Questions to Ask a Lawyer Before Hiring One
Hiring a lawyer to help you with a personal injury case is a serious matter that requires due diligence. There’s a lot at stake for you. You need to go about it the right way. Ideally, you should already be aware of a good lawyer that you can straightaway approach if and when you get involved in a vehicle accident.
Follow these steps to vet law firms and hire the best one for your situation –
1. What kind of cases is the lawyer most comfortable with?
Cases handled most frequently mean that the lawyer will be knowledgeable about the ins and outs of such lawsuits. Does the lawyer handle personal injury lawsuits regularly? Are they skilled with medical malpractice lawsuits? Since you can easily avail the services of an accomplished law firm for the same money that you’d pay a rookie lawyer, it is in your interests to learn about expertise.
2. Does the law firm have lawyers who can defend you in court?
This is a very important question. The law firm in question must have lawyers who can confidently represent you in court. It shouldn’t be that the law firm’s expertise lies in settling cases out of court and if a matter heads to the court, they wash their hands off it or refer you to another law firm. There is no dearth of law firms that advertise their expertise but will pass on a case to another law firm if it involves the court. This; however, is different from lawyers collaborating on a personal injury lawsuit.
3. How successful is the lawyer in obtaining favorable settlements?
Ask the lawyers about the cases that they were able to bring to a satisfactory conclusion for their clients. If the lawyer can present a good number of personal injury cases that he or she was able to argue for successfully and was able to get just compensation, then it bodes well for your case. Insurance companies are very aware of the capabilities of law firms, and they measure their risks accordingly. They will fancy their chances against an incompetent lawyer who won’t go to court but will be wary about pushing it too far with an accomplished lawyer, lest they have to settle for more than what they would ideally like.
4. Find out about the lawyer assigned to your case
You must be aware of the skill level and experience of the lawyer assigned to your case. Find out if the lawyer hearing you out and briefing you is the one who will handle your case. Law firms have a team of lawyers and may assign different lawyers to cover different aspects of a single case. Get an idea of how the law team will function.
5. Learn about what the lawyer means by “fees charged only if there’s recovery”
Lawyers that charge a percentage of the amount recovered will not charge in case there is no recovery. However, there are expenses that you must be prepared to meet. These include fees charged by expert witnesses, court reporter fees, and costs associated with health care providers, and nurse consultants. How does the law firm handle these expenses? Enquire. You may be asked to pay expenses upfront or reimburse later. Loans are an alternative but should be the last option. What if you lose the case? Find out about the rules applicable in your jurisdiction.
While trying to learn this, also find out if the lawyer has the financial wherewithal to execute necessary due diligence for the lawsuit. If the law firm cannot, then it may try to opt for the cheapest solution available, which may not be in your best interests.