What to Ask During a Personal Injury ConsultationMarch 08, 2017
The best way to find the right personal injury lawyer for your case is to know which questions to ask during your consultation.
Below you’ll learn exactly what to ask each personal injury lawyer you have a consultation with to ensure that you choose the best lawyer for your needs.
Areas of Specialization and Experience
First, find out about the lawyer’s areas of specialization, as well as how long they’ve been practicing in that area and what kind of experience they have with cases that are similar to yours. They should be able to give you an exact number of cases, including a ratio of wins to losses.
As you get to know the lawyer, ask about their experiences with ethics committees and bar associations, including whether they have ever been suspended or otherwise disciplined. Don’t forget to ask whether most of the firm’s work is for injured people or for insurance companies, as this can indicate vastly different kinds of experience.
Next, ask about the fee structure. Is it hourly? Do they work on a contingency basis? If they do work on a contingency structure, find out what percentage of your winnings they will take. An important question people often forget to ask is whether the lawyer will put their fee structure in writing. Having all fees in writing can be extremely useful to you throughout your case and ensure that there are no surprise expenses.
Your next step is to ask specific questions about your case. Learn about the statute of limitations, who will handle your case in addition to this lawyer, how long it will take to resolve, whether your case is likely to go to trial, and how often and in what form the lawyer will communicate with you.
Also find out how the lawyer is likely to respond to any input or suggestions you offer. Some people prefer to take an active role in their case and others do not, so keep your preferences in mind when evaluating the lawyer’s response.
Finally, ask whether the lawyer thinks you have a strong case. Regardless of whether or not you choose this lawyer, the input is valuable to have.
Digging Deeper: Further Questions About Experience
If you make it through the initial series of questions but still feel unclear about the lawyer’s level of experience, there are several follow-up questions you can ask to find out more.
One of the best ways to learn more about a lawyer is by asking them to give you a five year track record for personal injury cases, including how many they’ve won or lost.
Then, ask for examples of a few of their major cases, including their outcomes and whether they went to trial. You can also ask for referrals to former clients and healthcare providers who help them with personal injury cases. The lawyer should willingly give you this information.
Don’t forget that it’s likely you’ll be working with other members of the firm in addition to your lawyer, so you’ll also want to ask about their skills and qualifications. Also determine how much of your case these people will be responsible for, compared to how much your lawyer will be responsible for.
Following Up About Reputation
You want to work with a lawyer with a good reputation, so if the lawyer and the firm’s reputation isn’t clear after you ask the basic questions, you’ll want to dig deeper.
Ask whether they are a member of any professional legal organizations and find out if they have participated in speaking engagements, headed up any legal programs, held positions with a trial lawyers’ association, or won any awards.
You can also ask about any publications they have that are relevant to your case or to personal injury law, including writing for the government or legal societies.
Always make sure to take questions with you when you visit a lawyer and to get as much information as you can by the end of your consultation. If you forget to ask something, don’t hesitate to make a phone call to get the answers you need to make the best choice.
Now that you’ve learned about questions you should always ask a personal injury lawyer, find out more by downloading our free personal injury recovery kit or contact us for a free consultation.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is a general guideline made available for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as legal advice for the reader's specific situation nor in general. By reading our blog and website content, the reader acknowledges the above and understands there is no lawyer-client relationship created between you and Himelfarb Proszanski through this content. To get specific legal advice, we encourage you to book a free consultation with one of our lawyers to clarify the legal aspects of your situation.