If you have suffered an injury due to another party's negligence, you may now be thinking about hiring a personal injury attorney to help you recover the compensation you deserve. While there are many attorneys available, doing some homework can help you identify a suitable candidate or firm to represent your legal interests. When it comes to attending the first consultation, you will want to come armed with a list of crucial questions that go beyond the obvious “do I have a case?”
Questions to ask before you hire a personal injury attorney should help you discover:
- Details about attorney's fees and other potential costs
- Whether the attorney has a successful track record
- Whether the attorney has trial experience
Some important questions to ask yourself after an initial consultation can include:
- Can I put my trust in the attorney and law firm to represent me strongly?
- Did they listen to my concerns and address my questions?
- Did communication flow easily and effortlessly?
Call Labrum Law Firm at (615) 338-9500 today to discuss your personal injury case and find out how we can help you get justice and compensation.
Do You Have Experience with Handling Cases Like Mine?
Personal injury law is a huge field. While some attorneys may be excellent motor vehicle accident litigators, others specialize in complex medical malpractice claims. It is imperative that you quiz your potential attorney on their experience with cases such as yours. Questions to ask can include:
- Have you handled cases similar to mine before?
- For how long have you litigated such cases?
- Have you taken cases such as mine to trial?
- What is your success rate with similar personal injury cases?
- How would you go about handling a case like mine?
What Are Your Fees?
Most personal injury attorneys litigate cases on a contingency fee agreement, also known as a “no-win-no-fee” arrangement. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), a lawyer who works with a contingency agreement typically receives a fixed percentage of the recovery amount paid out to the plaintiff. While percentages can vary considerably from one attorney to another, they average around one-third of the final payout. If the client loses their case, they are not responsible for any attorney's fees. Therefore, the attorney takes on the financial risk of litigation and not the client.
What Do I Have to Pay if I Lose My Case?
Individuals looking to initiate legal action need to be aware of the miscellaneous costs of filing a lawsuit which can include:
- Court filing fees
- Expert witnesses' fees
- Costs for pulling documents
- Costs for transcriptions
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
In some cases, the person bringing the suit will have to pay for these costs upfront, even with a contingency fee agreement. However, some attorneys will pay for these miscellaneous expenses upfront and then tie them into their overall fee. It is critical that you visit with your attorney before signing an agreement to truly understand your unique compensation arrangement.
Not all Attorneys Work on a Contingency Fee Basis
Individuals looking for legal representation should be careful to ask questions before hiring a personal injury attorney rather than simply assuming that the attorney works on a contingency fee basis. Not all attorneys and law firms have the resources to handle cases on a contingency basis. Some smaller law firms and newer attorneys may charge an hourly fee or upfront retainer.
Paying an hourly fee or retainer can cost clients thousands of dollars and leave them with remaining fees if they lose their case. When an attorney takes on your case with a contingency agreement, not only do you take fewer or no risks financially but you also know that the attorney thinks you have a good case. The passionate personal injury attorneys at Labrum Law Firm work on a contingency fee basis, and will only take your case if we think you have a strong chance of winning.
Do You Have Trial Experience?
While most personal injury cases are resolved out of court, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), some personal injury cases still will go all the way to trial. While an attorney may have a wealth of experience with negotiating out-of-court settlements, they may not be experienced with fighting for clients at a trial.
Since there is no way of telling whether your case will end up in court, you need a lawyer who has trial experience. Ideally, your potential attorney can show success at both, negotiating out-of-court settlements and winning a trial. Make sure the questions you ask before hiring a personal injury attorney include an attorney's experience both in and out of the courtroom.
What Do You Expect of Me?
Some attorneys prefer their clients to take an active part in the legal process while others want to take a case into their hands without too much involvement from you. If you are in the middle of recovery, you might prefer working with someone who needs very little involvement as you focus on healing from your injuries. On the other hand, if you expect to be deeply involved with all the legal proceedings such as the negotiations with insurance companies, legal hearings, and depositions, you may prefer an attorney who expects you to actively participate.
What Types of Compensation Could I Recover?
While an attorney will not be able to guarantee a result or know exactly how much your future settlement could amount to, they should be able to give you a rough indication of the worth of your claim.
Victims of negligence can typically recover a variety of damages with successful legal action, depending on the severity of their injuries and the circumstances of their accident or incident. Compensation can include but is not limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Income loss
- Property damage
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disability
- Reduction of life quality
Contact Labrum Law Firm for Help Now
Although asking questions before hiring a personal injury attorney is crucial, perhaps the most important factor in deciding on an attorney is having trust in them, and knowing that they will fight strongly for what you deserve. A first consultation is an excellent way to get to know a law firm or attorney and ensure you do not encounter any surprises once you sign on that dotted line.
The dedicated attorneys at Labrum Law Firm are committed to answering all your questions openly and honestly. We understand that considering legal action can feel overwhelming and stressful. Our team can provide you with personalized attention and compassion, making sure your questions and concerns are addressed comprehensively. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation review of your case: (615) 338-9500.