More than 3 million people are injured each year in car accidents. In Colorado alone there were over 92,000 accidents and nearly 26,000 of them involved an injury (according to this accident report). This is just one example of personal injury law, it is important to note that there are many types of accidents that may entitle you to receive compensation for your injuries.
Before hiring a personal injury attorney, it is important that you ask them as many questions about your case as possible. Below are six crucial questions you should ask your personal injury attorney. After all, you want to have a trusted relationship with your lawyer that helps you feel confident in your case.
Read on for questions to ask a personal injury lawyer before you sign on the dotted line.
1. What Type of Personal Injury Do You Specialize In?
Although your lawyer doesn't need to specialize in your specific personal injury or accident, it is helpful if they do. Having a long career of winning cases similar to yours means that the law firm knows what they're doing and can get you the best possible outcome.
Sussing out what type of personal injury their firm works best with will help you decide if the firm is appropriate for you.
2. What Are Your Billing Practices?
Many people get into quibbles with their lawyers because of issues to do with billing. Some times, it may be because one party was dishonest with the other at the beginning of the relationship, but often, it is a result of miscommunication.
Before you sign with a lawyer, you'll want all of the billing practices laid out and in writing.
Many lawyers who work on personal injury cases do so on contingency. This means that they only take a cut if you win your case. But, that doesn't mean you shouldn't discuss bills at all, as even working on contingency can create problems between the lawyer and client.
You'll need to know how much per hour the lawyer charges, when they'll expect payments and how they will handle any extra fees. Many times, lawyers who work on contingency will keep tabs of the bill they will charge the client in the event that they win the case. Without a prior discussion of this practice, the client may feel blindsided by how much money was taken from their winnings.
Make sure there is clear and open communication between yourself and your lawyer. Your lawyer should also provide bills and breakdowns of fees whenever requested, so don't be afraid to ask.
3. What Can I Expect to Be Billed For?
Those who have never worked with a lawyer may be surprised at the things a lawyer will bill them for. Lawyers often bill for things like emails, phone calls and meetings, but they may not outright tell you that they're billing you for the current conversation. This information is typically laid out at the beginning when you sign the agreement for the lawyer to represent you.
While you may not expect to be billed for things like small questions, that is typically part and parcel of being represented by a lawyer. You'll want to go over this, as well as understand the lawyer's rates, before you sign.
4. Have You Ever Represented a Case Like Mine?
A personal injury lawyer that's a good match for you will have represented a case like yours in the past, or one very similar. Ideally, they should have won this previous case, and their past client received the award they were due.
If a personal injury lawyer has never represented a case like yours, or one that's very similar, it may be time to find someone else. While a lawyer who doesn't have a lot of experience with your type of case may be able to negotiate a win for you, you'll want to go with someone who has won similar cases in the past, even if your case is specific.
5. How Often Do You Win Cases?
While how often a law firm wins cases may not necessarily affect the outcome of your specific case, you'll still want a lawyer who has a track record of positive outcomes for their clients.
A seasoned personal injury lawyer will even be able to give you statistics about how often they have won cases and their track record for specific types of cases.
6. How Often Will We Communicate?
Your lawyer has other cases besides yours, so you won't want to nag them all of the time about your case. But, you'll also want to feel comfortable approaching your lawyer about what's going on and any new developments.
Ask your lawyer how often you'll reasonably expect to communicate, and when you should reach out to ask them a question about your personal injury case.
Questions to Ask Your Personal Injury Lawyer
The preceding questions to ask your personal injury lawyer are just some of the few you may ask before you decide to work with your lawyer. You may also wish to draft up a list of other questions, including asking about the timeline of your case as well as asking to speak to former clients.
After you have hired an attorney, one of the more popular questions is "what kind of damages can I recover?" The answer is unique to each and every person and their case. The link to the article above has some great insight into what you can expect.
Your relationship with your personal injury lawyer should be open so that you can communicate with one another well in order to win the case. Remember, you and your legal counsel will be working together as a team, and it's important that your dealings with them reflect this notion.
Elkus & Sisson's Personal Injury Team
The personal injury lawyers at Elkus & Sisson have been trained to undertake cases in this specialized area of law. They cover all types of tort law in which one party was injured, including (but not limited to):
- motor vehicle accidents
- slip and fall
- wrongful death
- bus accidents
- motorcycle accidents
- trucking accidents
- construction accidents
- pedestrian accidents
- workers' compensation
- slip & fall
- premises liability
Are you ready to move forward with an experienced personal injury attorney today with plenty of positive client testimonials? If so, contact Elkus and Sisson for a consultation.