No one ever expects to be seriously injured in a car accident or by the negligence of another person, but thousands of personal injuries happen. As most of these injuries are sudden, most people are not prepared to deal with all of the issues that arise.
You don’t choose to be involved in a car accident, but you do get to choose your attorney. Our goal is to give you the confidence you need to find and hire a personal injury lawyer, should you ever need one. Along with following our general guidelines for hiring an attorney, there are things you should keep mind when looking specifically at personal injury attorneys.
Many personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. These consultations are usually thirty minutes long, during which you’ll discuss the issues you may be facing. After you’ve done your preliminary research, call the offices of your top picks, and inquire about their consultations. Be sure that your consultation with the attorney and not his paralegal or an investigator and whether or not there is a fee for this meeting. You do not want an unexpected charge after you’ve met with the attorney.
Since you generally only consult with a personal injury attorney when you’ve in fact been injured, time will be of the essence and you want to be certain that the attorney you hire really is the best fit for your case.
Here are a few additional personal injury-specific questions to ask during your consultation:
- What areas of personal injury law do you practice in? (Yes, there are multiple areas of personal injury law)
- Have you handled and had success with cases like mine before?
- Will there be additional associates working on my case? If so, will I be able to meet them?
- If I am unsatisfied with the offered settlement, are you willing to take my case to court?
- Have you filed suit on similar cases and what were the results?
Paying for a Personal Injury Attorney
The majority of PI attorneys will take on personal injury cases on a contingency basis. What does this mean? In most cases, it means that they do not require a retainer or cost deposit at the beginning of your proceedings. Instead, they collect their legal fees and costs directly from the settlement amount you are awarded. This is a relief for many who may not have access to funds to retain an attorney in the traditional sense. Clarify with the attorney during your consultation on how they wish to handle the payment for their services.
Here are a few questions you’ll want to ask:
- Will you accept this case on a contingency fee basis?
- Will you charge a retainer fee?
- Are there any other fees I should be aware of? (Such as case filing and other potential court fees?)
- Make sure the, or request, that the attorney puts everything in writing. We also suggest that you do the same.
In any potential personal injury case, please first seek medical attention. Your health is an important thing to consider. Once you’re able, begin your search for an attorney capable of representing you for your proceedings. Remembering to first schedule a consultation, ask appropriate questions regarding their experience, and be sure to clarify the terms of payment for taking on your case.