Ten Questions to Ask Prior to Retaining a Personal Injury Lawyer

Law Offices of Zev Weinstein

Weinstein Law Firm

My friend, personal injury attorney Zev Weinstein and I, were pondering a universal checklist for potential new clients and the below list is what we arrived at. Let me know if you like it.

  • Will you be able to get me more money, than other lawyers could and how?

Basically personal injury lawsuits are about recovering financial compensation. In some cases it may be possible to be in a position to make actual changes, but the majority is about getting the highest amount of recovery for the victim. This is why you need to retain a personal injury attorney that will provide the best opportunity to obtain the highest amount of money. Your case will only be able to be heard by the court or settled one time. When you are considering hiring an attorney it is essential to be prepared to ask important questions, since it is your lawsuit.

  • Will I participate in the lawsuit?

Lawsuits involve teamwork, so this is an important question to ask. Prior to hiring a lawyer it is essential to know what your expected role will be or if you are not expected to participate. It is your case and you may feel you want to be involved. Asking the lawyer if this will be allowed can be answered by some attorneys that they will permit you to take an active role, while others will not.

  • When consulting a lawyer asking if you will be the attorney handling my case?

The answer may be surprising. There are some firms that have what is referred to as meet and great, which means you, will not see that lawyer again. Ask who will be actually handling your case. Who will you contact? Meaning who will you be speaking to on the telephone and other contact. Another thing to be careful of is meeting the top legal professional in charge, since later you might find out that an associate is handling your case.

  • Questioning what your case is worth

When consulting the legal expert ask this question. The lawyer should have an idea after evaluating your specific circumstances. It is true that there is no firm answer due to unknown medical issues, liability and discovery. They should be able to provide a general range and explain the unknown factors. Do not be fooled by unrealistic promises a lawyer makes, depend on your own judgment.

  • Will my case go to court and when will that happen?

The lawyer you are speaking with, better assume that every case will go to court. If you are told that your case can be settled, then this is someone to be very cautious about. What will the case settle for? It is difficult to recover the proper amount of compensation, if you are not prepared to go to trial. Ask about the amount of time your case will take. An exact answer is difficult, but it is a relevant question. There are many personal injury cases that are resolved within 2 or 3 years, and some that take less time.

  • Asking when my lawsuit will be filed?

This is relevant, insist on specific answers. There are lawyers that do not like to take the time to work on certain cases, until they have a deadline. When there is not a pending statute of limitation in this kind of situation, viable lawsuits may sit for a year or more.

  • Will you have the amount of time required to begin work on my case now?

Watch out going to the attorney everyone knows their name. There are attorneys that focus on signing up clients and then let the cases sit, while they sign up new clients. This is not as rare as you might think, but not all lawyers do this. They will sign up a client and then wait 12 to 18 months before they file the lawsuit, which will be just before the statute of limitations runs out. This kind of delay can harm you; since it will mean delaying the recovery you may be entitled. Question whether the lawyer if they have the time necessary to allocate to your case. You may want to ask the lawyer how many other cases they have pending and how much time will they devote to your case specifically.

  • Ask if they have tried your type of personal injury case before?

Lawyers want personal injury cases. There is a lot of competition and then the cost of advertising. Do not go by the advertising and assume the lawyer has handled or tried cases similar to your type of claim. Ask them about their experience and the kind of results they have had. Request to speak with former clients, if it is possible. Being in control of the consultation is important. Don’t allow them to bully or intimidate you. Remember you are the one hiring the lawyer; it is not the other way around.

  • If my case is lost, will I be responsible for any of the advanced costs?

Lawyers charge a contingency fee and any advanced costs. These costs can be substantial and normally will be deducted from the client’s recovery. Make certain that your attorney takes the case without you being held responsible for the costs, even if your lawsuit is unsuccessful. Ask for a guarantee that you will not have any out-of-pocket expenses that you will be responsible for.

  • Ask what the contingency fee will be

In most personal injury cases the fee agreement will be based upon the contingency fee agreement. What this means is that there will be no upfront fees and no legal fee unless a monetary recovery is obtained. If you have value in your personal injury claim, you will find a lawyer to take your case on a contingency fee basis. Contingency fee agreements are generally between 25 and 40 percent and are negotiable. The more severe the injuries are and the stronger the claim is, the more negotiable the contingency fee will be. Thanks Zev Wienstein Law Offices, for helping me out.

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