When securing compensation for any injuries you may have sustained, you need to be sure you have the right personal injury lawyer representing you. Lawsuits should never be done without an attorney, as these specialists know exactly what you should do in order to win the case.
That being said, while there are many good lawyers out there, there are also those that won’t be of any benefit to you. They may have stellar recommendations, but if they are not compatible with your needs, you might end up losing money along with the case.
To make sure that you only pick the perfect lawyer that will maximize your insurance claims, here are some questions that you might want to ask first.
1. How will I pay you?
Money doesn’t fall from the sky, so you may want to ask about their fees first. Most personal injury lawyers will get paid based on contingency fees. This means that you won’t have to pay them any fees unless they win you that lawsuit.
You will be told right away whether your case is on the winning or losing side. In the event that you do get your compensation, they will get a share of it as well. In most cases, it’s somewhere between 25% and 40%, which is why you need to get this straight first.
2. Will I still be responsible for case-related fees if I lose?
Depending on the case, the lawyer may or may not ask you to handle case-related costs. These costs are usually paid in advance and are separate from the contingency fee. Hartley Law Firm, for instance, doesn’t ask for any fees – unless you win.
This is why you may want to discuss matters with your lawyer beforehand.
3. Have you ever handled any other cases similar to my case?
Never assume that just because they have a law degree, they already handled a case similar to yours. Therefore, before you hire an attorney, make sure that they have the experience necessary for cases such as yours.
Experience with a particular situation can make a great difference. For instance, if you had a car accident, you might not want to rest your case on an attorney that specializes in slip-and-fall cases. Go for someone that knows how to handle a case just like yours.
4. How long do you think it will take to resolve my case?
While they might not be able to tell you exactly how long it will take until the case is over, they should be able to give you an average estimate. Think of this as a trick question for the previous one: if they worked with a similar case before, then they should be able to give you an approximate timeframe.
Bear in mind that not all of them might be able to give you an exact prediction. That being said, it should give you a rough idea of how much of a priority you will be.
5. Will you be the only one working on my case?
Sometimes, if you go for a bigger attorney company, the lawyer you are talking to may not be the only one working with your case. A law firm usually has more lawyers, so there is a chance that they will pass your case to other available lawyers. This might not be a problem, but you should at least ensure that you know exactly who will be representing you.
6. What is your success rate in trials?
Not every lawyer will make their trial success rate public, which is why you may want to request this information from them. This way, you will know whether you can go into trial with peace of mind or not. Attorneys with a higher success rate will know how to avoid errors in personal injury cases.
7. How much time are you willing to devote to my personal injury case?
Hiring a lawyer that has no cases lined up might be a problem. On the other hand, you should not go for the type that takes on too many cases at the same time. If this happens, they may sit too long on your case and focus on many other clients at once when they should be focusing on yours instead. Make sure that you get an attorney who can commit themselves to your case.
8. What will my role be here?
Many people believe that if they hire a lawyer, they will do all the work and that you, as a client, won’t have to do anything. That is not precisely the case, because you can help your lawyer close faster if you stick to your role. This is why you may want to ask what your role will be, and what you will have to do in particular. Talk about this early on so that you may know what to expect from your case.
9. Do you see any potential difficulties with my case?
Most lawyers – or at least the good ones – should be able to tell whether there will be any challenges or not. Bear in mind that if the lawyer tells you the case will “surely go smooth,” this might count as a red flag. Nothing is ever that easy; you wouldn’t need a lawyer if it was. A good lawyer should be straightforward about any potential issues.
10. How will you inform me of the updates?
Some attorneys will keep you up to speed every step of the way, whereas others will contact you whenever something essential happens. At the same time, some lawyers will call to inform you themselves, whereas others will have their secretary call you instead. Neither are deal-breakers, but you’ll want to know these things beforehand and see which scenario works for you.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer can be challenging, but as long as you ask the right questions, you should find one that is compatible with your needs. “Shoot first, ask questions later” does not work in this case, so you might want to do your research and have your questions answered.