If you’re in the unfortunate circumstance where you need to hire a personal injury lawyer because of an accident or wrongful death, you’re not alone. Someone gets injured in a drunk driving accident every two minutes. For every sad case, there’s a lawyer out there looking to help you get compensation. How can you know who to hire?
Don’t just call the number of the next television jingle lawyer you hear. Talk with a bunch of attorneys to find out who is best suited for your case and most likely to get you the results you need. Here are five important questions to ask personal injury lawyers the first time you meet with them to go over your situation.
- Have they handled any cases like this before?
Attorneys tend to specialize in certain areas of law. Even within the arena of personal injury settlements, there are types of lawyers who specialize in truck accidents, work accidents, medical malpractice, etc. You’ll want one who is familiar with your needs.
- What is their contingency fee?
Instead of charging a flat rate, most personal injury lawyers collect a percentage of your settlement — which means that they don’t get paid unless you win. Contingency rates are sometimes negotiable.
- How long will the process take?
This is one of the most important questions to ask personal injury lawyers, because their answer may indicate how dedicated they are to your cause. If they’re just trying to build up clients but aren’t taking anyone to court for months, you may wonder if they have the time to actually work with you. It’s important for civil lawsuits to get filed within your state’s statute of limitations — usually around one year from the time of occurrence.
- Will the case actually go to trial?
Up to 96% of cases in personal injury get settled out of court before any trial actually happens. While this might save you a headache, you’re unlikely to get as much money as you would through winning a trial case.
- What will they do for you that other attorneys won’t?
Remember, your initial conversation with any personal injury lawyer is a lot like a job interview. You’re not obligated to hire anyone you talk with — you’re free to shop around. Find out what their services are and what their personalities are like. You want someone willing to work both with you and for you.