Are you thinking about hiring a lawyer for your personal injury case? This may be your first time seeking legal counsel.
You should ask questions about their experience, specialty, legal team, work schedule, and fee structure. Further, other questions will help you find the right lawyer.
This article will reveal the best questions to ask when hiring a personal injury lawyer.
8. Does Your Experience Relate to My Case?
Find an attorney who handles cases that are similar to yours. Avoid general-practice attorneys who may know nothing about personal injury claims.
If you were involved in a truck accident, for example, find legal counsel who has experience in truck accident claims. Your case may require a special knowledge base that other attorneys don’t know about.
A personal injury claim requires specific steps, such as:
- Gathering Evidence: An attorney can help you gather physical evidence that will support your case. Physical evidence can be in the form of medical costs or damaged property.
- Presenting Your Case: An experienced attorney must articulate your case to a jury. Your attorney should know how to talk to jurors effectively.
- Negotiating Settlements: The defense or insurance companies may offer a settlement. Your attorney must negotiate a higher settlement if necessary. In many cases, negotiations can take weeks or months.
Additionally, inquire about his or her results. Do they have a track record of winning cases?
You can also ask about any awards or recognitions that signify their experience. Perhaps they teach seminars or give lectures about personal injury cases. They could also publish articles on personal injury topics.
7. How Often Does Your Firm Handle Personal Injury Claims?
If the firm handles a small percentage of personal injury cases, you may want to look elsewhere. Above all, you should hire a lawyer from a personal injury law firm. A firm with minimal experience in personal injury may not have enough resources to buffer your case.
If the lawyer handles many types of cases, they’re a general practice attorney. A general practitioner is no match for a specialist.
You need a specialist because insurance companies will have defense attorneys who specialize in insurance negotiations and personal injury claims.
When interviewing an attorney, ask about additional resources they could use to strengthen your case. They could have a team that provides support along the way.
6. Who Else Will Work On My Case?
Lawyers may have assistants who work under them. A legal team can improve your case. In other cases, your lawyer may hire a private investigator to look deeper into something.
Your attorney is more likely to overcome obstacles when multiple parties are involved. Your lawyer could even bring in another attorney if necessary. With that, additional personnel may cost extra.
5. How Much Do You Charge?
Before hiring your attorney, ask about their fee structure. There are several fee structures to consider:
- Contingency Fee: A contingency fee will consist of a percentage of your award or settlement. The percentage usually hovers between 33 to 40%. If you lose the case, you don’t have to pay a percentage. However, you could pay miscellaneous expenses.
- Flat Fee: A lawyer will charge a flat fee upfront. Flat fees usually apply if your case is simple. Since personal injury cases are complex, personal injury lawyers are less likely to adopt this fee system.
- Hourly Fees: The lawyer will charge you for each hour they work on your case. The fee could be around $100 an hour.
- Retainer Fees: Retainer fees are similar to down payments. You’ll pay a certain amount of money upfront. The lawyer will use the funds as your case proceeds. This scenario is common for long-term cases.
Most personal injury lawyers have a contingency fee. However, request an agreement that notes the fee structure in detail.
4. How Long Will My Case Last?
An experienced lawyer will know how long your case will typically last. The timelines depend on a variety of factors. However, your lawyer can provide a rough estimate.
Regardless, your lawyer should strive to end the case as quickly as possible, especially if you’re in dire need of compensation.
3. How Busy Are You?
You may have the best lawyer in town, but their experience means nothing if they’re too busy. Overextended attorneys may devote less time to your case.
Moreover, be wary of attorneys from large firms, as they may prioritize high-paying clients over you. For smaller firms, lawyers may juggle many clients with fewer resources. Regardless, ask about the attorney’s caseload and how much time they can spend on your case.
2. What Are My Chances of Winning?
A potential lawyer should give you a realistic scenario. They’ll give you a proper assessment when they analyze the evidence and your story. If your case is weak, they can help you gather the necessary evidence.
There’s a chance that your case won’t make it to trial, as insurance companies could offer a settlement beforehand. With that, attorneys should always prepare for trial.
1. How Much Can I Win?
This is an important question because most victims don’t know how much their case is worth. An attorney should provide an accurate summation. You can win several types of awards, such as:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
- Structured settlements
- Property damage
- Funeral costs
- Disability costs
From there, an attorney can tell you much evidence you need to win a specific award.
Is Hiring a Lawyer Worth It?
Hiring a lawyer is worth the cost because they can guide you through the legal process. They’ll also ensure you receive a fair hearing.
However, find a seasoned lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases. With that, ask questions about their experience. You can ask these questions for free in most cases, as lawyers usually offer a free legal consultation.
Do you need a personal injury lawyer? Contact us today at Burriss and Ridgeway, we can help.