When you are hurt and seeking a great personal injury lawyer
to handle your case, you may wish to interview up to three possible
lawyers who specialize in your type of case. You would then choose the
lawyer that you feel treats you well and is experienced enough to help
you obtain a fair settlement for your injuries.
- In which areas of the law do you specialize?
Lawyers specialize in specific areas of personal injury law. After you
have briefly outlined your case, ask if they have experience in the area
of personal injury law that will be required. A lack of experience in
your area of law can result in a smaller settlement or worse, no
settlement at all. Examples of specific areas of personal injury law are
motor vehicle accident insurance law; disability insurance law;
accident benefit insurance including catastrophic injury law; slip/trip
and fall or dog bite law and more.
- Have you handled cases like mine before? Was the outcome positive or negative for the victim? What percentage of cases like mine actually go to trial? In general? For your clients?
- If I work with you, will I work directly with you, or will there be others working on my case as well?
Personal Injury lawyers have paralegals, associate lawyers and law
clerks who do work to prepare for the case. It is appropriate that a
busy (in demand) lawyer will have these expert people working with them
on your case.
- How long will my case take based on your experience with this type of case?
Are there any complications in my particular case that may extend that
time period? There are never any guarantees on this but this may give
you a general timeline of how long it takes to negotiate a settlement or
proceed to trial.
- How does the payment work for my case? Is there any upfront payment at all?
Most personal injury lawyers who accept your case will only be paid if
you receive a settlement. That said, a personal injury lawyer is likely
to get a larger settlement than you might be able to negotiate on your
own, so the payment will come out of that larger settlement.
These are the most basic questions to ask your prospective lawyer. There are more in our next post, "5 More Questions to Ask Your Prospective Personal Injury Lawyer",
that will allow you to get even more specific about your needs and
really 'know' the lawyer that you wish to work with. And remember, just
because you meet with a personal injury lawyer, you are under no
obligation to hire that lawyer.
Remember, also, that this
could be an extended and stressful process for you and that the outcome
will dictate your future quality of life and that of your family as
well. Taking the time to interview the right lawyer for you, can be
critical to your outcome.