Hiring the right attorney to represent you or a loved one in a personal injury case is a critical factor in a successful recovery. After all, your representation can be the difference in winning your personal injury claim or going home with nothing.
No pressure, though.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and rushed to make decisions or answer to an insurance company following an accident, BUT it’s essential to do some research of your own to hire a trustworthy personal injury attorney.
Beware of those solicitation letters and don’t make the mistake of selecting a personal injury attorney from billboards or ads alone. When you meet with an attorney to discuss your case, here are 9 questions to ask before you hire him:
1. Why did you become a personal injury lawyer?
This answer will reveal the attorney’s character, values, and what motivates him to practice law. Consider whether the answer seems genuine or feigned. This is also the first step in building a relationship of trust with your attorney.
2. Have you tried any personal injury cases similar to mine before?
Don’t assume that the attorney has handled a case like yours before. You know what they say about assuming, right? Ask the attorney to explain his experience, past cases, and outcomes (both favorable and unfavorable) with cases similar to yours. Specialized knowledge and experience lead to better results.
3. If I hire your firm, who will I communicate with most?
It’s important to understand how a firm functions, communicates with and treats its clients. With some law firms, you may meet with the attorney face-to-face for a consultation, but then never get to speak with him again. While at others, you may receive more personalized attention.
4. How long does it take to resolve a personal injury claim?
Ask the attorney about how long it typically takes to resolve a case like yours. While the time frame depends on several factors, an experienced attorney should be able to give you an estimate. Plus, be sure he is committed to devoting ample time to your case and getting the ball rolling as quickly as possible.
5. How much will my case cost me?
Personal injury attorneys usually work on a “contingency fee” basis, which is dependent on a favorable outcome for the client. If the outcome is not favorable for the client, the attorney does not collect a fee. This just means that the attorney will deduct a specified percentage from the final settlement.
Most attorneys will also cover any out-of-pocket case costs and expenses that come up, such as medical records, filing fees, and expert witness fees, and deduct them from the client’s share of the final settlement.
6. How much is my case worth?
An experienced attorney should be able to offer you a rough estimate or range of what is reasonable to expect from financial recovery. However, this valuation varies with each case and is dependent on several factors, such as damages and insurance coverage.
7. Will you go to trial and fight for me?
While many personal injury claims can be resolved through pre-litigation negotiations, this isn’t always the case. Litigation is often necessary to fight for justice, and you want an attorney who will fight for you no matter what it takes to resolve the case in your favor. Follow up this question by asking the attorney about his success rate at trial with cases similar to yours.
8. Can I speak to a past client?
Don’t hesitate to ask the attorney for references. This way you can rely on additional information and ask a third party about their experience with the attorney.
9. Why should I work with your personal injury law firm?
Last, but certainly not least, give the attorney an opportunity to appeal to you and explain what differentiates his firm from all the others. Consider whether or not your beliefs align with his.
All in all, let these questions serve as conversation starters when you consult with potential attorneys about your case. Get to know the attorney and what he stands for. In the end, you want to consider your personal injury attorney as a trusted advisor who will advocate for you, your rights, and your wellbeing.
Contact Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys
Mark Petro of Petro Accident and Injury Attorneys is one of those attorneys who will actually speak with you on the phone and enjoys getting to know his clients in order to serve them better. We believe building a trusting relationship with a client is key to helping them maximize their recovery. Call Mark today for a free consultation!
If you have been injured in a wreck, read Mark Petro’s book before you talk to the insurance adjustor.