Ensuring you receive the financial compensation you are entitled to following an injury or accident is no small feat. Insurance companies often come with an army of highly-skilled lawyers, working to protect their client’s interests. You need to arm yourself with an attorney that is going to effectively represent your interests in the forthcoming negotiations.
But with so many personal injury lawyers out there, how do you find the right personal injury attorney for you? Asking the right questions during the initial consultation is key. You want to see evidence that the lawyer in front of you has the experience and ability to go against the insurance companies, and win.
These are the questions you should ask every personal injury attorney before you hire them to fight your case.
What cases have you tried in the past that are similar to mine?
Just because your attorney specialises in personal injury doesn’t mean he or she has handled cases like yours. If you are pursuing a medical malpractice claim, you don’t want to hire a lawyer that only has experience in handling dog bite cases.
Ask the lawyer what cases they have worked on that appear similar to yours, and what the outcome of those cases were.
Where do you get most of your referrals?
Where you attorney generates most of his or her business from is revealing. Exceptional lawyers often receive referrals from other lawyers. They are the people in the business and know who the top attorneys are in their community.
Will you be the one working on the case?
Unfortunately, many big law firms provide an attorney for the initial consultation, then get non-attorneys to work on the case. This could mean that you will be dealing with case managers and paralegals, not the person you see in front of you.
You want to make sure that you have all the facts before you make a decision. Find out exactly who will be working on your case and who you will be dealing with day-to-day. The firm may have an excellent case manager and may do an excellent job on your case, but you don’t want to find out this person is the only person working on your case during a later phone call without prior instruction.
How long do you think it will take to resolve a case like this?
You do not want to turn your personal injury claim into a long, drawn-out affair. A professional and efficient personal injury attorney will be able to bring the case to a swift resolution within a reasonable amount of time. Compare estimates from different attorneys and find out if the estimate they give is a realistic one.
Do you work on a contingency basis?
Before you enter into an agreement with the attorney, you need to understand how they will be paid. The majority of personal injury attorneys do not charge for their services unless you win the case. Then they will take a portion of your compensation to pay for their services. This is called a contingency fee.
Be wary of personal injury attorneys that charge an hourly rate. Paying by the hour will become very expensive and you will have to pay for the attorney’s time even if you do not win the case.
How much is my case worth?
The million-dollar question (metaphorically and sometimes literally). Your attorney should be able to give an estimate on how much your case could be worth. They should also be able to explain how they calculated this figure. This might include medical costs, liability, the severity of the injury, and pre-existing medical conditions.
Be sure to ask for a breakdown of how the attorney arrived at that figure. Some personal injury lawyers will attempt to lure you in with inflated estimates on your case worth.
Above all, you want to find an attorney that puts you at ease. If you cannot relate to your attorney, nor can a jury. They need to be able to clearly explain their logic and reasoning in a non-threatening and understandable way. That is what they will need to do effectively to win your case.