7 Important Questions to Ask Your Car Accident Attorney
Hiring a car accident attorney can be a stressful process. You’re trying to find an attorney you trust to help you get the compensation you need – and you are more than likely still recovering from the injury you sustained during your car accident. What if you knew what questions to ask to help narrow down candidates and simplify the process? Below are seven important questions to ask your car accident attorney to understand how they will handle your case and what you can expect:
Does your attorney represent car accident victims?
It’s important to know that not all attorneys have the same practice areas. Since you’ve been involved in a car accident, you will want to find a personal injury attorney that represents victims of car accident injuries. By hiring an attorney that handles car accident cases, you increase your chances of having a successful outcome.
Has the lawyer ever handled a similar case to yours? What was the outcome?
Even though an attorney specializes in personal injury doesn’t necessarily mean they have significant experience handling car accident cases. Whether they’re inexperienced or just bad at what they do, asking the attorney for previous experience handling car accident cases like yours will help you make an informed decision about who you are hiring. Although previous performance does not guarantee future outcomes, it can help you feel at ease trusting your case with that attorney.
Has the attorney ever been disciplined because of ethics issues?
A majority of attorneys who are still practicing law have not been in disciplinary trouble. However, if the attorney you’re thinking of hiring has been disciplined because of something unethical they did while handling a case, you should consider it a huge red flag. If they’ve been in hot water before, you should find out what they did wrong, why they did it and what the outcome was. Having a history of disciplinary action could affect their ability to properly represent you and handle your case, and could imply they are unprofessional or unfit to handle your case.
Can the attorney provide references from past clients?
In some jurisdictions, attorneys are allowed to provide references from previous clients. Past client references are a great way to see how the attorney interacts with clients, and if the previous clients were satisfied with the handling and outcome of their case – references are also a good indicator of how the attorney will handle your case. If the jurisdiction does not allow attorneys to release previous client references, checking reviews online is another great way of gauging client satisfaction.
Does the attorney charge you on a contingency basis?
When a personal injury attorney does not charge you an upfront fee, and instead takes a percentage of the money won in your case, it is known as a contingency fee, because the payment is “contingent upon” the attorney winning your case. This is a common payment method among personal injury attorneys and is typically easier for the client since there are no out of pocket costs. Whether the attorney chooses this form of payment or not, it is important to find out exactly how you will need to pay the lawyer for their services – before you agree to hire them.
How long should a personal injury case like yours take?
This aspect is important for many reasons. If you’ve been seriously injured and require ongoing medical care, your medical bills could begin to pile up if the trial goes on for a long time and you are relying on the settlement to pay them. It’s also important to know how long you should expect to have your life interrupted by legal proceedings, meetings and so on. While some aspects of trial are out of your attorney’s hands, they can help give you a good idea of how long the trial should last.
What is your case worth?
The most important question, and the one you are probably anxious to know the answer to – what can I expect to get if I win? Your attorney should be able to give you a good idea of what you can expect to receive in compensation, or at least tell you a range and explain any unknown factors to you. If an attorney tells you a number that seems unrealistic, use your best judgement. Be wary of attorneys that make promises that seem too good to be true.
Although personal injury attorneys can’t take away what happened to you, they strive to get you the compensation you need and deserve to deal with your injuries. Hiring the most qualified attorney for your specific case can make the difference between losing, and potentially winning millions. In the end, using your best judgement and asking the right questions can prove to be the biggest factors in hiring the right attorney for you.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lauren Bennett is a content copywriter working with Cullan & Cullan M.D., J.D. in Kansas City, Missouri and other personal injury attorneys throughout the country. The purpose of her articles is to educate the public on personal injury, wrongful death and other legal issues that affect millions of Americans each year.