1. What is your contingency fee?
Most Personal Injury Attorneys do not charge an hourly rate; instead, they take a percentage of the monetary judgment that the either the court decides or is negotiated with the opposing attorney.
The contingency rate is usually 25% to 40% of the judgment. The attorney and client negotiate the contingency rate that the attorney will receive at the time the contract for services is signed however, some attorneys will charge a flat or hourly rate for their services
2. Will I be responsible for any advanced case costs at all if we lose?
A court case can be expensive; in all cases, there will be paperwork to file with the court and miscellaneous expenses that require payment and in some cases, experts that need to testify. In these cases, the client is responsible for the payment however it can be negotiated with the attorney to pay the fees that are incurred and they are taken from the client’s share of the judgment. It is important to include in your contract that you are not responsible for out of pocket expenses should you lose your case.
3) Have you tried these types of personal injury cases before?
Make sure you ask your attorney what his record in court is; how many cases has he won, how often he goes to court vs. settling, is personal injury law his specialty, does he have references or testimonials from past clients choosing the right personal injury attorney is like a job interview you are hiring them to represent you and it is important that you take control and get the answers to your questions. The personal injury law field is very competitive; just because they have good advertising doesn’t mean they are a good fit with your needs. It is important to do your research before you make a decision.
4. Do you have the time necessary to actually work on my case now?
You may think that a well known attorney will handle your case quickly and efficiently; in most cases that is far from the truth. When you use a well known attorney, you may have to wait longer because they are overloaded with clients.
It is standard practice for them to get a constant influx of new clients and the existing clients have to wait before any work is done on their case. Often, the suit is filed within weeks of the statute of limitations. When this happens, you are waiting for money you and your family needs to survive. It is important that you ask the attorney how much time he has to dedicate to your case.
5. When will my Personal Injury Lawsuit be filed?
When you are interviewing an attorney, ask when your law suit will be filed; all too often, attorneys take a case and then wait as long as they can before filing. If there is no statute of limitations, you can be waiting a long time. More often then not, they work on their older cases and you are left hanging. You want your suit to be filed as soon as possible so ask your attorney how long it will take to file. If they state longer then 2 weeks, it may be a good idea to keep interviewing other attorneys.
6. Will my case actually go to trial and if so when?
Any personal injury attorney should be prepared to go to trial; if your attorney pushed for a settlement from the start, be very careful and fully understand what the settlement consists of. It will be difficult to determine what the compensation is and how long it will take if you do not go to trial however these are relevant questions that need to be answered. It can take up to 3 years or longer in some cases and in others it can be less.
7. What is my case worth?
This perhaps is the most important question you can ask; a good personal injury attorney will have a basic idea of what your case is worth. There will be a lot of questions, documents and medical issues that will be presented however your attorney will be able to keep you apprised of any changes. You can also ask periodically if the goal is still the same. Often attorneys will give a figure that is unrealistic just to get your business. If you think the figure is too high question him or her on it.
8. Will you be the actual attorney handling my case?
Often, the attorney that you meet with is not the attorney that will handle your case. Big law firms have young, personable confident attorneys meet with you to sign you up. Make sure you meet the attorney that will be handling your case from the start to make sure that he or she is someone you will get along with. A lot of times, you will meet with a managing partner only to find out later that an associate is handling your case.
9. What will my participation in the lawsuit be?
Being an active part in your litigation is important; make sure you ask your attorney what your role will be. You want to assist your attorney as much as possible however some attorneys have a set pattern on how they proceed and do not want client participation. Make sure that your role is clearly defined before you hire an attorney.
10. Will you get me more money than other attorneys and why?
When you hire a personal injury attorney it is about being compensated for an accident or injury. You want to get the maximum amount possible and hiring the right personal injury attorney is the most effective way to do that. You will only get one shot at a lawsuit and the right attorney will be able to do just that. Before you hire an attorney, create a list of questions that you want answered and make sure everyone you interview can answer all of them to your satisfaction.
Time is sensitive in personal injury cases, call us today for a Free confidential consultation about your case.
To find out how much you can expect to receive if you succeed in your claim, contact the personal injury attorney s at Ford & Laurel. Arrange for a free case evaluation with a member of our legal team today!