If you’ve recently been involved in a road accident, a slip-and-fall that left you injured, or the victim of an animal bite, it’s time to find a personal injury lawyer.
This realm of law is centered on helping the victims of accidents get back on their feet. Personal injury lawyers can help you present your case in a court of law to claim fault against the other party and gain compensation for your medical bills, personal property, trauma, and more.
But, you have to know how to choose a personal injury lawyer before you start putting your case together. Finding the best person to represent you is a crucial part of winning your case.
To help you overcome the accident you’ve recently experienced, here are ten questions you need to ask a PI lawyer before hiring them.
Some attorneys practice personal injury as well as worker’s compensation and family law. They’re well-versed in many aspects of legal support and have the ability to present your case well.
Others specialize just in personal injury, but the ones you need to watch out for are those who have no experience with this kind of law at all. You can’t hire a divorce attorney to support your case or a corporate lawyer. You need someone who understands the ins and outs of personal injury, someone who’s been operating in this legal space for a significant amount of time.
It’s one thing to have been a personal injury lawyer for many years and another to be a successful personal injury lawyer. While attorneys can’t go into too many specifics about previous cases, they can tell you how often they’ve succeeded at defending their clients.
Be sure you ask about this. It does you no good to hire someone with years of “experience” if they don’t have a good success rate to show for themselves.
While you’re on the subject of case success, ask for specific reviews. This helps you get an idea of what a personal injury lawyer can do for you from the perspective of a past client. It then becomes easier to understand an attorney’s work ethic and way of doing things, which you should be comfortable with before hiring them.
Another topic that’s good to bring up is cases that are similar to yours.
Again, there’s a fine line between what an attorney can share and what is confidential. But, they should be able to give you the basics of the last construction-related injury case or sexual abuse case they presented and won.
This is an important part of the selection process, considering personal injury can cover a wide range of accidents. You want to focus on finding someone who has recent experience dealing with what you’ve just been through.
The key thing about how to choose a personal injury lawyer is to make sure you’re actually going to be working with whom you’re speaking to. Some law offices assign many attorneys to a single case, which makes it easy for things to get lost through the grapevine. Or, they bring on interns to support the case.
But, it’s best to work with the same attorney from start to finish. Ensure this is possible for you by double-checking who will be handling your case.
Once you’ve set basic expectations with the handful of attornies you’re thinking about hiring, talk to each one about the communication process. This makes sure you don’t get a hands-off lawyer. You want to find someone who will update and educate you every step of the way during your case.
As good as it is to find a lawyer who is proactive about communicating with you, you also want them to be receptive to your questions and concerns. So, make sure you have an open line of communication with your personal injury lawyer both ways.
Ask what their availability for phone calls is during the day and how quickly they usually respond to emails. The last thing you want is to choose a personal injury lawyer who gives you the go-around just to get a simple question answered!
Here’s a trick question worth asking: “are you sure you can win this case?”
Any reputable lawyer understands not to guarantee a certain outcome. They can guarantee to do their best and to present all the facts, but they shouldn’t give you an “absolute” result.
If someone does try to offer this, keep looking. You don’t want to fall into the false promise of a sub-par personal injury lawyer.
Just when you think you’ve found the ideal personal injury lawyer for your case, ask them about fees and payments.
Most attorneys will wait to bill you after the case is complete.
In fact, they can set up their payment as a percentage of the compensation you receive, if any. There are even some lawyers who won’t bill you unless the case is won, which is nice if you’re operating on a tight budget.
The final question to ask is one of the most important. A personal injury lawyer can only do their job well when they have a good professional connection with their client.
As such, you need to have an understanding of your part in the case before moving forward. Ask the attorney what he/she needs from you in terms of paperwork, communication, and any additional information.
If you or a loved one have recently been in an accident – what are you waiting for? The sooner you present your case in the court of law, the better. Use the above tips on how to choose a personal injury lawyer to get things going.
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