If you find yourself in need of a personal injury attorney, you’re likely going through a difficult time of your life. The whole process can be made easier by having lawyer on your side, but the wrong lawyer can make the process even more challenging.
Since you’ve likely never experienced this before, try making use of these 10 important questions for your personal injury attorney.
Main Factors to Evaluate
Before choosing a personal injury attorney to represent you, it’s best to have a consultation to get more information.
As lawyers have different areas of expertise, they aren’t all the best choice to help in any situation. You should find one who’s knowledgeable and experienced in a way that meets your needs. Also, it’s important that you trust and feel comfortable with this person.
1. Can you tell me about your history as a personal injury attorney?
Find out how many years they’ve been practicing. Also, learn about what kind of cases they generally handle, and ask about their success rates.
2. How often do you handle cases like mine?
Personal injury attorneys deal with a wide variety of situations, and some of them can be quite different. It’s best if you choose someone who has experience in cases that are similar to yours.
3. How many attorneys are in your firm, and who would I be working with?
Some firms have only one attorney, and others have many. However, even in small firms, there may be other staff members helping you with various parts of the process. To make sure you’re comfortable and know what to expect, you should ask who you will be interacting with. Also, it’s not unreasonable to ask to meet these people.
4. How does your payment structure work?
Different law firms have various ways of making their fees and collecting payments. It’s wise to find out exactly how this works from the start, and then decide if this is a good decision for you financially. Find out when you will need to pay fees, who will cover expenses throughout the process, if the attorney works for a contingency fee (only collecting money if you are awarded some), and if there is anything else you’ll be expected to pay.
5. Can you provide me with some references of past clients?
Attorneys with more years of experience will obviously have a larger number of satisfied clients, but even younger lawyers should have a few clients who are willing to tell you about their experiences with them. It’s always better to have an outside opinion.
6. What is the strategy you suggest I follow?
Don’t spend all of your time just asking about the lawyer, after all, this is about you! If the attorney is ready to handle your case, they should be able to explain a basic strategy and the overall steps involved.
7. What are my chances of success, and can I do anything to change that?
You should find out how likely you are to be successful, and learn about how that will be measured. Also, you can sometimes take certain actions that will increase your chances, but the options for these decrease as time goes by.
8. What is the timeline for my situation?
Make sure you understand the timelines for a few different things. First, are there any deadlines? Many situations have only a limited amount of time in which your claim can be handled, so you need to find out if this will affect you.
Next, it’s good to get an estimate of how long it will be before you could expect any payout (if successful). This can be extremely difficult to determine, but hearing a very rough estimate can prevent you from being upset that you didn’t receive anything until much later than you expected.
9. Will you try to go to trial, or would you rather settle this out of court?
There are pros and cons of going to a trial, but this most often influences the amount of the payment you could receive, the time before you’ll receive it, and the chances of success that you have. Some attorneys like to favor one strategy over the other, so find out if this is the case, and decide if you agree on that.
10. How involved will I be?
Attorneys all have different styles. Some believe they are providing an expert service and you should trust everything they say, while others believe your relationship is more of a partnership and they will make joint decisions. Find out what this attorney believes, and then decide if you’re comfortable with that.
Take the Time for the Right Choice
Even though you’re going through such a tough situation, make sure you don’t rush your decision. Ask these questions (and any others you have), and do some other research about the attorney. Overall, trust your instincts.
If you choose a lawyer who makes you feel comfortable, the whole process will be much easier.
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