Choosing a personal injury attorney to handle your injury case can be challenging.
You want to ensure that the lawyer you choose has excellent qualifications and a successful record of recovering fair settlements for clients.
Asking the right questions during a free consultation is one of the best ways to help you know if the personal injury lawyer is the right attorney for you.
Questions to Ask Before You Hire an Attorney
Six questions that need to be on your list of questions to ask during a free consultation are:
1. What Type of Personal Injury Cases Do You Handle?
A personal injury lawyer may handle a variety of personal injury cases. Examples of cases involving personal injury claims include, but are not limited to:
- Product liability claims (defective products, dangerous drugs, defective medical devices, etc.)
- Slip and fall accidents and other premises liability claims
- Motor vehicle accidents involving cars, pedestrians, trucks, bicycles, and motorcycles
- Dog bites and dog attacks
- Cases involving assault
- Boating accidents
- Birth injuries
- Medical malpractice claims
- Nursing home abuse
There are similarities between the different types of personal injury claims.
However, there are some significant differences. You want an attorney who handles the type of case that caused your injury.
Having a lawyer who has experience in the area of law that applies to your case benefits you in several ways. The attorney has a thorough understanding of the legal requirements to prove the cause of action against the party who caused your injury.
The attorney has also developed substantial resources, processes, and skills handling similar claims that benefit you in your current case.
2. What is Your Fee Structure?
Many personal injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis. You do not pay any attorneys’ fees until and unless the lawyer recovers money for your claim with a contingency fee. However, contingency fee agreements vary.
The attorneys’ fee is based on a percentage of your total recovery for your claim. Attorneys may charge different percentages for contingency fees. Additionally, confirm with the lawyer whether the percentage of the contingency fee changes if the attorney files a personal injury lawsuit and the matter goes to court.
The costs of the case can include deposition fees, copies, postage, investigator fees, etc. Some lawyers require clients to pay the costs of the case even if the attorney does not recover money for the claim. A lawyer could also require that a client pays the costs of the case as the costs are incurred.
Be absolutely clear about what money you will owe the attorney for fees and costs if you receive compensation for your claim and if you do not receive compensation for your claim.
3. How Much is My Claim Worth?
Asking the lawyer how much your claim is worth can be a good indication of whether your attorney is honest about your case or merely wants you to hire him.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will tell you that he cannot give you an exact value for your personal injury claim until he investigates the case. Many factors could impact the value of your claim, such as:
- Whether you could be partially at fault for the cause of your injuries
- The policy limits of available liability insurance policies
- The parties involved in your claim, such as government entities versus private parties or corporations
- The type and severity of your injuries, and whether you sustained a permanent disability
- The total amount of your financial losses and damages
Your attorney will calculate the value of your personal injury claim after he completes a comprehensive accident investigation, which includes gathering evidence of liability and fault, talking with your doctors, analyzing the applicable laws, and reviewing all other factors that could impact the amount of money you can receive for your claim.
Telling you how much your claim is worth before performing the work required to maximize your claim’s value is not a good indication that the lawyer has your best interests in mind.
4. How Often Do You Go to Trial for Personal Injury Claims?
Many personal injury claims settle without the need to file a personal injury lawsuit or go to court. However, you want to hire a personal injury lawyer who has experience handling claims inside and outside of a courtroom.
A successful personal injury lawyer is a skilled, shrewd negotiator. He understands how to use the case’s strengths and weaknesses to negotiate the best possible settlement offer for your injury claim. He is well-versed in the techniques and skills of successful negotiations.
However, you also want a lawyer who is an experienced, aggressive trial litigator if you need to file a personal injury lawsuit. A trial litigator understands the law, but he also understands how to convince jurors that his client deserves maximum compensation after being injured because of negligence or wrongdoing. Make sure to ask about the cases that the attorney has taken to court and the outcomes of those cases.
5. How Long Have You Been Practicing Law?
There are some things that law school cannot teach a lawyer. A good legal education is just one factor in choosing an attorney to handle your personal injury case.
Experience handling personal injury cases gives the attorney unique knowledge of the claims process, how juries might respond to certain cases, how judges rule in local courts, and how certain insurance companies handle injury claims. Experience also helps an attorney to become more efficient in handling cases.
6. Who Will Handle My Case in Your Office?
Successful attorneys build a law firm with exceptional legal professionals who assist the attorney with cases. However, when you hire a lawyer based on the lawyer’s qualifications, you want to know that the attorney will handle your case. When you have questions or concerns, you want to feel assured that you can speak with the attorney, if necessary.
It is common and expected for attorneys to utilize their staff members, but you want to confirm that the lawyer will be the person in control of your case at all times. The attorney will supervise all aspects of the case so that important legal decisions are not overlooked or mishandled.
Contact Our Alabama Personal Injury Attorneys for a Free Consultation
You need to feel comfortable talking to the attorney. The attorney should listen to your story before offering advice or suggestions about your case. He should also take the time to address your concerns and answer your questions.
If you do not feel as if you can effectively communicate with the attorney, you may want to keep searching for a personal injury lawyer. Effective communication throughout your personal injury case is a vital factor in the success of your case. You and your lawyer need to be able to work together to build a strong case against the person who caused your injury.
If you have questions or concerns about a personal injury case, you can contact our Alabama personal injury lawyers for a free consultation. We care about what happened to you, and we want to help.