When you’re injured and unable to work, it can take a toll on your finances and your daily life. You may lose wages and suffer unbearable discomfort as you recover. So, if your injury was a result of another’s neglect, you’re probably thinking about hiring a personal injury attorney.
But when you’re searching for a lawyer to represent you and file a claim, it’s important to choose wisely. You want to find an attorney that’s honest and will accommodate your needs. When investigating an attorney, be sure to ask the following 10 questions, among others, to determine if the lawyer is the right fit for you.
- Will You Be the One Handling My Case?
When considering a lawyer, it’s a good idea to ask if they’ll personally be taking your case. Sometimes, you may meet with one lawyer for your initial consultation, then have your case assigned to a completely different attorney. You want to be sure that the lawyer taking your case has the experience and knowledge necessary to successfully resolve your case, not just the one you talk to during the consultation.
And while it’s not uncommon for numerous people to work on a single case, you may also want to meet the rest of the legal team so you know who you’ll be communicating with on a regular basis.
- What is Your Contingency Fee?
Check if your attorney charges on a contingent basis, and be sure you know what percentage of your settlement or winnings the firm will claim if the case is successful. You want to have an idea of what to expect before you file a claim, and in some cases, you can negotiate the contingency fee. You also want to verify that the firm won’t charge you for any of the case expenses.
- What is Your Firm’s Specialty?
For any legal case, you want an attorney that knows what they’re doing. Ask the potential attorney what their firm’s focus is; this is often what they do best and they’ll likely be more familiar with the ins and outs of that particular area.
- How Many Years Have You Been Practicing Personal Injury Law?
An experienced lawyer can do your case some good. Find out how many years they’ve been practicing personal injury law, and ask about their previous successes to get an idea of how skilled they are. You can also inquire if they’ve received any awards or honors in the past.
- Have You Dealt With Cases Like Mine Before?
Even if an attorney has practiced law for a couple decades, it’s always a good idea to ask if they’ve handled cases similar to yours. If so, they’ll know what to expect, and they’ll be able to better prepare your case. Ask them how these previous cases ended and how the lawyer intends to handle your case.
- How Many Cases Are You Handling Currently?
While experienced, knowledgeable attorneys can be a great find, you want to be sure your lawyer can focus on your case. If your attorney is handling several cases at once, they may not be able to give you the one-on-one attention you’re looking for. Or, they may not start on your case until a few months later, even if you need compensation quickly.
- How Long Will It Take to Resolve My Case?
It’s important to know when your lawyer is going to file your claim and work on your case. Some lawyers will wait as long as possible, which can sometimes be up to 12 to 18 months. When you’re struggling to pay medical bills, you want to be sure your case will be done as quickly as possible.
- Do You Often Go to Trial?
Many personal injury cases end with a settlement, but some can go to trial. Ensure your attorney has experience going to trial, and ask for details of previous situations. If they go to trial on a regular basis, you can feel more confident in their abilities should your case move past settlement.
- Have You Previously Been Suspended From Practicing?
It’s a good idea to find out if your attorney has had trouble with their career in the past. Ask if they’ve been censured or disciplined by any kind of ethics or legal committee. You want an honest attorney that will make the most effort within the confines of the law.
- Do You Have References I Can Contact?
When hiring anyone, you should ask for references, and attorneys are no different. Request references from their previous clients, and be sure their references are fairly recent so you can get the most accurate and up-to-date feedback possible.
Be sure to politely ask the other clients about their cases if they’re willing to share, and inquire how the attorney handled their case and about any unexpected issues.
When you’re thinking of filing a personal injury claim, it’s helpful to have a reliable attorney in your corner. Investigate personal injury lawyers in the area, such as Gregg Durlofsky, and ask them applicable, effective questions to get to know them and how they work.