Personal injuries are one of the most common reasons for torts being pursued in court. A personal injury is one that occurs to the body rather than to personal property. When someone is injured, they often have a lot of questions regarding their pursuit of fair compensation.
Knowing what questions should you ask a personal injury lawyer is essential for ensuring you get legal help.
What Should You Know Before Hiring a Lawyer?
While some injured victims attempt to pursue compensation without the aid of a lawyer, this is not the wisest choice. Many victims are ignorant of the law and the rights they hold. When someone is not knowledgeable about their rights, they may inadvertently allow them to be trampled upon by the court system.
It is essential that victims understand personal injury lawyers often work on contingency. If you hire a lawyer on contingency, this means there will be no upfront costs. You will not be forced to pay attorney’s fees unless your case is won. The payment for the lawyer will come out of the awarded compensation. It is wise to ask your lawyers to offer a contingent agreement if one has not been provided.
Consultation appointments are an excellent place to start because they are informative. They are also free. Most lawyers do not charge new clients for a personal injury consultation. Here, you will know what questions to ask a lawyer so you can gain information.
Hiring an attorney helps to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process of pursuing the tort. Those who hire a personal injury lawyer are often able to secure a more substantial amount of compensation, though this is not guaranteed. Knowing what questions to ask a personal injury lawyer will help you to be prepared to receive the legal help you need.
What Questions Should You Ask Before Hiring a Lawyer?
One of the most important decisions you will make as an injured victim is hiring a lawyer. Personal injury lawyers work as advocates for their clients. They protect their injured clients’ rights and work to pursue the fairest outcome possible. The questions we ask can help to ensure victims are prepared and ready to act.
Consider the following questions to ensure you make the right choice in lawyers.
- What are the fees? Although most personal injury lawyers work on contingency agreements, there will be fees involved if you win. (1) Most lawyers will take a percentage of the award, and this will range between 25-40%. Asking about the costs before hiring a lawyer is vital.
- Have you worked with similar cases? Hiring a lawyer who has worked with similar cases will be beneficial. You must ask for information on the lawyer’s record of accomplishment. The more information gathered, the better the chances of you making the right choice for legal representation.
- How long will it take to resolve your case? The attorney will be unable to give you an exact time for settlement but should be able to explain the timeline of events that will occur and their typical length of duration. Some personal injury cases can take a long time to settle, depending on the willingness of both parties and whether the case goes to court.
- Will your case likely go to court? Many personal injury cases are settled outside of court, but this may not always be possible. You need to be aware of the lawyer’s success rate for trials. How many have they won?
- Who will oversee your case? It is essential to note that the lawyer will likely not be the only one working on your case. You have the right to know about everyone who will oversee handling the case. It is wise to learn about their background before deciding.
- Do you have references? Asking for references is your right as an injured client. The lawyer should be willing to offer the names and contact information of willing past clients. Ask these people pertinent information and learn as much as possible.
- How busy are you? You must be made aware of the caseload of the lawyer. If they are overly busy, your case may not get the attention it deserves.
Asking these questions at the consultation will arm you with information that will prove useful in deciding if the lawyer will be the best representation for you. Make sure to take notes regarding the answers and information provided during the meeting.
Questions Your Lawyer Should Answer
There are specific questions your lawyer should be able to answer. If your lawyer seems rushed and does not want to answer questions, look elsewhere for legal help. It is your right to learn as much as possible during the case. Your lawyer should be focused on seeking recovery. Knowing what questions to ask a personal injury lawyer is essential.
- What options are available for legal recourse? Many people mistakenly believe hiring a personal injury attorney means they will be forced to go to court. This is not true. Most personal injury cases are settled outside of court, depending on the willingness of both parties. The goal of the lawyer will be to pursue the method that will bring the highest level of fair recourse. Ask your lawyer about the available options.
- What are your measurable damages? While it is relatively simple to calculate medical bills and lost wages, non-monetary losses are more arduous to determine. You have the right to sue for pain and suffering and other non-monetary damages. Your lawyer should be able to help you determine the amount of measurable damages suffered.
- Does the settlement include coverage for all damages? When a settlement is offered, your lawyer will carefully review it to determine fairness. Before agreeing to any settlement, make sure your lawyer has reviewed it in its entirety. Ask about the fairness level and what damages are being covered. If you do not feel the settlement offer is fair, have your lawyer continue the pursuit.
- Can you sue for punitive damages? Punitive damages are meant to punish a person for being overly neglectful. Every case is not eligible for pursuing punitive damages. Cases of drunk driving and assault sometimes allow victims to seek these damages, but some states cap the amount that can be recovered.
