6 Questions to Ask Your Personal Injury Attorney
Personal injuries suffered from someone else’s negligent behavior can leave victims struggling. From lost wages to expensive medical treatments, you should not have to pay the price for another person’s carelessness. Whether you were hurt on the job or involved in a traffic accident with a commercial vehicle, consulting with a personal injury attorney is one of the first things you must do. Experienced personal injury lawyers can review your case for free and craft a plan to help you receive fair compensation for your pain and suffering.
Once you identify a personal injury attorney you would like to have handle your case, there are several questions you should ask to ensure you have the best fit to meet your needs. Follow this checklist to find the six most important questions you can ask your personal injury attorney.
Question #1: Do you have time to take my case?
Some lawyers pack their caseloads, which means they rely on paralegals and other legal assistants to help prepare necessary documentation and legal arguments for court cases. If they are wearing themselves too thin, it is the first sign that you may experience difficulty with timely communication and other needs if you hire them to represent you. Having a team to assist in preparing a case is not a disadvantage. The problem occurs when attorneys are so busy that they do not have time to familiarize themselves with the details of your case and rely on the notes of others to present your claims in court or during settlement negotiations. Make certain your attorney has the time and energy to represent you at all levels of your case.
Question #2: Do you have experience in personal injury law?
Just like you would not hire a plumber to do dental work for you, it is never a good idea to hire an attorney without extensive experience in personal injury law. Personal injury lawyers with years of experience have built relationships within the legal community that can be advantageous to winning your case. They also are familiar with case law and can use the success of past cases like yours to help support your legal argument in court. Experienced personal injury attorneys also know when it is best to settle a case out of court. Lawyers with a good track record in settling client cases out of court and aggressively pursuing action in the courtroom when necessary are crucial to the success of your claim.
Question #3: Do you think I have a case?
Never hire an attorney who does not provide an assessment of your case during the free consultation. Attorneys who waste your time and run up the tab knowing the case is likely not going to succeed make it difficult for personal injury lawyers with integrity to build trust with their clients. Atkinson Law Firm is upfront with clients about the likelihood of success in their cases. After discussing the particulars of your case and reviewing all supporting evidence, we provide honest feedback on how much – if any – compensation you are entitled to if you choose to pursue your claim. Our goal is to help you pursue fair compensation, when possible. We always will be honest about your chances before agreeing to take your case.
Question #4: Do I have much involvement in the case?
Personal injury victims hire attorneys because they rely on their expertise to pursue fair compensation on their behalf. To effectively represent clients, personal injury attorneys need to know certain details relevant to the case. This can include:
- Details about the incident and how it occurred.
- Documents from hospitals and insurers relevant to the treatment of your injuries.
- Medical history.
All these things require your participation. Your attorney can collect documents without your assistance but will want to review the information with you to ensure accuracy.
Regardless of whether your attorney prefers a high level of involvement from you or prefers to do most of the leg work themselves, they should frequently communicate their progress and ask for clarification when needed. Ask your attorney for clear guidance on how they view your involvement in the case to ensure your expectations are aligned with their practices.
Question #5: Do you work on retainer or charge an hourly fee?
Most personal injury lawyers agree to work on your case with the agreement of receiving a percentage of any settlement or award. This is known as a contingency fee percentage. It means you do not have to pay an upfront fee for their help on your case. Out-of-pocket costs like expert witnesses, filing fees, and obtaining medical records do not require advance payment from the client. However, some attorneys may require you to reimburse them for these expenses if they lose your case. Make sure you fully understand any agreements your attorney asks you to sign, especially those covering their legal fees for your case.
Question #6: Do you think a settlement is possible?
Most experienced personal injury lawyers will try to reach a settlement for clients to spare them the hassle and anxiety associated with going to trial. If a settlement is a good option, your attorney should present that information and ask if you agree to pursue it. Your personal injury lawyer should never agree to a settlement on your behalf without your consent. When a settlement is not possible or not in your best interests, your attorney can provide a timeline for when your case will go to trial and approximately how long they expect proceedings to take.
Achieve your desired outcome with Atkinson Law Firm
With more than 30 years of experience in personal injury cases in Albuquerque, Scott Atkinson has an excellent track record of getting victims fair compensation for their injuries. Reach out today to schedule your free consultation to discuss the merits of your case. Call us at 505-944-1050 or contact us online to get started.