In An Accident? Ask Potential Lawyers These 4 Questions Baltimore Post-Examiner

4 Questions To Ask When Choosing A Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve recently been in an accident, you may be feeling overwhelmed by your injuries, piles of paperwork, and – perhaps most of all – the sheer number of lawyers who could potentially help you resolve your case. How do you know what firm to choose? While you can read websites and check reviews in an attempt to find the best personal injury lawyer, the best thing you can do is to actually interview different firms, and you need to be prepared.

When you head into a consultation with a personal injury lawyer, it’s important to ask four key questions. Equipped with these answers, you’ll have a clear sense of which firm is the right fit for your case.

What Field Do You Specialize In?

Personal injury cases are, compared to some fields, rather straightforward, you don’t want to hire a divorce lawyer to handle your car accident suit, or a corporate lawyer for your slip and fall case. The first question you should ask any lawyer, then, is what field the firm specializes in. Even within the personal injury field, you’ll find some lawyers better equipped to navigate particular types of injuries, so dig deep and get the details.

How Much Experience Do You Have?

While a younger lawyer may have a lighter caseload and more time to attend to your case, an entirely new firm may not be your best bet. Instead, look for a firm with lawyers at various phases of their career. For example, a firm like Sherrod & Bernard, P.C. has been in the personal injury sector for 26 years, meaning they’ve seen a wide range of cases and can apply those experiences to your case. A newer firm, on the other hand, might not have the background to see critical nuances in your case and that’s not ideal when it comes to maximizing your reward.

What Are Your Fees?

Hiring a personal injury lawyer is a little bit like playing the Price is Right – some will ask for a lot of money upfront, while others only collect a fee if you win your case. When a lawyer only collects fees if you win, this is known as a contingency fee, and it’s the standard approach for personal injury cases. The downside is that contingency fees are typically about a third of your award, which is probably more than you would pay on an hourly basis, plus fees, especially if you’ve been seriously injured. On the other hand, it’s not an out-of-pocket payment, which is why many people find this approach preferable.

Are You Prepared To Go To Court?

If this is your first time negotiating a legal issue, you may be surprised to learn that as many as 90% of legal cases are settled out of court, and your personal injury suit is likely to be one of them. Unfortunately, that means many lawyers don’t actually think about formal litigation, but rather only about backroom dealings. With that in mind, be sure to ask potential personal injury lawyers whether they’re prepared to take your personal injury case to court, rather than just negotiating a settlement. If they’re not, you won’t be able to take as strong of a position in those initial negotiations.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer is an intimidating process, but if you ask the right questions, you can find the right firm to tackle your case. Keep an open mind, trust your gut, and don’t go with the first firm you interview just to set things in motion. Your future could depend on it.


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I'm a single mother of 2 living in Utah writing about startups, business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and health. I also write for Inc, Score, Manta, and Newsblaze Contact the author.
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