Hiring a personal injury attorney can be a difficult task. Because there are so many attorneys to choose from, it’s hard to know which one to pick. Worse, some people don’t even know how to make such an important decision. Knowing which questions to ask before hiring a personal injury lawyer can help you decide.
In your first meeting with a personal injury attorney, you should be prepared for the attorney to ask you questions. However, you should also bring questions of your own. Asking the right questions can help you choose the right attorney for you and your case. Read on for a list of questions to ask before hiring a personal injury lawyer.
Questions About Costs and Fees
- How much do you charge?
Most personal injury attorneys use a contingent fee system. This means that the attorney only gets paid if you win the case. Then, the lawyer will take a percentage of the award as payment.
Most personal injury attorneys charge somewhere between 35 and 45 percent of a client’s recovery. So, if you win $100,000 and the attorney takes 35 percent, you will get $65,000.
- What about costs and expenses?
In addition to lawyer’s fees, litigation involves costs and expenses such as expert witness fees, court reporters costs, and the like. These fees are usually deducted at the end.
Again, these expenses are in addition to the lawyer’s fee. So, if you win $100,000 and the attorney charges 35 percent, you will get $65,000. If the case expenses are $10,000, you receive $55,000 (less other bills such as medical expenses).
Be sure to ask any attorney which costs you will be expected to pay.
Questions About Managing the Case
- Who will actually handle my case?
Some attorneys work with junior attorneys (associates). It is common for these attorneys to ask their junior associates to work on cases. However, it is also proper for you to ask whether the attorney will take the bulk of the responsibility or give all the work to an associate attorney.
- How often will I be updated? Who is my point of contact?
No issue causes more conflict between attorneys and clients than communication. Some clients expect daily or weekly updates on their cases. Others do not. Being clear about your expectations at the outset can help you find a lawyer that fits your needs.
Also, while most attorneys are happy to talk to clients, they also spend time appearing in court, writing briefs, and doing other things. It’s common for attorneys to ask that you call a paralegal or administrative assistant for a case update.
Questions About What to Expect
No one can predict the outcome of a case. However, an experienced attorney should be able to give you some educated estimates.
- How long do cases like mine usually take to resolve?
A personal injury case is a big undertaking. You have the right to know how long to expect it to continue. An attorney who has handled a case like yours should know how long things will take.
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of my case?
No case is a “slam dunk.” Every case has its flaws. A good personal injury attorney will give you an honest assessment that addresses any potential pitfalls.
- How much do you think I will recover?
Again, no attorney can accurately predict what a jury might do. However, an attorney should be able to use their experience to give you an idea of the factors a jury will consider and give you reasonable guidance about what might happen in your case.
- What’s my role in the case?
While you can – and should – expect your attorney to do the heavy lifting on the legal issues in your case, you will still have a role to play. You will need to provide documents. You may even need to go for a medical examination. Asking about these expectations at the beginning will help you prepare. You may have to be interviewed or deposed. You may even need to go for a medical examination. Asking about these expectations at the beginning will help you prepare.
One More Question
While there are many questions to ask before hiring a personal injury lawyer, the final question is not for the attorney, but for you. After asking a potential attorney these questions, you should take a moment to reflect on the meeting. Then, ask yourself, “Do I feel comfortable with this person?”
If you are displeased with any of the lawyer’s answers (or even the way the question was answered), you do not have to hire that person. The final decision is up to you.
A personal injury case can be emotional. If you have a major personality clash with the attorney, the process will be even more stressful. If you don’t feel that you “click” with the attorney, you might want to meet with another person before making a final decision.
More Questions About Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney?
Hopefully, this post has helped you consider which questions to ask before hiring a personal injury lawyer. If you have more questions about this topic or other issues related to personal injury law, contact Collins Law LLC. Our team is devoted to providing every client with elite legal representation and the highest level of customer service. Contact us today for a free consultation.