Stephen Hasner | Personal Injury | October 10, 2020
If another party causes you an injury, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Hiring a personal injury lawyer near you can help ensure that your legal rights are protected. An attorney can also advise whether the insurance company is acting in good faith to settle the personal injury claim.
However, choosing a personal injury lawyer can be challenging. How do you know if the attorney is the best attorney to handle your case? You interview the attorney during the free consultation by asking specific questions.
Six Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
When meeting with a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation, these questions can help you determine whether you want to retain the attorney to handle your accident claim.
1. What Types of Cases Do You Handle?
You want to hire an attorney who handles the same types of cases like your case. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer to handle a personal injury case would not be advisable. Also, you want to search for an attorney who handles cases involving the same type of injury as your injury.
For example, if your injury was caused by medical malpractice, you want to hire a medical malpractice lawyer. On the other hand, if you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you want to hire a motorcycle accident attorney.
A personal injury attorney with experience handling cases similar to your case knows the laws involved in the case. The attorney has also developed skills and resources that can help with your case.
2. What are Your Fees and Costs?
Most personal injury lawyers handle cases on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee is based on a percentage of the personal injury settlement or jury verdict.
The attorney receives his fees when he recovers money for your injury claim. If the attorney does not recover money for your claim, the attorney is not paid for his services.
However, an attorney could charge by the hour. Hourly fees are payable regardless of the outcome of your case.
The costs of the case are different from the attorneys’ fees. Costs include deposition fees, copy costs, investigator fees, expert witness fees, court filing fees, and travel costs. Make sure you ask about the costs of the case because you could be responsible for those costs even if the attorney does not recover money for your personal injury claim.
3. How Long Will it Take to Settle My Personal Injury Case?
Many factors impact how long it can take to settle a personal injury claim. One of the most important factors is your medical treatment.
You never want to settle a personal injury claim before you complete treatment for your injuries. It is impossible to know the extent of the damages until your doctor releases you and provides an impairment rating. Also, you cannot know the financial damages until you complete medical care.
Some personal injury cases could take longer to complete because of the case’s complexity or the parties involved. For instance, a simple car accident case might not take as long to settle as a birth injury case.
Search for a personal injury lawyer who is honest with you. An attorney cannot tell you exactly how long it will take to resolve your case. However, the attorney should explain that the lawyer will settle the case as quickly as possible without jeopardizing your best interests.
4. What Damages am I Entitled to Receive for My Injuries?
An experienced personal injury lawyer will tell you that he cannot give you a specific amount that your case is worth until he completes an investigation. However, the attorney can discuss the types of damages you might receive for a personal injury case.
Most accident victims are entitled to receive compensation for:
- Past and future medical costs
- Past and future loss of income
- A decrease in earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and permanent disability
- Mental trauma and emotional distress
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
The attorney can also explain how pain and suffering damages are calculated versus calculating economic losses.
5. How Often Do Cases Proceed to Trial?
Most personal injury cases settle outside of court. However, some cases go to trial.
Ask the personal injury lawyer how often his cases go to trial. You want a talented negotiator to settle your injury claim, but you also want a skilled, experienced, and aggressive trial attorney if your case goes to court.
While you discuss the answer to this question, ask the attorney about his success rate inside and outside of court.
6. How Will We Communicate About My Personal Injury Claim?
Good communication during a personal injury case is essential. You want to ensure that you will be able to get answers to your questions and someone will address your concerns promptly.
When discussing how you will communicate with your lawyer, make sure to ask how often you can expect to receive updates about your case. You are entitled to regular updates, even when there is not much to report.
You Can Consult with More Than One Personal Injury Lawyer
Before you decide to hire a personal injury attorney, you might want to meet with several lawyers. Try to avoid making a decision during your free consultation. Take some time to think about what you learned and compare each attorney before choosing a personal injury lawyer to handle your case.