Being involved in an accident caused by another person’s negligence or wrongful conduct can be a challenging and overwhelming situation. You may be dealing with extensive injuries and unable to work. At this point, you may wonder what your legal options are.
At Drake & Collopy, P.C., our experienced personal injury lawyers are ready to provide the aggressive representation you need to help you recover the compensation you deserve for your accident-related injuries and losses.
While our attorneys can provide you with the legal services you need, it’s smart to ask a few questions before hiring any attorney. Here are some important questions to ask a personal injury attorney you are considering hiring:
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1. What areas of law do they practice?
It’s smart to find an attorney who only practices in personal injury cases. You want someone with the extensive knowledge and experience necessary to provide high quality representation. If the attorney practices in multiple areas of the law in addition to personal injury, chances are they are not as knowledgeable and experienced in handling personal injury cases.
2. Does the attorney have the availability to handle your case?
Personal injury lawyers with good reputations in the community will be busy. Because of this, their current caseload may be too great to give your case the attention it needs. It’s a good idea to ask this question to find out if the attorney can realistically devote the time necessary to handle your case.
3. Has the attorney handled cases like yours in the past?
If you have a more uncommon type of case, this is another important question to ask. You shouldn’t automatically rule out a personal injury lawyer who hasn’t handled a lot of similar cases. If they work with other, more experienced legal professionals, they have resources to rely on when it comes to your case.
However, you may not want to hire a sole practitioner who has never handled a case like yours in the past. Even if they have been in practice for several years, it doesn’t mean they have the experience and knowledge needed to handle your case or situation.
4. What do they charge for their legal services?
Usually, personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. With this, you pay only if your case is successful, and they help you recover monetary damages. If your case is successful, the personal injury attorney will generally take a fee that ranges from 33% to 40% of the total recovery. The fee may depend on the complexity of your case or whether it must be taken to trial – the more challenges involved, the higher the percentage.
Also, don’t be lured in by a low contingency fee percentage. Some attorneys advertise a discounted contingency fee. In some cases, they may not be the best qualified attorney to handle your case.
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5. Does the attorney think your case will be successful?
After being injured in an accident caused by someone else, you may believe your situation is simple and that winning the lawsuit will be a breeze. However, every case is unique. Therefore, it’s important to understand that the law and circumstances surrounding the accident may make it more challenging to win than you expected.
Once your attorney has the full details of the case, they should be able to give you a realistic idea as to the probability that your case will be successful. They may also be able to give you a general estimate of the range of compensation you can expect.
Given that personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, the attorney probably wouldn’t have taken the case if it was likely to be unsuccessful. In an unsuccessful case, the attorney does not receive a fee and loses all his time and effort spent on the case. Therefore, the fact that the attorney is interested in your case is an indication that he or she thinks it has a reasonable probability of success.
6. What method of communication do they prefer?
You can’t realistically expect the attorney you hire to contact you every day or every week with updates. However, you should ask about when to expect updates and their preferred method of communication. Setting up expectations at the start of a case can lead to a better relationship and help you avoid issues down the road.
7. If your case is unsuccessful, will you have to pay any case-related costs?
Generally, personal injury lawyers charge you for costs related to the case separate from the contingency fee. However, it’s a good idea to find out whether you will be expected to reimburse the attorney for his or her costs if the case is unsuccessful. This will help ensure there aren’t any surprises if you lose your case.
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8. Will the contingency fee change if your case goes to trial?
As mentioned, another common practice is for the contingency percentage to go up if your case is filed as a lawsuit or is required to go to trial. It’s a good idea to ask about this ahead of time and how much the percentage changes to avoid surprises down the road.
9. How long will it take to resolve your case?
Although it’s nearly impossible to predict with any accuracy at the beginning of the case, you may want to ask the attorney how long it will take to resolve your case. Many factors can impact the duration of the case, but the attorney may be able to give you a general range of time frames you can expect. While they may be able to give you an estimate, understand that this can change at any time.
Find the Right Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Claim
Hiring the right personal injury lawyer is a big decision. The person or firm you hire will play a big role in your case and impact the outcome of your claim. Asking the questions above will help you have confidence in the attorney you ultimately hire. At Drake & Collopy, P.C., our seasoned personal injury lawyers are happy to answer any questions you may have. We offer free, no-obligation initial consultations to new clients. Call today to get the process started.
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