What questions should you ask a personal injury lawyer?
If you have been hurt in an accident, you may be considering hiring a California personal injury attorney. Before you do so, you will want to ask any lawyers you are interviewing a number of questions.
First, ask the lawyer what type of law they do. Most attorneys focus their practice on one particular area of law. Just as you wouldn’t want a foot doctor to help you with your heart problems, you don’t want to hire a lawyer who is not knowledgable or experienced in the field of personal injury. Look for an attorney who primarily practices personal injury law.
Second, ask the lawyer if they have handled cases similar to yours. Personal injury law is a broad field. Find out if the attorney that you are considering has represented clients who have similar cases. Then ask how those cases were resolved. While each case is unique, it is important to hire an attorney who has a track record of success and can help you get the compensation that you deserve.
Third, ask about fees. Does the attorney work on a contingency fee basis? This means that they are only paid if you recover money, and you pay no upfront fees. Ask about the details of their fee arrangement. What percentage of your recovery will go to the lawyer if you settle the case — and if you go to trial? Be sure to question the lawyer about how costs are handled. Will you be responsible for costs if you don’t win?
Fourth, ask about the attorney’s trial experience. While the vast majority of civil lawsuits settle before trial, your chances of receiving fair compensation are higher if your lawyer is ready and willing to go to trial.
Fifth, ask whether the attorney will handle the case themselves — or hand it off to an associate. While the other lawyer may be just as skilled, this information is important in making your decision about who to hire.
You may have other questions that you want to ask, such as how the attorney handles communications, whether they can provide references, and if they have ever been disciplined. Feel free to add to this list until you are comfortable. Remember: this attorney will be working for you, so it is important that you get the information that you need before signing anything!