Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Injury Attorney
- Do you work on the "no win, no fee" philosophy?
You rarely want a lawyer to handle your case for a regular fee. You want the "no win, no fee" philosophy, where if you fail to settle or win, the lawyer gets nothing. This gives incentive, and saves you from going through financial turmoil if you cannot pay.
- How long have you been a personal injury lawyer?
You want to know how long this lawyer has specifically handled personal injury cases. You want a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law, not someone who handles general cases of all types.
- What cases do you typically handle?
If your lawyer has never handled a case like yours, such as a medical malpractice, take that into consideration. If you have to choose a lawyer who has specifically worked on similar cases, that is more valuable than someone who has never handled anything like it. While this does not necessarily rule out the lawyer, you do want someone with relevant experience.
- How much do you charge?
How much of your final settlement – when using the "no win, no fee" philosophy – will the lawyer take? Protect yourself by having this in writing. Your lawyer is paid with the settlement money, and some charge different rates. While someone who charges more is not necessarily more experienced, often that is the case. Typically you'll pay between 25% and 35%, depending on the length of the case, if it's settled or not, and how complex it is.
- What settlements have you given clients?
You want to know whether this lawyer has a history of winning personal injury cases, especially ones like yours. If they have actual dollar amounts, that can show you how valuable this lawyer is.
- How many current clients do you have? How much time can you invest into my case?
These are two related questions: you want to know if this lawyer is overbooked, and to see how much time they can spend actually representing you. A personal injury lawyer may have a lot of experience, but lacks the time to be effective in your case.
- Will you refer my case to others?
Some lawyers have whole teams, such as other lawyers and paralegals, taking an active role in your case. You do not want this to put the lawyer, who you hired based on his or her experience and ability, on the sidelines. Therefore, get upfront info on how much of the case they will be personally handling.