You wouldn’t want to hire a surveyor to do your plumbing or a carpenter to handle your untidy garden, would you? The same goes when hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you in a case such as a bicycle accident. Tussles with insurance companies for compensation can get tiring along with negotiations for a reasonable settlement.
One should never file an injury lawsuit without consulting a personal injury lawyer first. Your lawyer will be someone, whom you can confide in, trust and know that they know what they’re doing. But there are so many lawyers out there, how do you find the right one for you and your budget?
Here are 10 questions you should be asking your attorney before hiring him or her:
1. How long have you been practicing?
Although this shouldn’t be the deciding factor on whether you hire them or not, some clients will prefer more experienced attorneys. Some people, on the other hand, might give a chance to a hardworking newbie. Either way, you want to be sure that the lawyer involved is knowledgeable about the nature of your case.
2. How many cases do you typically handle?
If your injury attorney is taking on a lot of cases, chances are that your case might take forever to be handled. You want to make sure that he or she has the time and resources to dedicate to your claim(s), whenever proceedings get started.
3. Do I have a legitimate case?
After assessing the damage done in your accident, your personal injury lawyer should be able to tell you if your claim can be settled outside of court. If it must be taken to court, make sure they are ready to handle it when the time comes.
4. Have you ever handled a case similar to mine?
The more a lawyer knows about your type of case, the better. It is that simple.
The more cases he or she has handled, that have similar factors as yours, the better. Such lawyers will know how to maneuver tactics by insurance companies. While working their way around other litigation procedures.
5. How much is my case worth?
A good personal injury lawyer should be able to provide an idea of your case’s financial worth. The least any lawyer can do is to explain how factors, such as liabilities and underlying medical issues can impact a case. Steer clear of lawyers who make unrealistic estimates and bogus claims and go for a lawyer that is going to give you the facts.
6. How long is this process going to be?
Personal injury cases can be resolved in month or over years, depending on the case or when you file your claim. Consult with your lawyer for an exact time frame, they should know and be prepared for the length of the legal process, no matter how long it is.
7. How much is this going to cost me?
Don’t worry, your lawyer will surely bring this up at some point, even if you forget. In most cases, a portion of the monetary settlement (as much as 30%) will also be used to foot the bill.
Some lawyers might not demand payment if your case is lost. However, you must ascertain this and avoid making assumptions.
8. How do I contact you?
The exchange of information is very important between both parties. Find out if they are more of an email, text, or phone call kind of person. Make sure you find out what day of the week is best for discussions or quick questions. You want to make sure you can get a hold of them when you need them or have a question or need an update.
9. Who will be handling my case?
Some law firms will tout clients with promises of senior partners only to have a rookie show up once the trial starts. Confirm which lawyer will be assigned to your case and research his or her background. Mainly, you want to look for disciplinary issues and competence.
10. How involved will I be during the trial?
Some individuals would like to leave their case to their lawyers and stay silent. On the other hand, some clients want to be immersed in all the meetings and briefings that pertain to their case. It is important to discuss if your attorney will let you in on just more than over-the-phone talks and coffee meetings.
Hiring a proper personal injury attorney can seem quite daunting. If there’s one point to take away from here, it should be that one needs to do a lot of research before signing any dotted lines.