Hiring a personal injury lawyer for the first time can be a daunting task when you don’t ask the right questions and can’t identify which person has a higher chance of winning your case. Thankfully, you can make the selection process much easier and avoid most of the mistakes people make by using the following set of questions during each interview.
1. Will you personally handle my case?
This is one of the most important questions you should ask a personal injury lawyer who wants to take on your case since some of them outsource their work to other people in their firm who are less qualified than them.
Once this happens, your case could have fewer chances of winning in court, forcing you to take an unfavorable deal in the future or the worst scenario, losing the case entirely.
You should only consider hiring a personal injury lawyer who will personally handle your case at the very least or one who collaborates with other expert lawyers with equal or more experience than him.
2. What are your fees?
You must also ask about their current fees each time you want to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer and compare all of them to find the best deal you can afford within your budget.
In most cases, lawyers will only charge a contingency fee to their clients, which means you will only need to pay something once you receive a decent amount of compensation from your personal injury lawsuit.
This will happen either through an injury settlement with the other party or by directly winning the case and receiving the total compensation you wanted to get in the first place.
On average, when you ask a personal injury lawyer how much they will charge for the contingency fees, most will say between 20% to 40%, depending on the case difficulty and their skill level.
3. What experience do you have with cases like mine?
Another question you need to ask a personal injury lawyer is their level of experience during their career and how many cases like yours they have worked on over the past few years.
You should also ask them about their success rate with personal injury lawsuits or malpractice cases to get a clear overview of the likelihood of you receiving compensation after you hire them.
Doing this will allow you to identify the best lawyer in your area who has a good winning record with all their previous clients and can ensure you get excellent results, regardless of your current situation.
4. What issues do you foresee with my personal injury case?
When interviewing a personal injury lawyer, you should also ask them what issues they foresee with your case and how they can help you solve them to get the best result possible.
Some of these issues could be related to the lack of evidence you currently have, the level of difficulty of your case, the time it will take to get monetary compensation, and more.
The ideal candidate you want to hire for your personal injury lawsuit should be able to identify most of these issues when reviewing all the facts in your case and clearly explain how to move forward from start to finish.
5. Can I call or email you with questions?
The next question you should ask a personal injury lawyer who wants to work on your case is if you can call them or email them with any questions about the lawsuit and their availability during the week.
Doing this will help you improve the communication between you and your lawyer and avoid any misunderstandings while he is working on your case, especially if you want to be personally involved in every step of this process.
However, their availability to receive calls or emails from you will depend on how many clients they manage and how much work they need to do to help you win the case.
6. How and when will you provide updates on my case?
Before hiring a personal injury lawyer, you must ask them how many updates you can receive from the case and how often they will keep you posted on the lawsuit’s progress.
Depending on how they like to work, some lawyers may provide daily updates to their clients, while others prefer to give a few updates every week when something new comes up or when they need to discuss further details about the case.
That’s why you should always ask this question during the interview process and hire a lawyer who you consider to provide the best update options out of all the other candidates.
7. How long do cases like mine typically take to resolve?
Another critical question you should ask during the interview is how long cases like yours typically take until they are fully resolved and what variables could influence the time it takes to get the final verdict.
With the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can get a clear estimate of how long it takes to win the case or reach a settlement with the other party based on their previous experience with similar lawsuits.
However, the total length of the case could increase or decrease depending on the different variables, which include the willingness to settle, the court calendar, or the other party’s behavior.
8. How much time can you devote to my personal injury case?
After asking the previous questions, you should follow up by asking the lawyers who want to work with you how much time they can devote to your personal injury case to see if they are willing to do all the work.
Doing this will help you measure their level of interest in your case and know if they are willing to put 100% of their effort into getting the best results in court.
In the best-case scenario, you should hire a lawyer who wants to work for you full-time and is motivated to help you win the lawsuit against the other party.
If you are still looking for a personal injury lawyer who fits this profile, you can try to get someone similar who is not afraid to work more hours than other candidates and has many years of experience in this field.
9. What is your trial success rate?
Asking questions about their trial success rate can help you confirm your winning chances at court and the compensation you can receive if you decide to hire them as your personal injury lawyer.
You can assess their success rate by seeing the number of favorable verdicts they got for previous clients and all the settlements with positive outcomes where the other party paid for most of the damages.
The more cases they have won as a personal injury lawyer, the better results they will get when seeking compensation in court.
10. Will you recommend a settlement if one is offered?
This is one of the most popular questions for a personal injury lawyer since many people are trying to win their cases and get the most compensation for their lawsuits.
On average, most lawyers will try to settle your case formally or informally to help you get the most benefits without fighting in court for many months or years and reduce the legal cost you must pay during the lawsuit.
However, your lawyer may reject settlement deals if you have a high chance of winning the case or if the conditions offered by the other party are below your bottom line and cannot cover all the damages you suffer.
They will also ask for your opinion about any settlement deals they offer and give you advice on how to get the best results when negotiating with them before you make the final decision.
11. What kind of tactics will you use to win my case?
The next question you should ask the personal injury lawyers during the interview is what kind of tactics they will use to win your case and ensure you get total compensation or at least most of it.
Some strategies may include gathering sufficient evidence against the other party, negotiating with insurance companies to get the best deal, or choosing to go to trial if your case is strong enough to win.
Once you weigh all the pros and cons of the tactics they plan to use in court, you can decide which personal injury lawyer has the best approach to your case and is more likely to help you obtain compensation for all the damages.
12. Will you charge me if we lose?
One of the last questions to ask a personal injury lawyer during the interview process is if they will still charge you for their services if they lose the case in the end.
Depending on your agreement with your lawyer, you may not have to pay for their services when losing your case.
However, you may still have to pay other legal costs unrelated to your attorney’s service fees, including the following:
- Court filing fees
- Administrative/gathering expenses
- Expert witness fees
- And more
These legal costs can be deducted from the compensation you receive for winning your case. However, some lawyers may negotiate for you to pay these legal costs by yourself, depending on the terms of their offer.
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