You have just experienced great loss or tragedy in your life that was completely unexpected and unplanned for. Now, left with the task of picking up the pieces and moving forward, you also might be facing an incredible financial burden. Monetary compensation may not heal your emotional or physical wounds, but you are entitled to peace of mind and the work behind securing this financial compensation can be completely debilitating. It is imperative that you consult a personal injury attorney and get the counsel that you need to bring back stability in your life. When you consult the attorney, there are key questions you should be asking them, and how they answer will help determine who you choose to represent you during this emotionally trying time.
1. What are the costs of hiring you?
Typically, personal injury attorneys work on a contingent fee basis, which means unless you are compensated, they will not be paid. The usual range in contingent fees ranges anywhere from 33%-40% of the amount you are awarded in your case. Keep in mind, cheaper is not always better and you'll want to consider the attorney's qualifications if their pricing seems significantly lower for your case type. You'll also want to ask the attorney if there is any cost, should they be unable to win your case.
2. Have you worked on any cases like mine in the past?
You want someone experienced that knows what they are doing. If you are grieving the loss of a loved family member due to an accident, consulting an attorney who only has experience in cases where their clients fell and became injured, or only specializes in workers compensation, may not be the best fit for you. With this experience, they will also be able to communicate to you the length of time to expect your case to be resolved.
3. Will I need to go to trial?
Nobody wants to sit in front of a jury and plead their case, but an attorney that gives you the false hope that you will not be going to trial should be an immediate red flag. Your attorney should be preparing every piece of evidence and arming you with as much information as possible, as if you were going to trial, so when the negotiators begin to settle your case, the chances of success are significantly higher. You should also be looking into who will personally be handling your case. Everyone wants the tenured attorney with gray hair in the corner office of the top floor, but this might not be who handles your case and it's extremely important to know who exactly will be representing you, should your case go to trial.
4. Can I speak to your past clients?
Ask for references. A well-done website with cherry picked stories is not good enough and any attorney representing you should be able to provide real cases of people just like you and how successful the case was, or what was learned from this case so that you may better evaluate your chances of winning.