Accidents and injuries usually do not come with any forewarning, leaving most victims, injured, unprepared and unsure of how to proceed. If you or someone you know has been injured, you face a lot of uncertainties and have to make a lot of important decisions to make quickly.
If you have been injured or traumatized due to someone else negligence, you will face many important decisions in the coming days, weeks and even months following that injury. We are here to help you go through this unsure, wavering state.
An injury, no matter how small or insignificant especially due to another’s irresponsibility or due to something that could have been avoided is an important issue.
It not only cause you emotional, physical and financial stress, but it also revealed a weakness in the other person or organization’s social responsibility.
Getting medical attention is your first instinct and priority but what about after that?
You need a personal injury lawyer. Your personal injury lawyer will be your advocate throughout the legal process of securing compensation for your loses. It is important that this person knows what they are doing.
We have compiled a list of questions that you need to be asking the person that you intend to hire as a personal injury lawyer in your first meeting
What areas of the law does that attorney specialize in?
Different lawyers specialize in different areas of the law and hence they develop tactics that deal with a particular type of offense, crime or legal quagmires. They move in certain circles and thrive on work relationships from that circle.
As you do not need an oncologist to deliver a baby, no matter their basic education; similarly you do not require a person who does not specifically specialize in personal injury, dealing with your case.
Qualification is the initial requirement you should be on the lookout for.
What is the past record of the attorney?
Just because that person is qualified in this field, does not necessarily mean that they are skilled at it.
You need an accomplished person, with a strong repertoire at the helm of your case. The lawyer you are considering may be new, a part-timer, in adept, or just generally bad.
Further, even if the lawyer claims that they have successfully handled cases in the past, you should ask for their information and the results.
Find someone who can vouch for those lawyers skills. See how many will recommend that lawyer.
Talk around to assess how that person is viewed among their peers and clients. Ask if the attorney is willing to provide any references for past clients.
If they are as good as they say, this won’t be difficult. Past performances are not always an indicator for future success or failure but working on this will greatly put your mind at ease and eliminate bad lawyers from your list.
How long will your case take to be resolved?
As there are a number of factors that affect the duration of a trial, no attorney will be able to give you a specific time frame for the case, but they can provide you with a general time estimate.
As medical bills pile up, and as you disrupt and put your life on hold to attend legal proceedings, investigative doctors’ visits, and unwelcome probing; it is your right to find out how long will it take to get your due compensation.
Does the lawyer work on a contingency basis?
A contingency fee is a portion of the money taken by your lawyer if and when you receive a settlement after a trial.
The vast majority of the lawyers out there do not charge you during the trial, in fact, many of them pay for the doctor’s visits and medical checkups. But this should be cleared up in the first meeting. The attorney you hire should not prove to be an added burden on your expenses.
Discuss the criteria of your billing and contingency fee clearly to avoid any surprises or hidden charges in the future.
How frequently do the cases handled by that attorney end up in trial?
This is important because there is an instance when the chances of getting a bigger compensation are more in a trial than in the settlements offered by the concerned insurance companies or the representatives of the guilty party.
Your attorney needs to be efficient enough to realize and analyze the implications that could lead you to a big pay off and they also need to be quick enough to act on those indications.
The past record of that attorney will clear up this confusion of yours. Find out if the lawyer is just a profiteer that quietly fields insurance settlements all day long or if they are dedicated enough to take your injuries seriously and fight them in a legal court.
Does that attorney has any past record with the legal or ethics committees?
There is no need to be alarmed because the vast majority of the attorneys out there will not have been in any sort of disciplinary trouble.
But if they have been, that is a big red flag and your cue to steer clear of that person. The reason why they got in trouble might affect you, your case, your confidence and most probably the trust money you put in their account.
The field is saturated with personal injury lawyers, so it would be better to find another one.
Will the lawyer accept your wishes in case of a disagreement?
Never settle a case if you do not want to, never accept a settlement that does not seem fair to you and similarly never push yourself if you are not willing to fight your case further.
Keep in mind that you are the injured party, it is your right to have the case settled according to what is due to you.
A lawyer looking for a quick pay off will pressure you in taking the settlement – emphasizing that it would be the best that you will get.
If the amount seems unfair to you, never accept it. On the other hand, a lawyer may be too willing to take your case to trial eager to fight on some principle; avoid agreeing to it if you are not prepared to be emotionally, physically and financially venture into it.
When choosing a lawyer, assess whether the person is the right fit for you, whether they are qualified enough to have your best interests that heart and whether that lawyer will stand with whatever final decision you make.
It may be your first time finding and hiring a personal injury lawyer, and this is a critical decision that should not be taken lightly.
Your personal injury lawyer may very well be another expensive personal “injury” if you are not careful enough. We hope these questions were able to clear some of your confusion and anxiety.