8 Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer Before Hiring
Recovering damages for injuries sustained during an accident can be quite challenging. While you may believe that someone else is accountable due to negligence, it is not always easy to prove this type of claim. Retaining a qualified lawyer to represent and defend your interests is an essential part of the process. Of course, not all lawyers have the same level of skill, experience, and knowledge in personal injury cases. Hiring the right personal injury lawyer can provide peace of mind and help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Here are eight questions to ask a personal injury lawyer before hiring.
1. What Area of Law Do You Specialize In?
Many people have the misconception that any lawyer can represent them. Unfortunately, this is not the case. You wouldn’t trust a podiatrist to perform brain surgery, would you? Even though they are both doctors, they specialize in different areas of healthcare. The same concept applies to lawyers. If you are facing a personal injury claim, choose a lawyer that specializes in personal injury law. Lawyers who specialize in personal injury cases possess a set of skills related to this specific area of law.
2. Have You Taken Similar Cases in the Past?
Experience as a personal injury lawyer is highly valuable. Newer lawyers do not have the same amount of experience as established lawyers, and this can make a big difference in the result of your case. Start by asking the lawyer if he has taken personal injury cases that are similar to yours. If so, ask how many similar cases he has taken and what the results were. While a lawyer’s past performance is no guarantee of a successful outcome, it can give you more insight about how the case could turn out.
3. Do You Have Time to Work On My Case?
Some lawyers have a habit of taking many cases and sitting on them until more time opens up. This can cause extensive delays in your case. Of course, not all lawyers will do this. This is why it’s important to carefully choose a lawyer who is honest and has a solid reputation for providing professional service. Ask the personal injury lawyer if he has the time necessary to devote himself to your case. It may be wise to ask how many other cases the lawyer is currently working on.
4. What Is Your Contingency Fee?
Knowing how much you will be expected to pay in fees upfront can help ensure that there are no surprises later on. Personal injury lawyers typically work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will not have to pay fees unless you recover compensation in your lawsuit. Contingency fee agreements generally can range from 25 to 45 percent on average, depending upon the lawyer’s skill level and the complexity of your case. Remember that price does not dictate a good lawyer. Some ‘expensive’ and some ‘cheaper’ lawyers are not worth their salt.
5. How Long Does It Usually Take to Resolve a Case?
While each case is unique, it can be helpful to ask your personal injury lawyer how long it typically takes to resolve cases similar to yours. While the lawyer will not be able to give you an exact timespan, he should be able to provide a rough estimate. This estimate can tell you if the lawyer is committed to resolving your case right away or if he plans to put it on the backburner as he focuses on other cases.
6. How Often Do You Go to Trial?
Not all personal injury cases go to trial. Many times a lawyer will be able to resolve a case without ever walking into a courtroom. Ask your lawyer how often he goes to trial and what the outcomes of these trials are. It’s important to remember that going to trial may be necessary to get the outcome you desire. Some lawyers may recommend taking a lower settlement than you deserve to avoid going to court. It’s best to avoid these types of lawyers. Choose a personal injury lawyer who is willing to go to court and negotiate on your behalf to ensure that you are fairly compensated.
7. Who Will Be Handling My Case?
When you hire a personal injury lawyer to take on your case, you expect that lawyer to complete the bulk of the work. However, this is not always the case. Many times a lawyer will hand the case over to a partner or case manager. While it can sometimes be beneficial for lawyers to share cases, you will want to ensure that you know exactly who will be working on your case and who you should contact if you have questions.
8. How Much Is My Case Actually Worth?
An experienced personal injury lawyer should have a general idea of what your case is worth. Know that the number can be broad as many factors can come into play and impact a personal injury case, such as liability, discovery, and pre-existing medical conditions. You will want to use your own judgement when determining how much you could realistically recover. Be cautious of lawyers who deliver unrealistically high estimates or make impractical promises. Do your own research to see the results of similar cases to get an idea of what your recovery could look like.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Choosing the right personal injury lawyer for your case is crucial. The experience and skill of the lawyer you choose will no doubt be one of the deciding factors in whether you are able to obtain fair compensation for the damages caused by your injuries. With the help of a qualified personal injury attorney, you could be entitled to compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and similar damages. If you need representation from an Atlanta personal injury lawyer, trust the legal experts at The Dixon Firm, P.C.