Over 27 million people were treated in emergency rooms for injuries in 2015. Each year, millions face prolonged mental, physical, and financial losses after initial treatment.
If you’ve incurred injuries because of someone else’s carelessness, recklessness, or wrong-doing, you may be entitled to legal compensation.
Below are some important questions to ask personal injury lawyers, including the ideal approach when seeking solutions to your case.
Lawyers are not one-size-fits-all. A bankruptcy lawyer, for instance, would not have the same insights as a personal injury lawyer.
A personal injury lawyer is more likely to understand the ins and outs of your case. They know what information to gather to support your case, including necessary appointments (with doctors who can assess your injuries) or interviews with potential witnesses.
If the lawyer offers a free consultation, you can use this time to get a feel for the lawyer. Ask whether this lawyer is part of a national or state organization. They’re likely part of the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Look up state organizations for more potential certifications.
Lawyers may also list related publications and lectures on their website. If other personal injury lawyers consider this person to be an authority in their field, you’ve got yourself a winner!
Conversely, you don’t want to be blinded by dazzling qualifications, only to find you’ve wasted your efforts on the wrong person. You may find a great lawyer who is board-certified but knows little about civil litigation.
If you believe your injury is a result of negligence, you need a lawyer who is committed to representing your specific needs. You need someone who has spent years tackling similar problems.
When first meeting with a lawyer, feel free to ask for their resume. If your case involves an auto accident, look for similar cases on their list. See how many times they have won a case that went to court.
Ask your potential lawyer to fill you in on tort law and how it applies to your particular case. Can you claim to have suffered loss or harm? Should the focus be on resulting financial losses or emotional distress?
Part of a lawyer’s job is helping you get every penny you deserve. Don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer right-out what your case is worth. If your case isn’t worth much, you won’t be as disappointed later on.
Ask the lawyer how similar cases panned out. They should be able to tell you what a settlement would look like vs. a trial.
You don’t want a lawyer who defaults to settlements every time. If your case is serious, you may get more money by taking your case to trial.
Avoid lawyers who tell you to settle without explanation. If they want a guaranteed payout, settling might appeal to them more. Unfortunately, that could lower the potential amount of money you end up with.
If you see a lawyer on TV, you might call their number thinking they would represent you directly. In reality, most lawyers have a team of junior attorneys and other staff members that help manage caseloads.
Before signing anything, ask if the lawyer plans to personally represent you. If not, they should be transparent about how their team works.
A junior attorney may do just as good of a job. You just don’t want to be surprised when they show up to your proceedings instead of the attorney you expected.
The idea of dragging a case out fills many injury victims with dread. During this time, medical bills, and PTO (or lack thereof) continue to pile up.
A good lawyer will act as if your case could be tried before a jury. They should give you a clear plan on how they will prepare your case, what evidence they need from you, and how long each step will take.
At the end of your consultation, you should know when to expect a call from your lawyer and not the other way around.
If you prefer to settle, though, your lawyer should ultimately respect your wishes. A lawyer may offer you other options, but they shouldn’t press too hard. They represent you, not just their principles.
When you first hire a lawyer, there are several ways you can pay them. One option is an hourly fee. A lawyer may charge upwards of $100 an hour—and that’s without the initial retainer fee.
Paying legal fees by the hour can add up quickly. If you are taking time off work, you may not have money to spare.
Many lawyers also offer contingency fees. The premise behind contingency fees is that you only pay your lawyer if you win. Winning could mean a judgment on your behalf or a monetary settlement.
Contingency fees include a percentage of the money awarded to you. That percentage may motivate your lawyer to fight for a better outcome.
You may want referrals from clients—but is it appropriate to ask for specifics?
A seasoned personal injury lawyer will be forthcoming about past cases (if their jurisdiction allows it). You can either ask to speak with past clients or look for online reviews.
Our online reviews offer specific information on past client experiences, including details about their outcome. We update our review page often to provide the most current information available.
If your case is successful, you decide whether to review your experience. Any sensitive information is protected under law, so you only need to share what you feel comfortable sharing.
Asking a few simple questions can help you find the right fit when looking for an attorney. Whether you find yours through word-of-mouth, a lawyer referral service, or online, you want the most qualified attorney possible.
Our law office is familiar with all aspects of tort law. Our personal injury lawyers offer thorough case evaluations to put your mind at ease.
Contact us today for a free consultation. Let your fight become our fight!
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