If you are lucky enough to have never needed the services of a personal injury attorney, consider yourself lucky. Don’t ever let yourself be that person that should have hired an attorney and didn’t or allow an attorney to talk you into settling for less than you deserve.
We have put together a list of questions to ask personal injury lawyers during your search process! Keep reading for more information!
Ask About Referrals From Other Attorneys
It can be difficult to ask an attorney for references because of the whole ‘attorney-client privilege’ technicality. Luckily, there is a relatively easy (and more meaningful) way around this.
Ask your potential attorney about the percentage of cases referred from other lawyers. This may catch your attorney off guard and cause them to give you a very honest answer.
Aside from directly asking them, ask other lawyers in the community about who they would trust with their own family. Chances are, it is an attorney that you’ve never seen advertisements for. This fact alone can speak volumes for them in that they don’t need to solicit business.
What Does ‘No Recovery, No Fee’ Mean?
This question sounds simple enough and you might feel a bit silly for asking it. Hear us when we say that this is common practice but it does not mean that no money is exchanged.
The phrase can be misleading to people because it doesn’t take into account the expenditures needed to prepare for the case. These expenses can include court reporters’ fees, the cost of expert witnesses, filing fees, and charges incurred to obtain medical records and physicians’ reports.
Sometimes law practices do not ask for reimbursement if a case is lost, other times it is included in the contingency fee, and sometimes it is taken out in addition to the contingency fee. The key here is to ask what the ‘no recovery, no fee’ phrase means to any firm or attorney you interview.
Is the Attorney Specialized?
Some of the best injury lawyers have gotten that recognition because they only take on certain types of personal injury cases. Oppositely, some attorneys take every case that walks through the door because they are not overly specialized.
Ideally, you will want to hire an attorney that has at least some experience in your type of case. Personal injury attorneys can specialize in a number of areas, including medical malpractice, maritime injury, car or semi-truck accidents, and workman’s compensation.
Motorcycle wrecks are almost in a class of their own due to the number of fatalities and traumatic brain injuries that occur. Discover more about hiring an attorney after a motorcycle accident!
Questions to Ask Personal Injury Lawyers: Trial Experience?
When you envision a trial, you probably think of TV shows that feature an accused person that may or may not be found guilty of a crime. Although this is probably the most common type of trial, it isn’t the only one.
It is very possible that your personal injury case could go to trial. If this happens, you will want someone that has trial experience to represent you. Unfortunately, most injury lawyers do not have much exposure to the courtroom.
Although this may not deter you from hiring a particular injury attorney, the first question an insurance company will likely ask is who is representing you. After they realize that your attorney does not go to trial often, they will be more likely to push you to settle.
Settling a case isn’t always a bad thing but it can leave a lot left on the table. When you have had a life-changing injury due to the negligence of someone else, you will likely deal with the consequences for years to come.
Has Your License Ever Been Suspended?
This is an easy question and probably not one most people think of asking. However, this simple yes or no question is one that can quickly tell you whether or not you should run for the hills.
If the license has been suspended, inquire as to why and how long ago the suspension was lifted. Trust your gut–if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
What Type of Working Relationship is Required?
When you hire an attorney, they do (technically) work for you. This is only a technicality due to the fact that you are walking evidence. The truth of the matter is, the two of you will need to be able to communicate openly, honestly, and often.
Sometimes communication will break down and one party will misunderstand something. Problems like this happen but shouldn’t cause hurt feelings for long.
You and your attorney should have an amicable relationship and all expectations laid out on the table at the beginning of the process.
Who Will be Answering My Questions?
This question can also be phrased as ‘who will I be dealing with?’
No matter how you ask this, it means the same: are you paying a premium to deal with paralegals or will your attorney take the time to personally talk to you about your case.
Of course, you will likely talk to other members of the practice’s staff from time to time. This shouldn’t happen every single time you call. Find out beforehand who you will actually be talking to.
How Long Do Cases Like Mine Take to Resolve?
Every case is different and this is probably what your potential attorney will tell you at first. Though this sentiment is true, certain types of cases will see faster resolutions than others.
The attorney you speak with should be able to take a look at the facts from your case as well as any insurance information and give you a probable timeframe.
Deciding on the Best Personal Injury Attorney
While there are probably many more questions to ask personal injury lawyers, it comes down to what your gut tells you. If your gut is telling you that you’re dealing with a slimy attorney, you probably are.
Don’t settle for someone just because they answer your questions the ‘right’ way. Opt for someone that you feel you can trust and that truly wants to do the best thing for you.
If you’re not sure if the attorney you’re speaking with is being honest, take a minute to review how to tell when someone is lying.