Every year, there are nearly 40 million injuries that require medical attention. From slips and
falls to car accidents to workplace accidents, accidental injuries that are due to the action or inaction of another person are abundant.
If you have been the victim of a personal injury, you may wish to consult a personal injury lawyer, as these accidents can cost you greatly, both in economic costs and non-financial costs.
Read on for 9 questions you should ask any injury attorney that you are considering to handle your case.
1. How Much Experienced Do You Have?
It's likely you already know the answer to this, especially if you have done your research before meeting with a potential Kona lawyer, as most personal injury attorneys will include this information on their website.
You should still ask them, though, to see how they respond. You should choose a lawyer who has experience handling personal injury claims, particularly your type of injury. If you were injured in a bike accident, for example, but the potential attorney specializes in slip and fall accidents, you might want to consider looking elsewhere.
2. What Was The Outcome of Similar Cases?
Once you have established that the attorney has handled similar cases, ask them what the outcome was.
Did they settle? Go to trial? How much was the settlement or jury verdict and award?
Simply having experience handling similar cases isn't enough. You want an attorney who has handled similar cases with successful outcomes for the client.
3. How Much Trial Experience Do You Have?
Also related to experience with cases like yours is trial experience. Most lawyers will try to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, but in some cases, the insurance company won't meet your requirements.
Insurance companies are focused on their bottom line and want you to settle for the least amount possible, so they will often drag their feet, offer lowball settlements, and refuse to meet your demands. Their goal, of course, is to drag the process out so you will just settle to get it over with and get some sort of compensation.
If you can be patient, however, and refuse to settle until they provide a fair settlement, you might end up taking the case to trial. This is not when you want to find out that your attorney has limited or no trial experience. Before hiring them, ask about their experience litigating personal injury claims and how many cases they've taken to trial.
4. Who Will Be Working on My Case?
If you choose a large law firm, you might find that multiple attorneys work on your case or they have legal assistants and paralegals working on your case often. There isn't anything necessarily wrong with this if you are ok with multiple people working having a role in your claim.
With a smaller law firm, though, you are likely to get more personalized attention from your attorney. While they may have a paralegal or legal assistant who assists on the case, they will often handle most aspects of the case and work with you directly.
5. What Is My Case Worth?
An attorney should never guarantee you a settlement amount, and if one does, steer clear. However, they likely can give you an idea of what your case may be worth based on their experience with similar cases.
They will also be able to give you an idea if you have a strong case and whether it's worth pursuing a larger settlement. If you don't have a strong case, they may advise you that it's in your best interest to accept the insurance company's settlement amount as you're unlikely to get more or win if the case goes to trial.
6. How Long Will the Case Take?
Personal injury cases can drag on for months or even years in some cases. Just like they can't guarantee you a settlement amount, your attorney can't guarantee how long it will take either. However, they will be able to give you an idea of how long you might expect to wait to get the settlement you want.
If you do end up going to trial, however, that will add on quite a bit of time. This is something to consider when you are making the decision to file a personal injury suit.
7. How Will You Communicate With Me and How Often?
Some attorneys will community by phone while others rely on email and even text messages. When interviewing potential attorneys, ask them how they prefer to communicate, how often you will hear from them, and how long you can expect to wait to get a response if you contact them.
If you are someone who wants quick responses and wants to speak to someone on the phone, pick an attorney who can provide this. If you'd prefer to communicate via text or email, make sure they're ok with that. You might be working with this person for the long haul, so be sure your communication preferences and expectations align.
8. What Resources Do You Have Available?
It may be necessary to call in medical experts, accident reconstruction experts, and witnesses to bolster your case. Ask any potential attorney about their contacts and whether they have access to these experts as well as investigators to gather information about your injuries, speak to witnesses, and speak to anyone else who has relevant information.
If they don't have access to those who can help build your case, you may want to consider someone else or another firm.
9. What Is Your Fee Structure?
Finally, one of the most important things to ask potential attorneys about is their fee structure. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they don't get paid unless you win. If you win, they will often get 33% of the settlement amount.
Make sure their fee structure is clear and spelled out in writing. You should also ask about any upfront costs, as medical records, expert testimony, medical examinations, etc. must all typically be paid before you reach a settlement.
Be clear on who pays for these resources. Your attorney may pay for them and then must be repaid once the settlement is reached or you may have to pay upfront for them.
Hire the Best Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Needs
Don't just settle for the first item in your search for "lawyer near me." Make sure they are experienced, have handled similar cases with good outcomes, and will work for you. Personal injuries can come with great costs to you, so you need an attorney who can help get you the fair compensation you deserve.
Pacific States Law Group specializes in personal injury cases and has experience in many different injury types, including car accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, workplace injuries, and wrongful death. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.