Finding the right lawyer to handle your case can be tough. Before you meet with any potential hires, go over these 14 questions to ask a personal injury lawyer:
1) How long have you been practicing law, and how long have you handled personal injury cases?
You can start by asking when the lawyer graduated from law school. If your lawyer just graduated, chances are he does not have enough experience to handle your case, especially if it is complex.
Follow up by asking how long the lawyer has handled personal injury cases. If the attorney just started taking personal injury cases, you might consider moving on to your next candidate.
2) What are your main areas of practice?
Even if a lawyer has been practicing for a while, she might not have much experience handling personal injury cases. Many firms are “one-stop shops” and handle personal injury, family law, and criminal law cases. You want a lawyer that focuses on personal injury cases.
3) Have you handled cases similar to mine?
Just because a lawyer has handled personal injury cases does not mean he knows how to handle a case like yours. There are many types of personal injury cases, including traffic accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, dog bites, premises liability, construction accidents, and more. Ask if the lawyer has handled cases similar to yours, and if so, how many.
4) What have you recovered for clients with similar cases?
Your personal injury lawyer should not hesitate to share with you the results from similar cases he handled. You might be able to find case outcomes on the lawyer’s site or you can ask during your consultation.
5) Are you a member of any legal associations?
Georgia Super Lawyers, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, and the American Association for Justice are just some examples of associations that attorneys can join. These associations provide information about their members to the general public. Membership in these groups can be an indication of the lawyer’s involvement in the legal community.
6) Have you written any books or other materials for your clients?
Lawyers committed to helping their clients often provide helpful materials for their clients. Some lawyers purchase materials from legal publishers, but a few lawyers take the time to put together their own materials, such as eBooks or guides.
7) Do you have evening or weekend office hours?
Many lawyers understand that clients cannot meet during regular business hours. Ask if your prospective lawyer has evening or weekend hours or if he can meet you at your home or hospital.
8) What will your personal involvement be on my case?
Some lawyers, especially those at large firms, have very little involvement in a case. Instead, a paralegal or assistant will do most of the heavy lifting on your case. Ask your lawyer who will be involved in your case and whether the lawyer will be your primary contact on the case.
9) Can I read testimonials from your clients?
One of the best ways to learn how a lawyer handles cases is to read testimonials from previous clients. If the testimonials claim the lawyer left clients in the dark, failed to file important paperwork on time, or lied about any part of the case, move on.
If the lawyer seems hesitant to let you read any reviews, move on.
10) How much can I expect to pay in fees and expenses?
Be sure to ask the following:
- Is the initial consultation free?
- When will I get statements – monthly or at the end of the case?
- Do you work on a contingency fee?
- What fees will I be expected to pay regardless of the outcome of the case?
An attorney should always be upfront about these matters.
11) How much money will I get for my claim?
No lawyer should ever guarantee a specific amount for a claim. However, the lawyer should be able to give you a quick evaluation and/or consult previous cases similar to yours to get a ballpark figure.
12) What are the strong and weak points of my claim?
Your lawyer should be honest with you about your case. Ask for the pros and cons of your case and whether those cons might cost you your case.
13) How long will it take for my claim to finish?
As with the question of compensation, no lawyer should ever give you a specific end date. However, your lawyer should be able to tell you a range of possibilities if the case settles before trial, if your case goes to trial, and if your case goes up on appeal.
14) How will we keep in touch on my case?
Even though lawyers are busy, you should be able to get in touch with them or someone from their office. Ask your lawyer how often you can expect updates on your case and how long you can expect to wait for a call or email back.
Be sure to also ask the best way to keep in touch with the lawyer (e.g., email or phone).
Call to schedule a FREE consultation today.
Georgia personal injury lawyer Jason R. Schultz fights for the rights of people who have suffered injuries at the hands of others. Call us any time at 404-474-0804 to line up your free consultation and ask us any questions you might have.