You may need the services of a personal injury lawyer at some point in your life, whether to help you after an accident or simply to guide you through any complicated legal issues that arise during your career or personal life. While you can probably find several lawyers in your area who specialize in this type of law, it’s important to do your research to ensure that you’re dealing with someone you can trust with your case. Here are ten questions to ask when choosing a personal injury lawyer for your case.
You’ve been injured and you want to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with your case, but what questions should you ask before you sign on the dotted line? Here are ten questions that are important to ask when considering hiring someone to represent you after an injury occurs.
A personal injury lawyer is a lawyer who provides legal services to those who claim to have been injured, physically or psychologically, by the wrongful acts of another party, such as an automobile accident or physical abuse. As part of your legal representation, you will likely hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with the process of filing and prosecuting your claim in court. However, before you take this step, be sure to ask these ten questions so that you understand all of your options and can make an informed decision about your next steps forward.
What type of cases do you handle?
When someone is injured due to another person’s negligence, they may be eligible for a personal injury claim. Personal injury lawyers can handle a wide range of cases and are often distinguished by their area of expertise (i.e., car accidents, slip and falls, etc.). Don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer what type of cases they typically work on. You want someone who has experience with your situation; don’t settle for less. In addition, you may want to consider whether or not you would like a lawyer who handles these cases regularly or if you would prefer an attorney that occasionally takes on personal injury clients.
How much will it cost me?
When you retain a personal injury lawyer, you want to get them on retainer as soon as possible.
How long do cases usually take?
Some personal injury cases can be resolved quickly, while others may drag on for years. Before you hire a lawyer, ask them how long their cases usually take to resolve.
Do I need a lawyer at all?
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may think that hiring a personal injury lawyer is your only option. But there are some questions you should ask yourself before taking any legal action.
Will I be billed hourly or on a contingency basis?
Once you hire a lawyer, he or she will ask how you want to be billed. Many lawyers work on an hourly basis, meaning they are paid for every hour of their time that is put into your case. These payments can add up quickly, and may not be in your best interest as it’s possible for you to incur thousands of dollars in fees that may not help your case.
How many cases like mine have you handled in the past year?
The more experience a lawyer has, generally speaking, the better your chances of receiving a positive outcome. You want a lawyer who knows what they’re doing and isn’t going to be learning on your dime. Make sure you have at least five years of experience before hiring a legal professional.
How does your firm screen potential clients before taking them on as clients?
Every lawyer in your firm should have a system in place for screening potential clients and case work. That way, they can weed out people who aren’t serious about working with you or who don’t want to cooperate with other members of your team. The first question any good lawyer will ask is: Why did you come to me? Be aware that some lawyers may ask for a consultation fee, so be prepared for that. Make sure you also take note of how long it takes for your lawyer to get back to you on a phone call—and feel free to ask if they charge additional fees for lengthy phone calls. The success of an attorney depends on building trust, and that starts from day one.
What kind of advice do you offer after we sign an agreement?
The most common question people ask when they are injured is, What can I do? It’s a good idea to know what your lawyer thinks you should do after you sign an agreement. This will help you understand how their mind works and how they will handle things if your case goes to court.
Will I be charged for phone calls and emails with my attorney?
If you’re in a situation where you will be in contact with your attorney often, it’s important that you do not rack up hundreds of dollars on phone calls and emails. Many lawyers offer free consultations to give potential clients an idea of what they are working with, but expect a bill if you reach out more than once. When considering an attorney, ask how they charge for communication.
What if my employer refuses to cooperate with my personal injury case?
If your employer is negligent in some way and you suffer an injury, it is their responsibility to compensate you for your damages. However, if they attempt to hide or otherwise avoid paying your settlement, a lawyer can help.