Questions to Ask Your Personal Injury Lawyer Before Hiring
Have you handled cases like mine? If you have, what were the outcomes?
Personal injury law is a broad field that includes specific practice areas like medical malpractice, car accidents, slip and fall accidents / premises liability, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, nursing home abuse, wrongful death and assault and battery. Not many attorneys handle more than a few of these categories, so it is important to verify that the attorney you are interviewing has experience in your type of case.
One of the advantages of hiring an attorney with specific experience handling your type of case is that the attorney will be familiar with negotiating tactics when dealing with the insurance company. It is also vital to know whether they have taken your type of case all the way to court, and if they were successful. Insurance companies are aware of which attorneys never see the inside of a courtroom – and will settle for a lower damage award.
What are your fees, and how are they structured?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means they don’t charge you up front for a retainer or other fees. Instead, they keep a part of the settlement or court award when you win your case. The advantage of this system is that the lawyer has an incentive to get you the most money they can. They get paid more when you get paid more.
Some lawyers do collect ongoing expenses from clients. The client could pay some fees up front or can be reimbursed later when the damage award is obtained. Other lawyers will take out a loan against expenses, but this can get expensive very quickly, so think it through carefully before agreeing to this type of arrangement. Be sure to inquire as to how expenses will be handled if your case is not successful.
Why should I hire a personal injury lawyer?
You have had an accident that caused you significant injury, leaving you with medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering. A personal injury lawyer is a professional who knows what it takes to make you whole again by using the civil litigation system to recover your costs and reimburse you for your injuries.
A personal injury lawyer knows how to file a case in court, gather evidence, prepare documents and handle depositions from all the parties involved and, in general, develop the best argument they can that you should be compensated for your injury and associated costs. They know how to negotiate with insurance companies, who have many lawyers of their own trying to make sure you do not get a damage award.
Your lawyer will also know how to deal with the issue of comparative negligence. If you were hurt in a car crash and were found to be 20 percent liable for the accident, your damage award would be reduced by 20 percent. The assessment of relative negligence is an important part of your damage claim. A good lawyer will know how to build a strong case on your behalf. In general, a personal injury lawyer is your advocate and they will work hard to seek the maximum amount of compensation possible for your case.
Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
You want to find an attorney you can trust and who will treat your case with the respect and care it deserves. Apathetic or unscrupulous attorneys might put some clients’ cases on the back burner because another client has a more promising case that could potentially bring in a higher damage award – and more fees for the lawyer.
You want a personal injury lawyer who cares about your case and who is passionate about making sure that you receive the compensation you need to rebuild and move on with your life. You want a lawyer who is committed to keeping you updated about how your case is going, what steps they have taken recently, and what steps are going to be taken next.
Good communication is crucial for building trust. If you were injured or are forced to deal with extensive property damage, you want to know how your case is going and when you might receive compensation.
At the same time, focusing too much on the potential size of your damage award is a mistake. Simply put, in most cases a personal injury attorney is not allowed to guarantee a specific award, and doing so indicates a lack of ethics.
So, ask smart questions like:
- How large a damage award do cases like mine typically get in this jurisdiction?
- What factors may affect the size of the damage award I could get?
- How do I avoid potential problems that could lead to a smaller damage award?
You have a role to play in a successful civil action, so be sure your lawyer educates you on the best way to help yourself and your personal injury case.
How Can Parnall Law Help Me?
It all starts with you contacting our offices to discuss your accident and injury with our experienced personal injury attorneys. We will take the time to listen to your story about what happened, what your injuries are, your medical treatment, your property damage, and many other issues. If you choose to hire us to represent you, we’ll get started on your case right away.
We will discuss our legal strategy, we will make you as comfortable as we can, but most of all we want you to know that there is help and there is hope. So many people fear their accident may have a permanent impact on their lives, their health, and their financial future. We want you to know that once you hire us, we will help you get your life back on track.
At Parnall Law, we offer “Our Personal Guarantee.” If you are not completely satisfied with the way we treat you with dignity and respect, the way we treat your claim during the first 30 days after hiring us, you can take your file with no questions asked and no fees charged. You have the right to have every step of your case explained to you honestly and thoroughly. Ultimately, you have the right to make the crucial decisions about how your personal injury case should proceed. The experienced attorneys at Parnall Law will empower you to do so.