5 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Personal Injury Attorney
There are few situations in life as frustrating as when you are injured through no fault of your own. Regrettably it happens all to frequently, due to carelessness by another party in operating a motor vehicle, maintaining their property or simply being effectively aware of the world around them. Luckily there are many attorneys who specialize in personal injury cases. Their job is to insure the parties responsible for causing the injury are forced to acknowledge their part in it, and to give you some sort of settlement to take care of your pain and suffering. Sometimes you’ll go into this situation just trying to make a point, but more often than not it’s because you’re facing stiff medical bills and a loss of work, and your finances simply can’t handle these changes. To make sure you get what you’re due you’ll have to find a good personal injury attorney to work on your behalf. But there are thousands of options out there, and some of them are hucksters only looking to exploit those who don’t know any better. So make sure you ask these five questions before selecting your personal injury attorney.
First of all, ask the lawyers in question if they have tried your type of case before. Some attorneys will put themselves out there as personal injury specialists simply to expand their practice. But what is their history with these sort of lawsuits? They should be able to detail positive outcomes in several previous cases that are something like your own. Don’t just take their advertising at face value, and always ask for specifics until you are confident in their experience.
You should also ask the personal injury attorneys you interview about their current workload. This is crucial, especially if you’re approaching famous or well-respected attorneys. In many instances lawyers will work hard to sign new clients, but then let the new case sit on the side until their schedule frees up. That could leave you spinning your wheels for at least a year, and during that time you’ll be suffering from your injury and spending money. Make sure you get a commitment that the case will be pushed forward as soon as possible, even if you have to ask them to detail every other case currently on their desks.
Next, make sure you ask about the contingency fee process. Any time you’re dealing with a personal injury case you should never have to put out money up front. A reputable attorney will agree to try your case with payment based upon the settlement he wins on your behalf. You’ll be able to negotiate that contingency fee, which usually falls somewhere between twenty-five and forty percent of the settlement. Because of these standards, know that most quality attorneys won’t take your case unless you have a good chance of winning. And the better your case, the more wiggle room you’ll have to negotiate the fee.
These aren’t the only financial issues to discuss, so make sure you also ask about any advanced case costs. Basically, these are operating expenses the attorney requires to work your case. These are often deducted off the top of your settlement, prior to the split. This is fairly standard, and shouldn’t be considered a warning sign. However, you certainly shouldn’t agree to pay these costs if the case is lost. You’ll need a written guarantee that you won’t have to pay out anything unless the case is a success.
Finally, make sure you get clear exactly how you will be participating in the upcoming lawsuit. If you’re spending all of your time visiting pain management doctors in Los Angeles you won’t have as much energy to give to the legal battle as you might want. But you must be kept up to date on the progress regardless. Make sure the attorney is willing to treat you as a partner, or else things could go in an uncomfortable direction.
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