10 Questions To Ask a Personal Injury LawyerPosted on: July 11, 2022
The outcome of your case depends a lot on your choice of legal representation.
Here are 10 questions to ask a personal injury lawyer before you hire them.
If you’re seeking compensation for a physical injury, you likely know that you need a personal injury attorney to assist you with your claim. But how do you distinguish a good attorney from a mediocre one?
At Beers & Gordon, our attorneys have a combined experience of more than 70 years, so we’ve seen it all. That’s why we’ve developed a list of 10 important questions you can ask a personal injury lawyer—before you hire them—to help you decide which one is right for you.
1. What sort of cases do you specialize in?
Just like medical doctors, attorneys specialize in different areas and not every lawyer is equipped to deal with a personal injury case. (And even different personal injury lawyers will have different skills.)
Motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, dog bite claims…each of these cases will rely on different methods and standards, so it’s worth your time to find an attorney who is uniquely qualified to deal with your case.
2. Who will handle my case?
Most people call a law firm hoping to work with a licensed personal injury attorney, yet some larger firms will pass off cases to a paralegal or case worker instead (hardly the same thing!).
In these firms, the attorney may never talk to you or even review your file. As defense attorneys, we walked into depositions against these big firms and saw the attorney introduce himself to his client for the first time.
Your personal injury case is too important and sensitive a matter to entrust to someone without legal experience. One of the most important questions you should ask at your initial consultation should be, “Who will handle my case?”
At Beers & Gordon, one of our two experienced attorneys will personally handle your case from start to finish so you can rest assured that you’re in good hands.
3. What is your success rate?
Merely having experience in a particular area of the law shouldn’t be enough to inspire confidence. You also need to know whether the personal injury attorney you’re considering has what it takes to actually win your case.
Asking for his/her success rate will give you a much better idea of how the future will go. If they have a long history of losses, you’ll know to keep looking.
4. How long will it take to close my case?
Bear in mind that no attorney can tell you exactly how long it will take to finish your personal injury case.
If they guarantee you that everything will be handled in a certain amount of time, steer clear. Your case doesn’t just rest on the shoulders of your personal injury attorney. There are multiple factors that determine how long it will take to settle your case—most of which neither you nor your lawyer have any control over.
In this case, a lawyer who cannot give you a cut-and-dry answer but gives you general parameters is an honest lawyer.
5. Will my case go to trial?
Again, no personal injury attorney can guarantee that your case will (or won’t) go to trial. The other party may agree to settle for a fair amount or they may fight you tooth and nail the entire way.
You should be wary, however, of an attorney who says they never or rarely go to trial, as this could indicate an unsuccessful litigator who is quick to settle (regardless of whether that’s the best decision for you).
Civil trial law is a specialty, just like any other in the legal system. At Beers & Gordon, we are never afraid to take a case to court, as we have the skills and experience to do so. Just as important, the insurance companies and defense attorneys know which lawyers are willing and able to try a case. Their evaluation of the case is impacted on whether they think your attorney is willing to take them all the way to court.
6. What are your fees and costs?
It’s always helpful to know how much an attorney is charging for their services. Keep in mind, though, that most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which is a fancy way of saying they don’t get paid unless they win.
Typically, attorneys will take a percentage of the amount you receive or they will factor their fees into the amount they’re asking for.
You also want to know what the attorney will charge for costs. Many law firms nickel and dime their clients by charging for faxes, copies, scans, and even long distance calls. These same law firms run up costs without regard to the client’s bottom line.
Regardless of the answer, it’s in your best interest to know what you’re agreeing to.
7. What is my role?
If you have never been involved in a personal injury case before, you likely have no idea what’s expected of you.
Have your lawyer break down exactly what your role is at every step of the way. This will not only give you a better idea of the process, it will reassure you that your attorney knows what they are doing.
8. Are you board certified?
While all attorneys must be licensed in order to practice law, not every attorney is board certified in their particular area of expertise.
Board certifications are like a stamp of approval given only to very experienced attorneys by the Florida Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization and Education. To be awarded this distinction, lawyers must be highly skilled in their area of expertise, spend a significant amount of time on continuing education, and pass a peer review process.
David Beers has been a board certified civil trial attorney since 1984, making us uniquely qualified to take your case to trial if need be.
9. Do you have an idea of what my case is worth?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question, as there are many factors to consider. An experienced personal injury attorney should be able to take the details of your particular case and give you a ballpark settlement amount to expect.
One thing you should be wary of, though, is a grandiose claim.
Those billboards featuring giant checks might look impressive, but that money may have been compensation for a catastrophic injury or wrongful death. Also, the attorney that guarantees you an amount is an attorney who is more interested in getting you signed up as a client to lock you in then they are interested in giving honest advice.
No two injury cases are alike and there are a lot of factors influencing your settlement negotiations: the severity of your injuries, the extent of your pain and suffering, etc. The only person who should be giving you any idea of how much your claim is worth is your attorney.
10. Do I have a case?
Last but not least, your personal injury attorney should be able to tell you whether you actually have a case. That is why it is so important to meet with an ATTORNEY and NOT AN INVESTIGATOR. Only an attorney can give you legal advice on whether you have a case.
No lawyer wants to spend months fighting a case that they have no chance of winning. (And let’s be honest, neither do you!)
Injury cases tend to be invasive and delve into many aspects of your personal life, so be honest and upfront with your attorney. The more information they have, the better they will be able to help you.
Looking For a Personal Injury Attorney?
Finding a good attorney can sometimes feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but if you don’t know what questions to ask a personal injury lawyer, it’s even harder.
Here at Beers & Gordon, our goal is never to close your case quickly but to give you the most favorable outcome possible. From Day 1, you will meet with one of two experienced attorneys with the skills and experience necessary to fight your case in court.
If you live in the Orlando, Florida area, give us a call today to schedule your free consultation.