This is one of the most important decisions you will have to make; it is just as important as choosing the right doctors to treat your injuries. You don’t want the worst doctors in town to treat you; you also do not want to hire an attorney or law firm that has little to no background in handling personal injury claim. If you ask the attorney if he or she has experience, you may not get an honest answer or you may need to ask more questions. If you are not sure of the questions to ask, there are some ideas below of the most important questions to ask when you are selecting a lawyer or firm to represent you.
You may be thinking about why you would need to ask these questions prior to signing a contract with a lawyer or law firm; the outcome of your case and the potential settlement is important to you! The injuries you sustain in an accident may affect you for the REST OF YOUR LIFE, so it’s a good idea to ask your attorney questions about their experience with claims like yours. If you don’t ask questions and just hire the first attorney you find, that’s like going to a casino, betting everything on black, closing your eyes and HOPING that you win. After talking to thousands of customers across the country, it was clear to us that they had no idea how important this information was until AFTER their claim had settled; THAT WAS TOO LATE!
Here are some ideas of important questions to ask an attorney or law firm PRIOR to hiring them or signing a contract:
1. Is there a place where you list successful personal injury claims your practice handled?
2. How many cases like mine have you successfully settled? (No two personal injury claims are the same; your potential attorney should be able to tell you about similar claims that he or she has defended in the past.)
3. If my claim needed to be litigated, would you litigate it or do you work with another attorney? (Most accident claims settle outside of the courtroom but sometimes if a lawyer or law firm has gone to court with enough claims, the insurance companies will have a record of them and will actually award more money to attorneys who have won in litigation, as those companies know they don’t want to fight that attorney if they have a successful track record in court.)
4. Would you take my case to court? Why or why not? (This is a great question to ask from the beginning; an honest attorney will tell you almost instantly if they think your case has the potential to go to court or if the insurance company will not offer a fair settlement. Let them explain themselves and see why they would or would not. A good attorney is always ready to go to court and fight for you; however, not every claim or client will fare well in a courtroom. There are many factors to that decision but it will only help you to understand your claim better to listen to how your attorney answers that question.)
5. Who should I talk to when I have questions about my claim? (In busier law firms, paralegals, case managers or legal secretaries may answer questions for clients. It’s a good idea to be aware of the people who are working on your claim behind the attorney and have a good relationship with them.)
If you are unsure about the lawyer representing you, feel free to call the state board to ask how you can find out background information. There are many online research services you can employ online for free prior to choosing your attorney. Feel free to call us too; we have an extensive list of attorneys nationwide that may be a wise choice for your claim.