Hiring a lawyer is serious business and you need to do the background work before you make such an important decision. When talking to clients I hear some of the same questions regularly, and they are questions the clients should be asking before they have hired me or any other lawyer. Following is a partial list of questions I have come up with that I believe are important for anyone to ask of a lawyer, especially a personal injury lawyer, before they retain him.
1. How long have you been practicing in the specific field of accident and injury law?
The reason for this question is clear. Obviously, the more experience in a specific field, the more knowledge to handle your case the right way.
2. What percentage of your practice is devoted to accident and injury law?
Again, the more cases an attorney handles in one specific area, the more experience he accumulates in that field. Since every personal injury case is different, the more scenarios an attorney has handled, the more knowledge he has to offer to every case.
3. Have you previously represented people with injuries similar to mine?
Being aware of the problems that can arise from specific injuries, the proper course of care and a list of medical providers who can help for specific injuries, helps an attorney to know how long a case may take to resolve and what type of recovery may be available for an injured client.
4. Do you have investigators and expert witnesses who will help in cases with my type of injury?
A good personal injury attorney will have investigators and expert witnesses they can trust. This is especially important because the police are not always able to find all the information needed, and, do not have the same levels of motivation to do so. Having qualified people to undertake a separate investigation from the police is often key in gathering significant evidence.
5. Can you refer me to a physician who can provide treatment for my injuries?
Experienced personal injury attorneys are familiar with a variety of doctors and therapists who can help with any injury. Equally important, experienced attorneys often know of medical providers who are not qualified or who do not have a reputation for providing the best quality of care.
6. Can you help me with my property damage claim and get a rental car for me?
Most of the big advertising firms don’t want to help you in this area. This is because they don’t make any money for it. Find an attorney who is willing to help, at no charge, for the routine damage claim. An experienced attorney should be willing to do this.
7. Will you handle my case on a percentage fee basis?
Experienced personal injury attorneys will handle your case on a contingency basis. This means that the attorney is paid a percentage of the recovery, and only when and if your case has a favorable outcome. This percentage should be agreed upon before you retain the attorney. Avoid attorneys who want to charge you a retainer for a personal injury case.
Hiring an attorney on a contingency fee basis is favorable for clients because filing a lawsuit can be a costly endeavor which many people may not otherwise be able to afford.
8. If I can't come to your office, will you come to my home or office?
Many people who need an attorney are unable to travel due to injuries or poor health, so this is not an unusual request. An experienced attorney will be flexible and able to accommodate these needs. Also, you should insist on meeting with an attorney, not a legal assistant or runner.
Keep reading the next few weeks to find out 9 more questions to ask a lawyer before you hire him...