Doing some homework before hiring a personal injury lawyer can be a vital step to finding an attorney with the right expertise for your case. While there are many personal injury lawyers, you will want to work with someone who has handled similar cases to yours successfully in the past. In order to avoid any unpleasant surprises down the line, you should also inquire about the fees and costs associated with a lawsuit.
Attending the initial consultation armed with a list of questions can help you choose the perfect accident attorney for your case and give you the best chance for a successful outcome.
1. Do I Have a Case?
The most important question of all will be whether a personal injury lawyer thinks your case is worth pursuing. While an attorney cannot make any promises, they should be able to analyze the circumstances of your case and give you an indication of your chances.
If an attorney is willing to take on your case with a contingency fee agreement, also known as “no-win-no-fee,” you have a reasonable chance of success—the attorney is taking on a financial risk by representing your case up front and only getting paid if a settlement is reached. An attorney who does not think a case is worth pursuing will most likely tell you so at the first consultation.
2. What Are Your Attorney’s Fees?
While most personal injury lawyers work with a contingency fee agreement, where a client does not incur any upfront attorney’s fees, not all attorneys do. Some accident attorneys charge retainers or an hourly fee. This can potentially leave you severely out-of-pocket if the case is unsuccessful.
An attorney working with a contingency agreement will take a percentage of the final settlement as their fee. However, fees can vary from one law office to another. Therefore, you should ask questions about fees before agreeing to hire an attorney.
Attorney’s fees are not the only costs to consider. In some cases, individuals may have to pay for miscellaneous costs involved with filing a lawsuit which can include:
- The court filing fees
- Costs for pulling documents needed for the case
- Fees for transcriptions
- Fees for expert witnesses
Some personal injury lawyers will pay for these costs and tie them into their overall fees. In other cases, the attorney will require that the plaintiff, the person bringing the suit, pays upfront for these miscellaneous costs. Depending on the complexity of your case, these fees can add up quickly, so it’s important to find out how the personal injury law firm you’re considering handles “costs” at the initial consultation to avoid surprises during the course of your claims process.
3. Have You Handled Cases Like Mine Before?
Personal injury is a vast field, and cases can vary greatly. A personal injury attorney who has only ever handled motor vehicle claims may be completely out of their depth in a complex medical malpractice lawsuit. Aim to find someone who has experience with handling your type of claim. You will also want to get a good idea of their track record and success rate. Questions that can help you find out about an attorney’s experience can include:
- Have you handled cases like mine?
- How much experience do you have with handling such cases?
- Can you tell me about your trial experience?
- What is your success rate with personal injury claims?
4. How Much Is My Case Worth?
An experienced accident attorney won’t mislead you about the potential value of your case in an initial consultation. While a reputable law office will not guarantee a result or settlement amount, the attorney may share the results they received on behalf of other clients with claims similar to yours.
Generally, victims of negligence can recover various damages, depending on their injuries and financial losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Income loss
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
5. What Would Be My Involvement With the Case?
While some lawyers prefer clients taking a more active part in litigation, others require relatively little input and will work on your case while you are recovering. Therefore, it can be important to know what your accident attorney will expect from you.
If you have suffered extensive injuries, you may want to work with an attorney that will work hard and take on the burden of fighting for the fairest settlement possible while you concentrate on healing and getting your life back on track.
6. Which Accident Attorney Will Handle My Personal Injury Case?
In order to avoid any potential misunderstandings, you should ask who will handle your case on an ongoing basis. Some law offices arrange the first consultation with a senior attorney. When it comes to working on your case later on, you may be represented by a relatively inexperienced attorney who has not handled cases like yours before. If you want to avoid this, make sure you know who will be handling your case before signing any agreements with the law office.
Questions to Ask Yourself After a Law Office Consultation
Making the right decision when it comes to hiring an accident attorney can be crucial for the success of your case. Someone who looks great on paper may not have the right personality or enthusiasm to fight for what you deserve. Questions you could ask yourself after the consultation can include:
- Do I feel this attorney or law office can represent me adequately?
- Did the attorney answer my questions honestly and listen to my concerns?
- Do I feel positive and enthusiastic about working with this attorney and firm?
Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
As a general rule, if you suffered injuries and financial losses due to an accident or incident caused by another party, you should at the very least seek legal advice to protect your rights and find out about your options.
Insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart and are generally more concerned about their bottom line. An attorney can leave no stone unturned in pursuing what you deserve and ensure that you receive fair compensation to get your life back on track.
Harrell & Harrell, P.A. Can Fight for Your Rights
The experienced and tenacious personal injury lawyers at Harrell & Harrell, P.A. are here for you if you’ve been injured due to no fault of your own. We will listen to your concerns, offer you the individual attention that you deserve, and answer your questions openly and honestly.
Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review: (904) 251-1111.