Although we’d all like to believe we’re safe out on the road, the truth is that accidents occur far too often. Legal and illegal drugs (other than alcohol) account for 16% of car crashes, while others may be attributed to everything from distracted driving to other unsafe behaviors behind the wheel. If another person is at fault for the injury you’ve sustained in an accident, it’s important to consult well-respected personal injury law firms in your area.
We know that choosing an attorney can be difficult. How do you narrow down the choices of personal injury attorneys to the one who will represent you best? Every case will be different, but here are five questions you should be sure to ask before you decide which injury lawyer deserves to represent your case.
5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer
“Do you have experience with cases like mine?”
Not all personal injury lawyers are created equal. Some may handle accident cases regularly but rarely go to court. Others may be willing to take on your case but don’t necessarily have the credentials to back it up. Ask for detailed examples of cases they have handled that are similar to yours and find out about their stance on settling out of court. While many cases won’t ever end up in court, you’ll want to make sure your lawyer doesn’t settle just because it’s the easier option.
“Will others be working on my case?”
Some people are surprised to learn that they’ll be dealing with more professionals than just their own attorney. You may meet with an intake expert and you will likely find that there are paralegals who work on cases, too. These trained staff members can help to ensure your case is getting the attention it needs, even when your lawyer is quite busy. However, you should not have to constantly struggle to contact your lawyer. Be sure to emphasize the importance of communication during your consultation to feel out your attorney and their firm on this issue.
“What are your fees?”
While money can be uncomfortable to discuss, it’s important that you do so before hiring a lawyer. The majority of personal injury lawyers work on what’s called a contingency fee basis, meaning that you won’t have to pay them anything unless you recover monetary damages as a result of your claim. Assuming you are able to recover damages, most personal injury lawyers will take anywhere from 25% to 40% of the award. It’s important to ask exactly what percentage your attorney will take. In addition, some personal injury lawyers will charge in advance for claim-related costs that they foresee, which are known as out-of-pocket costs; make sure you understand whether or not you’ll be held responsible for those charges if you do not receive damages.
“How long does it take to resolve a case?”
Because every case is different, it can be difficult to say how long your claim will take to be resolved. It can take anywhere from several months to over a year to just reach a settlement. Your lawyer should have enough experience to provide an educated guess on how long your claim might take. Keep in mind that there are many circumstances that impact this timeline, but you should ensure that your lawyer is motivated to work towards a quick resolution.
“How involved will I be in this process?”
When you first meet with your lawyer, you should ask about the kind of role you’ll play in the lawsuit. Some people want to be extremely involved and kept informed when even the smallest thing happens. Others will ask to attend meetings and depositions, which some personal injury lawyers will not allow. On the flip side, some clients will be more than happy to let their attorneys handle all the details. No matter what you’d prefer, make sure to let your lawyer know and discuss what this relationship will look like before you begin.
Finding the right lawyer isn’t always easy, but being prepared can make the process go much more smoothly. Be sure to ask your attorney these questions in your first meeting to discern whether they’re a good fit for your needs.