From a legal perspective, a personal injury caused physical or psychological damage and was caused by someone else’s negligence. You’ll want to hire a professional lawyer for legal counsel in these instances.
But knowing who should represent your case is vital to a successful outcome. Here are eight questions to ask your personal injury lawyer before hiring them.
- 1. Be Clear on Their Specialities
- 2. Ask About Their Background and Experience
- 3. Find Out If They’ve Worked On Similar Cases
- 4. Get Their Honest, Expert Opinion About the Case
- 5. Learn About Their Fees and Payment Structure
- 6. Find Out What Your Role in the Case Is
- 7. Ask About Client Testimonials
- 8. Learn About the Worst-Case Scenario
1. Be Clear on Their Specialities
Before you hire a lawyer, understand their specialties. There have been circumstances where people needed a personal injury lawyer but ended up hiring a criminal defense lawyer.
2. Ask About Their Background and Experience
When hiring the right lawyer, you need to ask about their credentials. You can ask them questions such as:
- Where did you go to law school?
- When did you get licensed to practice?
- How long have you been practicing?
- How long have you been practicing in personal injury, specifically?
3. Find Out If They’ve Worked On Similar Cases
You don’t want someone working on your case with little experience with your type of case. While they may not be able to disclose specific details due to confidentiality rules, they’re allowed to disclose the types of cases along with the outcomes.
For example, if your case is due to an oil drilling personal injury, you want a lawyer who has had successful outcomes in similar case situations.
4. Get Their Honest, Expert Opinion About the Case
A lawyer may find your case unsuitable for them. This is usually because they don’t believe you would have a successful outcome.
It’s important to ask your potential new lawyer what they believe the outcome of your case might be. You’ll also want to ask them about any issues or complications they think could arise. The more honest they are, the more you’ll be able to trust them.
5. Learn About Their Fees and Payment Structure
Each lawyer has their own way of setting up their fee and payment structure. The three basic types include contingency, hourly, or a flat fee.
Contingency means the lawyer will receive a percentage based on your compensation – this is most common in personal injury cases. A flat fee is used when the lawyer is looking for full payment upfront before they begin handling the case. Hourly is as it sounds – you pay your lawyer for each hour you work with them.
6. Find Out What Your Role in the Case Is
It’s hard to hand over all legal responsibility to someone else. You may want to ensure that you have some say in the matter. Open the dialogue about what your role is. Find out the best ways you can help, so you don’t feel like you’re playing the waiting game.
It might also be a good idea to ask how often they intend to keep you posted about the progress. Some lawyers may not want you calling every day, whereas others provide their clients with an open line of communication.
7. Ask About Client Testimonials
Good lawyers understand the importance of referrals and reviews. That’s why so many of them offer testimonials on their website. There are many places to read testimonials about a lawyer.
Ask them where these would be located, so you have proof from past clients as to whether or not they’re a good fit for your case.
8. Learn About the Worst-Case Scenario
Just because you think your case could end well doesn’t mean it will. In the event it doesn’t go in your favor, ask the lawyer what losing your case would entail. There could be other fees you’ll be responsible for, such as medical retrieval fees, filing fees, or other litigation fees.
When selecting a lawyer, you’ll want to have your questions written down ahead of time. This way, you won’t stumble over yourself while trying to make a very important financial and legal decision.
These areas of questioning are just the beginning. Sit down and consider some questions that may be relevant to your personal case before going into a consultation.
When in doubt, always trust your gut. If you don’t feel like a certain lawyer is a good fit, don’t work with them. There are plenty of others out there!