It is hardly ever an ideal time to hire a personal injury lawyer, because usually by the time you need one you have already been hurt. When many people start the search for representation, they are facing a growing stack of medical bills and other expenses that are causing even more stress and worry on top of the pain of recovery. Choosing the right attorney can make all the difference to your injury lawsuit, which is why you should always go to your first consultation armed with a good set of questions to ask a personal injury lawyer to help you determine if he or she is right for your individual case.
Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer
Before you hire a lawyer, you should always meet with him or her to discuss your case and what you can expect from the firm. Be sure to get as much information as possible, and always remember to be honest and detailed when you explain your claim. Some good questions to ask a personal injury lawyer during your first meeting include:
- Who will actually handle my case? Most law firms employ more than one lawyer, so it is possible that the person you meet with at first will not actually be the one to take on your case. Most often, the personal injury lawyers at a firm will collaborate with one another on all cases, but you still should know who your primary attorney is and how much experience he or she has.
- What kinds of cases do you handle the most? It is a seemingly universal truth that practice makes perfect. You want an attorney who has handled (and won) cases similar to yours in the past.
- Do you try cases in court when necessary, or do you always settle out of court? While it is true that the vast majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court, you don’t want an attorney that will rush you into a settlement if it would actually be more beneficial for you to go to trial. Make sure your lawyer can handle the courtroom if settlement negotiations fail.
- What is your record of success with verdicts and settlements? This is important for you to know because it will give you some idea of the firm’s reputation among other lawyers, especially those that represent the other side of personal injury cases. If the company you are suing for damages knows that your lawyer will fight for your case and has a good history of success, they may be more willing to settle in your favor.
- What is your fee and do you work on a contingency fee basis? Most personal injury attorneys do work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they are paid a portion of your compensation after the case. This means they only get paid if they win your case. Make sure you get all the details about how much you will end up paying your lawyer before you sign a contract.
- If I have a question, can I speak to you directly? Your lawyer should always return your calls or emails promptly. Find out how often your lawyer will communicate with you about your case and the best way to reach him or her (phone, email, text, carrier pigeon, etc.).
- Do you have time to handle my case right now? Sometimes, you might love everything about your meeting with a lawyer. But if he or she is handling a bunch of lawsuits, there may not be time available to devote to your case. In these cases, a lawyer may recommend a colleague or other lawyer who can give more attention to your lawsuit.
Our Missouri and Illinois personal injury attorneys are available to answer these and any other questions you may have in a free initial consultation. The information provided by Walton Telken, LLC in this Blog is not intended to be legal advice, but merely provides general information related to common legal issues. This Blog, and the information contained within it, is Attorney Advertisement. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.