What questions should you ask when hiring a lawyer?By Gabriel Levin on December 13th, 2017
Traffic accidents cause thousands of injuries each year. The possible need for long-term care, among other things, can complicate the determination of damages for injuries. Effectively dealing with these issues can require professional assistance. Read on to learn how to choose the right attorney to assist you with any claims that might arise from a traffic accident, and what questions will help you make that determination.
The attorneys of The Levin Firm can help. You can take advantage of a free consultation, and The Levin Firm wants you to know the questions you should ask before hiring an attorney to assist you with an injury claim. Contact us at (215) 825-5183 or through our online contact form.
What Questions Should I Ask When I Look for a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If a traffic accident injured you, you want to find the best lawyer you can. How do you do that? The first thing you should look for is someone with the right experience to handle your case. To that end, ask any attorney you interview the following questions:
- How long have you practiced personal injury law?
- Do you frequently handle cases involving traffic accidents like mine?
- What kinds of traffic-accident injuries do you have experience handling?
- What are your professional credentials, including bar memberships and professional awards and recognitions? Where did you go to law school?
- About how many traffic accident injury cases do you handle every year, how many do you settle, and how many go to trial?
Those are just the first questions you should ask, not the only ones. You should also want to know whether you have a viable case and whether the negligence of another person might entitle you to compensation.
Ask How the Lawyer Will Handle Your Case
Once you are satisfied with the attorney’s competence to handle your case, ask questions that will let you know how your attorney will handle it. Ask how the attorney works with clients—will the lawyer simply tell you what to do, or tell you your options and let you decide? Neither approach is wrong, but some people prefer to have input into decisions. On the other hand, maybe you want hire an attorney to make decisions. It is an issue for your consideration.
- Other questions about case management could include:
- Will you manage my case, or will another attorney at your firm handle it?
- Who will make court appearances, and who will attend negotiations?
- Who will serve as my day-to-day point of contact?
- What other attorneys will work on my case?
- Will my case require expert witnesses? If so, who are they and what will they do?
- How often will you give me progress reports, and what information can I expect those reports to include?
- How do I reach you and how quickly will you respond?
Ask About Your Case Strengths and Weaknesses
You need to know the strength of your case, including the likely outcomes. Ask for an honest assessment, what works against you and what works in your favor. Ask about your chances of a fair settlement, or whether your case might go to trial. If your case is likely to go to trial, ask about your chances of success and whether it’s worth pursuing the case. Find out whether mediation or arbitration are options and if they’ll work for you.
Finally, ask for a timeline and an estimate for how long your case might take to conclude. Having suffered damages, including medical expenses, you need to know how to manage your finances while awaiting the conclusion of your case. When litigation is possible, accurate estimates are hard to provide, and your attorney might not offer a definite answer. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
What Will My Case Cost Me?
Finally, you need to address what legal representation will cost you. You need to know how a lawyer will charge you, whether your case will cost you money up front and, if so, how much. Questions to ask include:
Will you charge me a contingency fee or an hourly rate? (A contingency fee is a percentage of whatever compensation you recover. Obviously, you will want to know that percentage. Usually, a contingency agreement means you don’t have to pay lawyer fees if you don’t win compensation.)
If you charge me an hourly rate, how much is that rate, and will you require me to pay if I don’t win compensation?
- Will you charge me a retainer fee?
- Will you charge me for anything if you fail to obtain a settlement or win the case?
- What expenses must I pay, and must I pay them even if I lose and receive no money?
In general, your insurance will pay for your actual expenses, both medical and property damages, even if you are at fault for an accident. The key to recovery beyond that is whether the other party was at fault. That may entitle you to more. Asking the above questions can help you determine whether that is possible, and what it will cost you.
If You Suffered an Injury in a Traffic Accident in the Philadelphia Area, Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers of The Levin Firm
If you suffered a personal injury in a traffic accident in the Philadelphia area, protect your rights and explore your compensation options. The Levin Firm can help. Contact us at (215) 825-5183 or through our online contact form.