If you’ve been physically or psychologically injured because of the wrongdoing or negligence of another person, company, or entity, you need a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer can handle car, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, wrongful deaths, and a bunch of other personal injury suits depending on the circumstances of your case.
But hiring a good lawyer can be a difficult task. You want to work with someone who is trustworthy, knowledgeable, and experienced so that you have the best possible chance to win your case. With so many lawyers out there, though, it might be tough to pick the right one. So it’s important to know the best questions to ask to make your selection.
Here are 5 questions you should ask when hiring a personal injury lawyer:
1. Have you handled this type of personal injury case before?
In order to win your case, a personal injury lawyer needs to understand the ins and outs of the law as it relates directly to your case. If a lawyer hasn’t previously tried a case similar to yours, how can you expect them to do well? Ask your lawyer about their experience with your type of case and their results. If you can, speak to former clients to see if they were satisfied with the lawyer’s representation.
2.What is your contingency fee?
In most cases, personal injury claims are based on a contingency fee agreement. What that means is that your lawyer won’t get paid unless you receive a monetary settlement. If your case is winnable, a lawyer will want to take the case on with a contingency fee, but you need to know what that fee will be. Typically, contingency fees range from 25% to 40% of the settlement. But they’re also negotiable. Depending on how strong your case is and how much you might be able to collect in damages, the more negotiable the fee is.
3. If we lose, will I have to pay anything?
Lawyers can charge their clients for any advanced costs in addition to having a contingency fee agreement. If you win, these fees will most likely be deducted from your share of the settlement. If you lose, you might have to pay those fees out of your own pocket. If you are not sure what your lawyer’s policy is on this, the best thing to do is ask.
4. Do you have time to work on my case now?
This is important because, most likely, you want to get started on your case quickly. Some lawyers like to have a lot of clients and then wait a year or longer – just before the statute of limitations expires – to file suit. Waiting can be detrimental to your case and delay money that you’re entitled to. Ask a lawyer if he or she has the time to spend on your case and when they will file. Find out how many other pending cases the lawyer has and how much time they’re going to be able to put in.
5. How much is my case worth?
Even though a lawyer won’t be able to pinpoint the exact amount, a lawyer should be able to give you a realistic estimate and explain why he or she believes you should get that amount, as well as any unknown factors that could affect the settlement. You only get to try your case once, so you want to make sure that your lawyer gives you the best opportunity and outcome possible. But you should be able to judge if a lawyer is making promises that seem improbable.
If you’ve been injured, hiring a personal injury lawyer might seem daunting. But if you can ask your lawyer some straightforward questions and get some straightforward answers, selecting the right lawyer will be that much easier. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today to discuss your case and all the options available.
About the Author:
Attorney Julie Schrank Luhrsen attributes her successes both as a lawyer and also as a leader to the training and experience she obtained while serving as an active-duty Army JAG lawyer. Beyond the many cases she tried, she learned invaluable lessons about leadership and teamwork that she uses daily at her firm and on behalf of her personal injury clients. While proud to hold a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating, her most gratifying accomplishment was to be the recipient of the American Bar Association’s Legal Assistance for Military Personnel award. In practice in Florida for over 15 years, Julie focuses on representing the injured and providing them the support and legal guidance needed to attain the best result possible. She welcomes the chance to help Florida families recover after serious accidents and from legal wrongs.