If you have been through a severe accident, you may have thought about seeing a lawyer. You may even have an appointment set up to walk through your options with a local Marietta or Griffin, Georgia firm or two. It’s natural to be nervous about taking your next steps in a lawsuit. The entire process is intimidating. However, the truth is that you actually have all of the power when you schedule an appointment with a lawyer. Ultimately, you decide whether that particular lawyer or firm is a good fit. How do you do that? By asking the right questions. Below are our suggestions on questions to ask a personal injury lawyer in your first meeting.
1. What does your fee structure look like?
It’s no secret that attorneys can be costly. However, the fees that most people consider for attorneys are based on an hourly rate. As a personal injury victim, for example, you may not pay an hourly fee for an attorney’s services. Instead, lawyers realize just how much you have lost after this type of accident, and they will often wait to take a fee at the end of your case—and usually only if they win money damages for you. This is called a “contingent fee.”
Although a conversation about fees may be awkward, it is certainly necessary. You need to know the ins and outs of your lawyer’s fee long before they start work. In addition to determining whether fees are hourly or based on a contingency, you should ask who will be paying expenses. Filing your case, getting experts, and other administrative costs of your lawsuit can add up quickly. Will your lawyer pay those fees up front on your behalf?
2. Do you have experience with cases like mine?
It is essential to ask your personal injury lawyer this question because you need to know that your attorney has the experience and knowledge you need to present your case successfully. Questions to ask a car accident lawyer that relate to experience include things like:
- How many cases like mine have you taken to trial?
- How long have you been practicing law?
- How successful have you been in similar cases?
In truck accident cases, for example, there are unique areas of the law that only apply to those situations. They are very different than the average car accident case. You will want someone who has previous experience with truck cases if you or a loved one were in a semi-truck crash.
3. Do you have litigation and personal injury experience?
There are all kinds of lawyers. Many people make the mistake of assuming that one attorney is just like all of the others, and it really does not matter who you get to represent you. This could not be further from the truth. Lawyers often specialize or focus their legal practice on just a few areas of the law.
When you are considering who to hire as your lawyer, think about the specific type of knowledge you need. For instance, many attorneys will either focus their practice on litigation (going to court) or transactions, which often includes contracts, deals, and real estate. Estate planning is also generally considered transactional law.
When you have a personal injury case, you need a litigator. The lawyer that drafted your will may not be a good choice for your personal injury lawsuit.
4. Who will do the work on my case? Who is my contact person?
A lot of attorneys use a team structure so that they are not the only person in their office that will handle your case. There may be other lawyers, paralegals, assistants, and other support staff. If you can, it is a good idea to meet with whoever will be your primary contact person. In many cases, that is one attorney, but in other situations, a paralegal or assistant may be your go-to person.
You should be sure that you are comfortable with whoever your main contact person will be. You will be sharing a lot of information about you, your family, and your life, so trusting your legal team is important.
5. How much involvement will I have with my case?
Some people want updates periodically on their case, while others only want to be involved if they have to be. Ask the personal injury accident lawyer what your role will be in the case. If you are going to be more hands-on, be sure to determine whether the attorney will be receptive to that type of involvement.
Asking questions about how often they check their email, how quickly they respond to messages, and how often they can be reached by phone are all fair questions. You want someone that will be receptive to your questions and concerns.
Need A Personal Injury Attorney?
There are all kinds of potential questions to ask a personal injury lawyer, and these five should get the conversation started. If you want to learn more about how a personal injury lawyer can help you, give our team a call. We welcome free consultations where you can come in and meet our team to see if we are the right fit for you. Call today for more information: 404-526-9955.
Disclaimer: This information is provided for your information only. It is not legal advice and should not be used as such. Results obtained previously do not guarantee any outcome. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship and reading and using this information is not the formation of an attorney-client contract.