When you are injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, there are many personal injury lawyers available to assist you. But there are many differences between these lawyers. Before you choose one to represent you for your case, you should interview several and ask them important questions.
Question One: What areas of law do you specialize in?
Personal injury lawyers handle a multitude of case types. But some of these lawyers specialize in specific types of these cases. A good example of this is a personal injury attorney who handles commercial truck accidents, exclusively. He or she specializes because of extensive knowledge in state and federal laws governing truck driving. This means that clients with commercial truck driving accident cases gain the best representation possible, without having to pay for a learning curve. Other lawyers specialize in medical malpractice cases. These lawyers know more about accepted standards of treatment in that realm.
When you interview a personal injury lawyer, he or she can discuss the types of cases handled by their office. They can also give you an idea of the percentage of cases they handle in that area of their practice. Ensure you ask about how past cases like yours ended, whether the results were a settlement or jury verdict. You may also want past clients’ references so you can explore their experience with the lawyer.
Question Two: Do you have time for my case?
One of the last things you want to do is to gain representation of a lawyer who does not have time to handle your case. Ask candidates about their current case load. Ensure that lawyer can provide your case the amount of attention it requires for successful outcome. Ask how much time they can appropriate to your case and how long he or she expects it will take before a lawsuit is filed.
Question Three: How do you charge your clients for cases like mine?
Many personal injury lawyers work on contingency. This means they do not charge their clients until a settlement or verdict is reached. Many clients do not have the funds needed to financially support a lawsuit. At the same time, you do not anticipate being in an accident or the cost of such events. So personal injury lawyers know they need to fund the lawsuit and use their own time with no promise of repayment, should the case not succeed.
A contingency fee agreement is the typical arrangement for personal injury cases. This means your lawyer collects a percentage of your settlement or judgment, such as one third. If your case loses, you do not have to pay the lawyer anything.
Question Four: Am I responsible for any case costs?
Legal services and legal costs are two totally different matters. Services are the lawyer’s time, research pleadings preparation and completion of discovery matters. Legal costs, on the other hand, include costs like court filing fees, copying expenses, faxing expenses and costs associated with paying expert witnesses. You should ask if you are responsible for any legal costs upfront or if you will have to repay these amounts, should your case fail.
Question Five: Who will work on my case?
You need to know who is handling your case. You may enter an agreement with an attorney, only to realize that much of the case is handled by others in the firm. Legal secretaries, clerks and others manage part of the caseload. You may meet with a highly experienced lawyer, but your case may fall into the hands of a less experienced one. You need clear understanding of who will handle your case, to ensure you are good with this type of arrangement.
Question Six: What is your trial experience?
Most personal injury cases settle. But it is very important that your auto accident attorney can take the case as far as it needs to go. If a lawyer does not have a track record of successful trials, he or she will likely only work toward settlement.
Question Seven: Will my wishes be honored?
It is important for you to know that communication is open between you and your lawyer. If your settlement is not good enough and you want a trial, your lawyer should listen to this and talk to you about your wishes. The personal injury lawyer must clearly state that you are the ultimate decision maker in your case and how it proceeds. But you should also be sure that your lawyer will still represent you if you turn down settlement he or she believes you should take.