Use these questions when interviewing potential personal injury lawyers
If you’re seriously injured in an accident that was no fault of your own, then you might want to talk to an attorney about filing a claim against the responsible party. The claim could be against 1 person, multiple people or a business.
Before hiring an attorney, there are a few questions that you should ask so that you hire someone who has the right experience in handling personal injury claims like yours.
What are the attorney’s fees?
Ask about the attorney’s fees before you make a decision about who to hire. Some attorneys won’t require you to pay a fee unless your claim is won (known as a “contingency fee”), which often means that the attorney will fight harder for you against the other party.
You’ll usually be asked to pay a percentage of the final settlement amount to the attorney, which is roughly 25 to about 40 percent, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case and the work involved.
Have they worked on similar cases?
Find out if the attorney has handled claims that are similar to yours in the past as this can indicate that the attorney has experience. Even if an attorney works in the personal injury field, it doesn’t mean that the attorney has worked on cases that involve your injuries or the details surrounding your accident.
Look at attorneys who work with claims who handle certain types of accidents, such as a slip and fall or a car accident, as these lawyers have experience and skill managing cases very similar to yours. This gives your case the best possible chance of success.
What does their workload look like right now?
Ask each lawyer you speak with about the time that will be spent on your case. You want to hire an attorney who will work to gather evidence about the accident and spend the time needed to put together a strong claim that will benefit you in the end.
The ideal attorney doesn’t have too many cases to handle each week as this could lead to not being able to spend as much time on each case. Make sure the attorney knows that you want your case prioritized and you can’t afford to wait around to get a final decision made about your claim.
Another component of this question is asking the attorney how long they expect your case to take. At this point, it’s important to plan ahead for budgeting your finances and supporting your family, even if that means trying to find a part-time job while you’re injured.
Of course, try to keep in mind that there are a few factors that could shorten or lengthen the duration of your case, such as how many cases are heard in the court through the week and if there are any emergencies that arise.
Are they willing to go to trial?
Most personal injury claims ultimately settle without going to trial. This can be beneficial for the plaintiff as it means that fewer people are involved and everything processed a bit faster than if you were to go to court.
At the same time, you should avoid hiring an attorney who likes to settle right out of the gate. This means that the attorney usually doesn’t want to fight or doesn’t have the time to fight on your behalf for the compensation that you deserve. Even though you might not want to go to court and it should be the last resort, it’s sometimes the best decision if negotiations aren’t going as planned or if there is enough evidence to suggest that the accident is clearly the fault of the other party.
The attorney you hire should be skilled at representing personal injury cases in court and outside the courtroom during negotiations. You don’t want to be represented in court by someone who doesn’t have experience talking in front of a judge or negotiating with defendants.
What is the value of your case?
Ask each attorney how much your claim could be worth. Keep in mind that the final outcome may vary based on numerous factors, but it could be used as a starting point during negotiations.
Another factor to consider is that the other party will likely start at the lowest rung of the ladder when offering a settlement amount. If your attorney has enough information and evidence, then you could get more for the settlement than what is offered, though you might have to go to court in order to achieve this outcome.
What do past clients have to say about this attorney?
Find out if you can talk to past clients to get reviews and testimonials about the services that are offered by the attorney. Talk to clients about the level of communication they were provided and how their case was handled in and out of court. Also, be sure to find out if the past clients were able to get close to the initial settlement amount they asked for at the beginning of the negotiations.