How To Interview A Personal Injury Attorney
Usually being in pain and in a vulnerable state, many clients are intimidated when they first meet their prospective personal injury attorney. The main thing to remember is that you are the one interviewing the attorney for a job, not the other way around. Asking the right questions can help you make a potentially important financial decision.
How Much is Your Contingency Fee?
A contingency fee is a percentage of the settlement that is paid to the attorney. Never hire a personal injury attorney who will not work on a contingency basis. Contingency fee agreements are negotiable, depending on the strength and complexity of your case, and the severity of the damages, so don't necessarily settle for the first figure you're given.
Who is Responsible for Out-of-Pocket Expenses?
Usually, costs are reimbursable to the attorney from the award if the case is won. A reputable and stable personal injury attorney should always cover out-of-pocket expenses if he loses the case. Ask for a guarantee in writing that you will not be held responsible for costs, and walk away from any attorney who asks for money up front.
How Many of This Type of Case Have You Tried?
Unfortunately, personal injury is a sideline for some attorneys during slow periods. Ask the attorney to show you proof of his experience and results. Ask for permission, if possible, to speak to former clients.
How Much Time Do You Have for My Case?
This question is especially important if you are dealing with a lawyer who does a lot of advertising, and who may spend more time bringing in new clients than working on current cases. They will put new cases on a back burner until the last minute, which is never in your favor. Ask how many cases he has pending, and if he will personally be working on your case, or assigning it to an associate. You don't want to hire the sorcerer only to be handed over to the apprentice.
When Will My Case Be Filed?
This question is important, and the followup question to this is "When will my case go to trial?" Beware of any lawyer who puts off filing your case or tells you your case will probably settle before trial. Ask him how many cases he has taken to trial and what his results were in court. A reputable personal injury attorney or law firm should file your case quickly and always be willing to take it to trial.
If you have been injured and are looking for a personal injury attorney, remember that you are in charge of hiring. Ask these and other questions, and if you don't get acceptable answers, walk away. Only hire a reputable lawyer who treats you with professionalism and respect.