Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer
Posted in Lawsuit on May 21, 2019
It is unwise to assume that any legal professional is automatically qualified to handle your case. Vetting potential firms is undeniably essential in confirming that your case is in good hands, but this can be difficult for individuals who don’t know much about the legal process. When interviewing a personal injury attorney, a potential client should know the right types of questions to ask.
Asking about previous cases that the firm has handled will give you insight into what types of cases they typically work with. Although some firms may have experience with personal injury lawsuits, others tend to specialize in certain areas of law. Choose a firm that is well-versed in personal injury law. Once you’ve determined if the firm meets your needs in this way, ask specific-firm related questions about their previous cases.
- Success rate – Though it may seem rude, a firm’s success rate will give you a good idea of whether they complete their job effectively.
- Court or settlement – Ask if their cases typically go to court or are settled beforehand. Typically, firms that always settle do not ensure that you are getting the most compensation out of your claim.
- Can you take my case to court? – Related to the previous question, this one asks if the firm is capable of representing you if the claim must be taken to court. Regardless of whether the firm typically settles out of court, you also need to know if they are capable and willing to represent you if a court hearing ends up being the most effective way to achieve fair compensation.
After establishing that the overall firm, and those working for it, are experienced and generally successful, ask more lawyer-specific questions.
Who will be working on my case? This question will tell you if you will be working with the individual you are speaking to. Some firms assign junior attorneys and assistants to handle some aspects of the case. Though there is nothing wrong with firms that utilize multiple bodies on a case, you do want to make sure that the lead lawyer themselves will be adequately involved as well.
Have you personally handled cases like mine before/How long have you been a lawyer? These two questions reflect similar inquiries you have already made about the firm itself. However, you are now asking what your specific lawyer’s experience and background are. Get to know more about your lawyer’s professional history
How long do your cases typically take? Asking this question will identify the general timeframe that your lawyer and his team takes to complete your case. Though it won’t tell you about your case specifically, it still gives you a good idea of what to expect.
Evaluation Cost and Fees
The first fee-related question you should ask is whether they provide free case evaluations. The evaluation is when you discuss the specifics of your case. It is also important to ask about the fee schedule you would use to pay your lawyer.
- Contingency fees require you to pay a portion of your total compensation to the lawyer.
- A retainer plus contingency requires you to pay an upfront fee and a contingency fee. The initial fee will be reimbursed out of the lawyer’s contingency fee.
- Up front/ongoing payment requires you to pay most of the litigation fees up front, or to make regular payments to the lawyer.
It is important to know as much as you can when choosing someone to represent your case. Asking questions might feel like you are putting the lawyer on inquisition, but it is a necessary part of seeking quality legal counsel.