One moment you’re happily making your way through life; the next, something happens, and life will never be the same again.
In 2020, 4.8 million people were injured in car crashes, and thousands more got hurt in supermarkets, public buildings, and other supposedly safe areas. If someone else’s negligence caused your accident, you have the right to pursue compensation.
With so many personal injury attorneys competing for your business, knowing which way to turn can be hard. That’s why we’ve put together a set of seven questions to ask a personal injury attorney. These questions will separate the best from the rest and get you on the road to financial recovery.
1. Which Areas of Law Do You Practice?
Every accident is unique, but they generally fall into broad areas of law. For example, one personal injury attorney may focus on workplace accidents, while another works with slip-and-fall and auto accidents. Not all personal injury lawyers can answer workplace accident questions or have the needed experience.
Therefore, it pays to do a little research and make sure you choose a firm that is qualified to answer your questions.
You can search for a local accident attorney near me and then narrow the search by their specialties. If you have car accident questions, remember that many law firms break this area down further. Look for a lawyer that specializes in your particular type of accident, such as:
- Truck accident
- Uber/Lyft accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Bicycle accident
- Pedestrian accident
Once you’ve found the right fit, take advantage of free case consultations. Most attorneys offer this service, allowing you to ask more questions.
2. What Challenges Do You Foresee?
When you go to an attorney with personal injury questions, you should expect a frank discussion. The attorney should be realistic about your chances of success.
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning that they won’t get paid unless they win. This means that they will only take on cases they feel have a high chance of success. But even if they’re willing to take on your case, it’s still good to ask them about the challenges.
Every personal injury claim will have challenges to overcome. Usually, these are questions of proving liability or justifying the amount of compensation requested. Your attorney should be able to foresee these challenges right off the bat.
If they can’t, this could be a warning sign. They may lack the experience and knowledge to handle your case. This is just one reason why it’s a good idea to interview a few lawyers before making your final decision.
3. Who Will Handle My Case?
This is an important question because the lawyer you meet and discuss your car accident questions with may not be the one who handles your case. As a result, you may feel completely confident in that attorney, only to find that a paralegal or a different attorney is actually handling your case. Even worse, your case could be farmed out to another law firm altogether.
In reality, law firms use legal teams comprising attorneys, paralegals, investigators, and secretarial staff to get the job done. So it’s not realistic to expect one person to handle every aspect of your case.
That said, you have every right to ask who will be overseeing the process. Also, make sure that you can contact the lead attorney at any time for updates.
4. How Much Compensation Could I Win?
Again, every case is unique, and the level of compensation you achieve will depend on several factors. These variables may include:
- The severity of your injuries
- How much you were personally at fault for the accident
- The extent of lost earnings
- Whether you can claim non-economic damages
Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and disfigurement. You cannot claim these damages in all personal injury cases. However, your lawyer can advise you on whether a claim is possible in your case.
A personal injury attorney should be able to give you a ballpark figure for the compensation you may achieve. But remember, nothing is set in stone. The final settlement will be either negotiated by your attorneys with the insurance company or determined in court by a judge or jury.
5. What Is Your Firm’s Success Rate?
The most reputable firms are rightly proud of their success rates. Naturally, they’ll be happy to share their headline figure. But also, don’t be afraid to ask a personal injury attorney about their individual success rate.
Remember, you’ve probably got one shot to make a successful personal injury claim. Therefore, it’s important to feel confident that you have the most competent legal team on your side. Asking questions before signing on the dotted line could help you file your claim with confidence.
6. Can I Speak With a Former Client?
The best attorneys leave a whole host of satisfied customers in their wake. These attorneys should be able to provide you with the details of several former clients who are happy to talk with you about their experience.
On the other hand, if they can’t find a single one for you to talk to, that’s not a good sign. Instead, it probably means it’s time to keep on searching.
7. What Are Your Fees?
A contingency fee arrangement means that you won’t pay a penny upfront. If the attorney successfully secures a settlement on your behalf, you will then pay them your fee out of your settlement. The exact amount varies from firm to firm but could be as much as 50%.
Beware also of costs. These can include phone calls, stationery, investigator fees, and more. If your contract does not include fees, you must also pay these out of your settlement.
These costs can add up quickly, so ask your attorney to be upfront about whether these are included in the fee.
The most reputable attorneys want you to be happy from start to finish. They will be open about all fees and costs. Only sign a contract if you are happy to proceed with its terms.
Find the Right Personal Injury Attorney For You
Choosing the right personal injury attorney could make the difference between securing a great settlement and walking away empty-handed.
No personal injury attorney can guarantee success. However, the most experienced attorneys can spot the challenges in your case and have the expertise to overcome them. This will give you the best chance of a positive outcome, setting you up for a more secure future.
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