Being in an automobile accident can be scary and overwhelming. It is common to consider hiring a personal injury attorney. However, this is an important decision and the outcome of your case can greatly be affected by the attorney that you choose which is why it’s important to interview and select your Personal Injury attorney just as you would interview anyone you were hiring for an important job around your home.
Before your initial consultation, you should make some notes about what you would like to discuss with your attorney, and create a list of questions you may want to ask. It is best if these notes are written down, so you that don’t forget important details. The following are some important questions to ask your attorney:
- What areas of the law do you practice?
Remember, a jack of all trades is a master of none. Consider hiring an attorney and firm that exclusively handles Personal Injury matters.
- What is your opinion of my case?
Listen carefully to the attorneys answer to make sure that they were listening to your story and appear to be applying the law to the facts of your case. Remember, if they weren’t paying attention during your initial interview when they want you the most, how carefully are they going to listen to you later on down the road?
- What is my case worth?
This is sort of a trick question but it’s necessary for you to learn more about how your attorney thinks and how they handle difficult questions. Do they give you a dollar amount? If so, run! No attorney can accurately tell you the value of your case at your initial appointment. What you should be looking for here is an attorney who isn’t trying to ‘sell’ you but instead takes the time to explain that cases are worth different amounts depending on your injuries, treatment, past and future lost wages, etc. It’s important to ask an ‘impossible’ question to learn how the attorney will handle it and be able to express that to you in a respectful manner.
- How long have you been practicing law?
Your personal injury case is very important to you and your family. Consider whether you want a brand new attorney on the file or someone with a decade, or more, of experience.
- What percentage of your personal injury cases do you settle vs. what percentage you litigate? And how many personal injury cases have you taken to jury trial?
This is perhaps the most important question that you can ask while interviewing your personal injury attorney. Insurance carriers know what attorneys settle cases and what attorneys litigate cases through jury trials. Attorneys who litigate have higher settlements even when the case doesn’t go to trial because the insurance companies know that they can and will try the case in court. Be sure to clarify that the attorney you’re interviewing will be the attorney trying the case and that they are not going to bring in another attorney in the days or weeks before trial to do so. Hiring an experienced personal injury trial lawyer who will handle your case from beginning to end is key to obtaining the right result.
- If we do not win the case, will I have to pay you any money?
While most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis (meaning they only get paid if you receive a settlement or verdict), take the time to review the attorney’s contract and confirm that you will not owe any fees or costs should there not be a recovery to you.
Before the meeting ends, feel free to ask the attorney any other questions or concerns that you have. Before you leave the office, look around and take a few mental notes: Was every staff member courteous and professional? Is the office clean and organized?
Once you have met with all the lawyers you are considering, pick the attorney that you feel is the best person to handle your case. Once you have found the best attorney for your case, you are ready to move forward.
Attorney Chelsie M. Lamie is a personal injury attorney located in Safety Harbor, Florida. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident or slip and fall accident, please call 727-501-3464 for a free consultation. You can also learn more about Attorney Lamie at www.chelsielamie.com.