Were you injured at work, in a slip and fall incident, or during a car accident? If you’re injured and it’s someone else’s fault, you really need a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury attorney can represent your interests in negotiations with the insurance company and can even take your case to court to win compensation that you can use to pay off your medical bills, make up for your lost wages, and pay for your pain and suffering.
But hiring a personal injury attorney can be intimidating. How do you know which attorney will give you the best service? You’re going to need to meet with multiple personal injury lawyers in your area, and you’re going to need to ask them the right questions. Here they are.
How Long Have You Been Practicing as a Personal Injury Lawyer?
The number one thing you want from a personal injury lawyer is experience. When you’re interviewing an Aurora personal injury lawyer, one of the first questions you should ask should be about the lawyer’s experience. You want someone who has at least several years of experience practicing personal injury law.
Have You Handled Any Cases Like Mine Before?
Just as you need to see a medical specialist for many health issues, you’re going to need to see a personal injury attorney who specializes in cases like yours. Personal injury law includes a number of subspecialties. There are lawyers who specialize in dog bite cases, those who specialize in slip and falls, those who specialize in semi truck accidents, and so on. Ideally, you want an attorney who specializes in your kind of personal injury case.
How Often Do You Take a Case to Trial? How Many Cases Have You Won in Court?
Some personal injury lawyers try to settle cases as quickly as they can to get a fast payout for themselves and their clients. You want an attorney who will take your case to court if settlement negotiations break down. Ask whether an attorney has experience taking cases to trial and how many cases he or she has won at trial. You want an experienced litigator who is as comfortable in the courtroom as he or she is out of it. Look into an attorney’s litigation track record, including how many cases he or she has taken to trial, how many her or she has won, and what the awards were.
Can I Get References from Past Clients?
You should always check an attorney’s references before agreeing to work with him or her. You can use a website like Avvo.com to read reviews of lawyers, check on whether a given attorney has been disciplined in the past, and look for good personal injury attorneys in your area. However, checking online reviews can’t make up for directly asking an attorney for past client references. The way the attorney reacts to this question will tell you a lot. If they seem happy and eager to give you the references, that’s a good sign, but if they seem reluctant, it could be because they know none of their past clients will give them a stellar review.
What Percentage of Your Clients Come Through Referrals from Other Attorneys?
Other attorneys are the best judge of whether any given attorney is good at his or her job. When other attorneys are willing to refer clients to an attorney you’re talking to, that’s a good sign that he or she is an experienced and skilled professional. The more referrals a lawyer gets from other lawyers, the more trustworthy and respected that lawyer is in the field.
Do You Work on Contingency?
Cost may be a primary concern when you’re thinking of hiring a personal injury lawyer. Most personal injury attorneys work on contingency, which means they take about 33 to 40 percent of your settlement or award to cover your legal fees. If they don’t win you a settlement or award, they don’t get paid. Make sure you ask if the attorney will work on contingency. You should also ask what fees or costs you’ll owe if you don’t win your case. You may not have to pay the lawyer’s fees, but you could still end up responsible for filing fees, expert witness fees, and other secondary fees.
Choosing a personal injury attorney can be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make in your life. It could mean the difference between winning a settlement or award and being destitute for the rest of your life. Ask the right questions when you consult with attorneys for the first time, so you won’t regret your choice.