always welcome to ask an attorney to speak to former clients. Most attorneys understand how significant a decision it is to hire a personal injury lawyer, and will be more than happy to let you speak to former clients.
If they don’t want you to talk to previous clients, this may be a red flag.
You may think of additional questions to ask a personal injury lawyer when you are interviewing them. Before you hire an attorney, you should feel comfortable that they will represent you zealously and be available to you as needed.
Contact Pritchard Injury Firm
If you need to hire a personal injury attorney, contact Pritchard Injury Firm.
We know what a critical decision you are facing.
We’re happy to offer free consultations to talk about your case, as well as answer any questions you have about us and our representation.