10 Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Attorney Before Hiring Them
When it comes to hiring a personal injury attorney, you have to be careful. Don’t just go with a lawyer because you like their TV commercial, or they showed up first on your Google search. Finding the right attorney, one who will be able to not only tell you what to expect in your case, but will also provide effective representation, will be critical.
At The Jones Law Group, we’ve helped people for years. We have a lot of experience in personal injury law, and we know how to help our clients obtain the compensation they deserve. If you would like to learn more about how we will work for you, please contact us online or give us a call at (727) 571-1333.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choice, you’ll want to make sure you ask the right questions before hiring any attorney. Here are 10 for you to consider.
1. How Much Do You Charge for Your Services? Do I have to Pay Upfront?
In most cases, a personal injury attorney will work on what’s known as a “contingency fee” basis. All this means is that you won’t pay a dime unless you win your lawsuit, and recover the monetary damages you’re seeking.
If your case is successful, then your attorney will receive a percentage of whatever you win. On average, attorneys will receive anywhere from 25-40% percent of a client’s award.
This percentage could play a role in your ultimate decision, because it could be an indication of the effectiveness of the attorney. If they say they’ll only charge you 25%, that could be a sign they either don’t have a lot of experience in this area of the law, or they don’t have a strong track record of success.
2. How Long Have You Been Practicing? What is Your Experience?
You obviously want the most skilled attorney you can find, one who is extremely familiar with the type of case you have. Also, you want a legal representative who will help you avoid some of the pitfalls that could damage your case, because they’ve “been there and done that,” so to speak, and they know how to win.
Just like you’d want a doctor to have experience performing a type of surgery you may need, you’d feel a lot better with an attorney who’s had success. Some clients are hesitant to ask about experience and track record – don’t be one of them. You have the right to know.
3. Have You Handled Similar Personal Injury Cases Before? What Were Their Outcomes?
This ties in with the overall experience question above. Get the details regarding how often the attorney has handled your specific type of case. There are differences, for example, between car accidents and truck accidents. There are differences between slip and fall cases and motorcycle accidents. Don’t assume the attorney you’re talking to has that experience – always ask.
4. Do You Have Experience Taking Cases to Trial?
There’s a very high likelihood that your personal injury case won’t have to go to trial. But you want to make sure your attorney has the experience to win a case in a courtroom if yours gets to that point. Never hire an attorney from a law firm that’s known as a “settlement mill.” These kinds of firms take on a huge volume of cases and quickly accept settlements from insurance companies – often severely shortchanging their clients in the process.
5. Are There Any Difficulties You Can See With My Case?
The best attorneys will be honest with you at all times. Every personal injury case has unique challenges. Your attorney should tell you the challenges that exist in your case. Attorneys who promise their clients that winning will be easy aren’t very reputable. A successful attorney, one who has a solid record of winning cases, will be upfront. They’ll clearly spell out the challenges, and then tell you their plan to meet them.
6. Do You Have Any References?
A reputable attorney will also be happy to provide references from former clients. Never just rely on what has been written on an attorney’s website, or what that attorney says in a TV commercial. All of that material has been heavily edited. Get the straight story from people that the attorney has represented.
7. Will I Owe You Money if I Lose My Case?
You’ll hear a lot of attorneys say that you won’t owe anything unless you win your case. But if you lose, there could still be expenses. These include fees for filing your case, retrieving your medical records, and more. Ask your attorney upfront whether or not you’ll be responsible for those fees, as well as any other expenses, if your case doesn’t go the way you want.
8. What is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
No trustworthy attorney will ever make any promises regarding how much money you’ll receive if you win your case. However, a good attorney will have a general idea of what you’ll get if your case results in a positive outcome. Skilled attorneys will tell you beforehand that there are a lot of factors that go into determining the value of a claim. But if any of them promise that you’ll win a certain amount, scratch them off of your list immediately.
9. Are You Willing to Take My Case to Trial If Needed?
Again, you’ll need an attorney who will be willing to take your case into a court of law if the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement. Actually, your attorney should expect it to occur – even if most cases eventually settle. By taking that approach, your attorney will work hard to gather as much evidence as possible on your behalf. The stronger your evidence, the stronger your case will be.
10. Who Can I Talk to About My Case Today?
You want to talk to an attorney as soon as you can. The faster you act to hire a legal representative, the sooner that attorney can investigate your case and uncover critical evidence. At The Jones Law Group, we’ll do everything we can to give you the information you need as quickly as possible. Please use our online contact form or call (727) 571-1333 for a free case review.