Needing the services of a personal injury lawyer is one of those events that you think will never happen to you — until the automobile crash, the dog bite, or the slip and fall accident. Suddenly you find yourself in the market for an attorney who can help make you whole again.
This is unfamiliar territory for most people. That’s why we’ve gathered up some of the important questions to ask personal injury law firms. Before you pick a personal injury attorney, read on to get prepared for that initial consultation.
The first matter of business when you consult with a personal injury attorney is to lay out your case.
Tell them everything that happened. Show them any documentation or evidence you may have. They will probably have questions for you, as well — answer these honestly and the best of your ability.
Because of the fee structure in personal injury law, which we’ll discuss in more detail later on, attorneys won’t take on a case that they aren’t confident of winning.
In some instances, therefore, they will decline to take you as a client. If they do think you have a solid case, they’ll let you know and explain why.
Personal injury lawyers don’t usually charge by the hour or require a retainer. Instead, they work on a contingency basis.
This means that they do not get paid their fee until they have negotiated an acceptable settlement in your case or won in court. This is a good arrangement for a couple of reasons.
First, it means you don’t have to pay fees out of pocket, which would be prohibitive for most people.
It’s also a guarantee that the attorney will fight hard to get as much compensation for you as possible. After all, their fee will be a percentage of your settlement amount, so they’re motivated to do the best possible job.
The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits will never see the inside of a courtroom. Instead, they are settled out-of-court. However, it’s important to know that if your case does end up going to trial, your attorney is prepared to fight in that arena.
Personal injury law has tremendous scope, and there are many areas of specialization.
Choose an attorney whose track record is in winning cases similar to yours. Whether it’s a prescription error case, wrongful death, or a motorcycle accident, you need a lawyer with specific experience.
It’s very possible that your case will be handled primarily by junior attorneys and paralegals.
The attorney whose name is on the billboard, might be overseeing their work, but not actively involved in your case. That’s OK, but you should understand this before signing on the dotted line. Make sure you get to meet the people who you’ll be in the closest contact with.
It’s important to be prepared with the right questions to ask a personal injury lawyer before meeting with them. That makes it easier to determine if they are a good fit for you.
We’ve also put together a list of top-rated doctors to see in NY if you were injured in an accident.
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