Five Questions to Ask Your Personal Injury Attorney
When you have been injured in a car accident, a slip and fall, or any other type of incident where another party may be to blame for your injuries, it is important to have a qualified attorney at your side. A lawyer is necessary for a number of reasons, including protecting your rights and ensuring you are treated fairly by insurance companies and representatives for the other party or parties.
Selecting the right personal injury attorney for your case, however, can be challenging, as there are seemingly countless firms from which to choose. Most victims’ advocates recommend using available resources—such as internet reviews and rating systems—to come up with a short list of four or five potential candidates. Since most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning there is no fee unless you recover via a verdict or settlement, free consultations are usually available. During your consultation, there are few important questions you should ask each candidate so that you can make the best possible decision for your case, including:
- What types of injury cases do you handle? Most personal injury lawyers handle car accidents, but if you have been injured by an incident of medical negligence, a good car accident lawyer may not be equipped to handle your potential malpractice claim with the same level of skill.
- What percentage of your cases are settled? An estimated 95 percent of all personal injury claims are settled before trial. If a prospective attorney tells you he or she goes to trial 75 percent of the time, for example, he or she may not be trying very hard in negotiations. Of course, if you want your case to go to trial, he or she could be a good fit for you. If, however, the candidate says they refer out for trial cases, that could also affect your decision.
- Who will I be working with? Your initial consultation may be with one attorney, but will he or she be the one handling the details of your case or will it be handed off to a junior associate or a paralegal? In complex cases, of course, a lead attorney may need help from staff members, but you deserve to know who will be in charge and how you can reach him or her.
- Will you tell me the truth from start to finish? Personal injury lawyers tend to be optimistic about their chances of success, but your attorney must also be realistic and honest. When a new development threatens the viability of your case, will the candidate be clear and upfront about it or will he or she pretend that everything is fine until it suddenly is not? If your consultation leaves you feeling hesitant about trusting the candidate, you should probably choose someone else.
- Do you have clients I can call for references? Attorneys worth your time and money should have a list of satisfied clients who are willing to share their experiences with you. If a candidate is hesitant to provide such a list or only gives one name, that could be an indication of a less than stellar reputation.
Of course, there are many other questions that you may have, especially those that pertain more directly to the circumstances of your particular case. By asking questions and engaging in a conversation with a prospective attorney, you should be able to get a feel for how well you can work together in seeking the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
At Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P., we invite your questions and are happy to answer them so that you can make an informed decision about our firm. If you have been injured, contact one of our experienced Monterey County personal injury attorney today. Call (408) 298-7200 for a free consultation today.Sources