There can be many types of personal injury and almost every case needs a lawyer for getting personal injury claims. Hiring a personal injury lawyer can be tricky, choosing one is a very important decision. Referrals are great but you should do your homework before you hire anyone. Here are 12 questions that you can ask a personal injury lawyer before hiring him.
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1.What Kind Of Cases Does The Lawyer Actually Deal With?
Before hiring any lawyer, know who you are dealing with. Is the lawyer actually a personal injury attorney or is he the expert of some other stream of law? What is the lawyer specialized in? Don’t just believe in an affirmative answer by the lawyer, try to know about his certificates and similar cases that he might have handled previously. You need to affirm that he really knows the subject matter.
2. Does The Concerned Lawyer Try Lawsuits In Court?
It is important to know if he is a well-known advocate in the court and that many people know him. You simply can’t hand over your case to an absolute novice. So a lawyer with right legal background and experience is preferred. Also, try to know if the lawyer already presides over the courthouse where your case is in, and how many cases like yourself he has tried.
3. How Long Has The Lawyer Been Handling Cases Of Personal Injury?
Experience of the lawyer has a great effect on the results of your trial. Anyone would prefer a lawyer who has an experience of 20 years to a lawyer with 2 years of experience. Try to know the tenure of the advocate’s career before hiring him because seasoned advocates are always a better choice.
4. What Will Be The Total Fees And Expenses?
You need to know how much the attorney is charging for your case before you hire him. There are different methods of payment distribution, for example, in a fixed amount, or in hourly rates, etc. Nowadays a trend that most lawyers are following is that of a ‘contingency fee’, which indicates that the lawyer will get paid a portion (mostly one-third) of the amount received by the client after a successful trial. Make sure to know the total fees including small expenses like photocopying, stationery, etc. There are also case expenses like fees for witnesses, court fees, medical record charges, filing fees, and many others.
5. What Will Happen To The Expenses If The Case Is Lost?
Lawyers who are being paid on an hourly basis or in fixed amounts over a period of time, their pay doesn’t depend on the success of the case. Those having a contract of ‘contingency fees’, the payment depends on the advocate’s policy. There are terms like ‘no fee if no recovery’, ‘free initial consultation’, etc that determine the payment of the lawyer.
6. Does The Lawyer Send Solicitation Letters To Clients?
There are several lawyers who send solicitation letters to every personal injury victim by scoring reports from different accident places, from which they find the contact details of the person. A solicitation letter is sent to inform the victim that their law firm is willing to represent that person at the court. Mostly this is done by unsuccessful lawyers who want more clients. It is better to stay clear of this kind of attorneys.
7. What Is The Working Strategy Of The Lawyer?
How does the lawyer work? How will he steer your case of personal injury? You must know all of this before you hire an attorney. The lawyer should explain every detail of the procedures of the case and if he has chosen a particular strategy, with its pros and cons. Also, ask him how long your case will take to get a resolution.
8. Does The Lawyer Have Any Alternatives To A Trial?
There may be solutions like negotiations which can be done prior to the trial or maybe even avoid it. You might come to a mediation with the opposite party with the help of your lawyer, ask him if that’s possible. The process can be made less formal and less costly, maybe also faster.
9. Does The Concerned Lawyer Teach To Other Junior Lawyers?
There are lawyers that teach as professors and lecturers in various law schools, seminars, online classes, etc. and they have more respect than any other junior lawyer. Everyone wants to hear what they want to say. Is your lawyer one of these people? If so, you are in luck, because these lawyers know what they are talking about.
10. Who Will Be Doing The Actual Work?
There is many a lawyer who engages the junior lawyers and associates into any case and himself doesn’t get much involved. Ask the lawyer about who is really going to do the trial and insist that he himself does it. Your lawyer should explain why or how any other representative can try the case and what are the benefits if he transfers the case anyway.
11. How Many Referrals Does The Lawyer Get?
How many references does the advocate get from his previous clients? Were they successful or not? The number of references indicates how good he is at his work. Do some other lawyers also refer him? If you have lawyer friends, consult them too. Choosing the right lawyer helps a lot in the recovery of the situation.
12. How To Keep Communication With The Lawyer?
Ask about where the lawyer practices usually, if he has his own chamber where he can be consulted or not, his contact details and address. Ask him if he can be contacted over the phone for any emergency purposes.
Things To Remember:
- Search for the lawyer’s colleagues and ask what opinion they have about him.
- Find out if the lawyer has ever been accused of any misconduct or corruption.
- Ask about your role and participation in the case.
- Always listen to your gut to choose your lawyer.
There are many benefits of hiring a personal injury lawyer, but don’t make the mistake of choosing a personal injury lawyer from ads alone. Do your research. Choosing the right lawyer may be the key to the success of the case.