Hiring a personal injury attorney can be a daunting process. There are many choices and aspects to consider. But, discovering which attorney is best for you and your personal injury case can be easier than you think. Our team has gathered 15 questions you should ask before hiring any attorney.
What types of cases are you handling right now?
No matter the type of legal case, you want to be a priority for your attorney. As a personal injury victim, you do not want to have a distracted attorney who is busy handling a divorce or property line disputes. A way to prevent this is by finding an attorney who focuses their practice strictly on personal injury cases. Not only will this increase your chances of taking precedence, but it will also ensure that your attorney is familiar with the pre-suit process.
Can I have your cell phone number?
Communication is vital to a healthy attorney-client relationship. While email and letters can be effective, sometimes it is not enough. You deserve to know exactly what is going on with your case. Find an attorney who is willing to give you his or her cell phone number to ensure that you will have open communication about your case.
Will you be the attorney handling my case?
Some law firms have designated attorneys to speak with clients. However, this may not be the attorney who will take your case. They may give your case to a junior associate or even a different law firm. To prevent your case from being handed off to others who may be less experienced, ask this question before hiring the attorney.
How many cases have you tried before a jury?
Not all cases can be handled quickly and out of court. You want an attorney who is experienced in front of a jury and prepared to take your case to trial to obtain the compensation you deserve. Hiring an experienced trial attorney could make the difference in your recovery if your case has to be tried.
How much will it cost to hire you?
Most attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning if they win your case, they get paid a percentage of the gross overall recovery that you are awarded in your case. You will want to make sure that percentage is reasonable. You should be aware of how the firm manages the expenses they advance on your behalf. Ask them about interest and overhead. These expenses can add up and be the difference of thousands of dollars in legal fees.
How many cases do you handle at one time?
Again, you need to make sure your attorney dedicates the proper amount of time to your case. If an attorney handles several cases at one time, then they may not have enough time to devote to you. As previously mentioned, the amount of time an attorney gives to your case ultimately impacts the amount of recovery you receive. Plus, being one of several cases may foster a bad relationship between you and your attorney.
What percent of your time is spent working cases?
Some attorneys busy themselves with business management practices. You need an attorney who spends a great deal of time focused on trying cases. You should be confident in the amount of time your attorney spends working on cases and make sure your case receives the attention you deserve.
How often will I receive updates on my case?
A lack of case updates is the number one complaint from clients to the State Bar. All attorneys have a duty to communicate with their clients. To understand what communication efforts to expect from your attorney, ask them this question. This will ultimately promote a healthy attorney-client relationship.
How long do you think my case will take?
Cases can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. Due to all the factors that play a part, your attorney will not be able to give you an exact number. However, they should be able to give you a general estimate. It is always best to have similar expectations as your attorney when understanding the general timeline of your case.
What are the weaknesses of my case?
In order to receive the maximum recovery, you will need to show your case in the best light. Having an attorney that knows your case’s challenges is key. This way, they know how to best present your case and prevent any shocking revelations while your case is being tried.
What happens if I need to fire you?
Make it easier on yourself in case this event occurs. Ask this question before hiring anyone so that you and your attorney are on the same page. Having to fire an attorney is already stressful. Knowing how to fire someone and the consequences can relieve some of the stress. Plus, it can prevent you from having to pay unexpected fees and expenses.
Are you willing to try my case?
There are lawyers who want to settle no matter what. This can limit your overall recovery costs. However, trial lawyers have better results all around. This is often because insurance companies are aware that trial lawyers will fight for the maximum recovery. Having someone truly in your corner is much more beneficial than hiring someone who wants to make a quick buck.
How long will it take to return my phone calls?
Again, communication is key when it comes to your satisfaction with your attorney. Asking this question is a great way to know what to expect from your attorney. While they could be busy with another case or deposition, there should be a reasonable turnaround time for any questions you have.
Can you guarantee a certain amount?
This is a trick question to ask your attorney. Any attorney that guarantees a certain amount is misguided and needs to be avoided. It is against the law to guarantee any recovery amount. However, many attorneys may be able to give you an estimate of what they think the case is worth, which is much more reasonable.
Can you explain all aspects of the claims process?
This question will serve three purposes: determine expectations for your suit, ensure the attorney’s knowledge of the claims process and show the attorney’s amount of patience for your questions. You need to be comfortable with their reaction and response to this question before you hire that attorney.
We hope these questions provide you with the information and confidence you need to hire the right personal injury attorney. Remember, communication and the right expectations are key to having a successful experience. If you or a loved one needs a personal injury attorney in Georgia, contact Williams Elleby at 833-LEGALGA to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys. We are committed to fighting for and protecting our clients.