- What steps should you take while waiting for recovery? You must listen to the advice given by the attorney. While you certainly are not required to heed orders from the lawyer, it would be in your best interest to listen to the advice. Knowing the steps to take will help you to avoid problems as the case progresses.
- What can you expect? Your lawyer should inform you of what to expect in the process of seeking fair compensation. Knowing what to expect will help to set your mind at ease so that stress can be avoided. Your lawyer should keep you informed every step of the way, so you know what is going on as much as possible.
- What happens if you become disabled? Some personal injuries are far-reaching and can lead to permanent disability. When a victim is unable to return to work or their normal life, they should be compensated appropriately. Ask your lawyer how to handle any disabilities that may arise because of your injuries. Asking for insight will help you to make the appropriate decisions.
- What will happen in the trial? As James Madison once said, “Trial by jury in civil cases is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the pre-existent rights of nature.” Sometimes, trials are necessary to allow both parties to obtain a fair outcome. (2)
Do not be afraid to ask questions for clarification in the process. You are hiring a lawyer to represent your needs. You have the right to expect information from the lawyer. If the lawyer cannot answer your questions effectively or promptly, they may not be the right lawyer for your case.
Should You Hire an Injury Lawyer?
While it is possible to pursue compensation without the help of a lawyer, most injured victims make the smart choice to seek legal advice. There are time constraints involved in any personal injury cases. All states have a statute of limitations.
There are a few reasons that injured victims should consider hiring a personal injury attorney. If a person’s injuries resulted from a minor car accident, legal help might not be needed.
Consider the following to determine if hiring a lawyer is right for your situation.
- If you suffered significant damages, it would be wise to at least consult with a lawyer to determine the best form of legal recourse. Insurance adjusters, if they are involved, will often attempt to lowball an offer, leading to an unfair outcome.
- Hiring an attorney offers you the benefit of excellent negotiation. Trying to negotiate without the aid of a lawyer can prove unfruitful and even frustrating. Negotiations are a critical part of the process of settling a personal injury claim.
- Receiving objectional guidance is vital for making tough decisions in a personal injury claim. Emotions are often high with a personal injury, making it difficult for victims to make rational decisions.
- Having access to the right medical care is integral when recovering. Contacting a lawyer in the very early stages will give you access to the medical care you so desperately need. Medical records help prove the extent of injuries and other measurable damages.
- Most people want the process to be over as quickly as possible. Personal injury torts can sometimes take a long time to settle, especially if legal help is not available. When someone hires a lawyer, it is more likely their case will be settled exponentially. (3)
- Hiring a lawyer will also help to ensure there is ample evidence for proving your claims in court. Lawyers have access to investigative teams that work to gather evidence. Without the right level of evidence, it will be arduous for a person to be able to prove their claims in court.
- One of the most common reasons people hire a lawyer is peace of mind. Stress is prevalent after a personal injury has occurred. Getting help from a lawyer will ensure you have the support that is needed through each step in the process.
- Hiring a personal injury lawyer will also help to increase your chances of getting the fair compensation you are owed. The lawyer will fight for your rights and work to settle with the highest amount possible.
- If a case heads to litigation, having a lawyer working on your side is going to be even more critical. Although you could undoubtedly, by law, represent yourself in court, this is not advised. Without a clear understanding of the law, you could end up facing an unfavorable outcome in
- When injured victims hire a lawyer, it ends up saving them a lot of time. As stated before, personal injury claims can sometimes be lengthy. It takes a lot of work, gathering evidence and filing paperwork. When the law team takes over all these aspects, the victim saves time and can put their full focus on recovery.
Take the Right Steps
Before talking with the defendant or insurance company, it would be wise to seek a consultation appointment with a personal injury lawyer. These appointments are typically free for new clients and will allow you to learn about the available legal options.
Once a lawyer is hired, they take over the process of pursuing compensation for their client and will work to ensure a fair outcome is achieved. It is important to remember most personal injury lawyer agreements are contingent. This means you owe no fees unless you win.
Contact the Hadley Law Firm in Mobile today
Asking the right questions will help to ensure you can receive the information that is necessary for making proper decisions. With help from a personal injury lawyer, pursuing fair compensation will be less tedious and more rewarding for injured victims. If you have been injured through the neglectful or purposeful actions of another person, you have the right to pursue compensation.
- American Bar Association
- West Virginia Association for Justice
- Cornell University Law School