Did you hurt yourself in a slip and fall accident? Were you involved in a car crash? Did the neighbor’s dog bite you?
Then you need to hire a personal injury lawyer.
But if you rush into hiring, you could end up with a lawyer who doesn’t give you the time or representation you deserve. That’s why we’ve put together this guide of essential questions to ask a personal injury lawyer before you hire.
1. Have You Worked on Similar Cases Before?
If you’re filing a personal injury claim, you’ll want to work with a personal injury lawyer. They’ll understand the ins and outs of your case and be able to give you the best representation possible.
So ask your lawyer if they’re worked before on cases that are similar to yours. If they avoid answering this question, you might want to take your business somewhere else.
2. What Types of Cases Do You Usually Take?
Isn’t this question the same as the one above?
Actually, no. There’s an important distinction between the two. Just because a lawyer has worked on a case similar to yours before doesn’t mean it’s their usual area of practice.
3. How Much Time Can You Spend on My Case?
Many lawyers work on several cases at the same time. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
However, make sure you ask your lawyer how much time they can spend working on your case. You should avoid working with a lawyer who doesn’t have the financial or physical ability to give you the time you deserve.
4. Who Will Work on My Case?
Since many personal injury lawyers work on more than one case at a time, they don’t handle everything on their own. Your lawyer might pass out a lot of the work to a junior assistant or legal secretary.
This is normal.
However, it’s always a good idea to understand who will be handling what part of your case. And if you don’t like the idea of other people working on your case, you might want to find a different lawyer.
5. How Much (And How) Do You Charge?
You should have a clear understanding of what you’ll have to pay before you hire any lawyer.
For example, some lawyers work on a contingency fee. This means you won’t have to pay anything unless you win your case. But some lawyers charge by the hour or with flat fees, especially defense lawyers.
You should also ask if you’ll be responsible for any case-related expenses if you lose. Otherwise, you could end up paying a lot more than you expect.
6. How Long Have You Been Practicing?
You’ll want to work with a lawyer who has a lot of experience, and not just on cases similar to yours. Ask them how long they’ve been practicing, and you should be wary of lawyers who’ve only been in business for a year or two.
It doesn’t mean they aren’t any good, but it does mean they might not have the experience your case deserves.
Talk to them about their experience and find out if they have all the right certifications.
7. Will I Win?
This might seem like an odd question to ask, but it’s an important one.
Any lawyer you hire should be confident in your ability to win your case. Don’t work with a lawyer who doesn’t think you can win.
If a lawyer dances around this question, you might want to find someone else to handle your case for you.
8. How Much Compensation Will I Get?
It can be hard—and sometimes even impossible—for a lawyer to give you an exact answer to this question. However, they should be able to tell you an estimate of how much compensation you’ll get if you win your case.
But be aware that some lawyers might exaggerate this number to encourage you to hire them.
It’s a good idea to talk to a few different lawyers before you hire anyone. This way, you should be able to get a general idea of what to expect from your case.
9. What Is Your Track Record?
You should ask every lawyer you talk to about how many cases they’ve won in the past. Obviously, you want their track record to be full of mostly successes.
But a few loses shouldn’t serve as a red flag.
Every lawyer loses every once in a while. However, if a lawyer has a large handful of loses, you may want to avoid working with them.
10. How Long Will My Case Take?
Again, this is a hard question for personal injury lawyers to answer. A small change can make your case go on a lot longer than planned.
However, a lawyer should be able to give you a general timeframe for your case. Just understand that this timeframe might change.
11. Can I Have Some References?
It’s a good idea to talk to the past clients of any lawyer you’re planning to hire. They can tell you more about how the lawyer works and the quality of their services.
A lawyer should be happy to give you references. If they seem hesitant, it might be because their past references won’t have anything good to say. You should be wary of lawyers who don’t provide references.
Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer Before You Hire
Hiring a lawyer isn’t always a quick process. There are a lot of questions to ask a personal injury lawyer before you hire, and you should talk to several different ones before you make a final decision. This will ensure you get the best possible representation in court.
Do you need to hire a personal injury lawyer? We can help! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to set up a free consultation.
Firm founder Michael Jeffcoat takes pride in having built a law firm that embodies his commitment to helping people who have been injured or wronged. After receiving a B.A. degree in Political Economy and Philosophy at Wofford College in 1994, Jeffcoat went straight to the University of South Carolina School of Law. While there, in addition to his studies, he participated in Moot Court, the University’s trial competition, clerked in two U.S. Attorney’s Offices (Columbia and Seattle) and also the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office. Mr. Jeffcoat completed his Juris Doctor degree in 1997.