No one ever expects to be involved in a serious accident. That being the case, most people have never thought, What questions should I ask a personal injury lawyer?
However, the reality is that accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and the fourth most common cause of death in the United States.
Thus, it’s possible—if not probable—that you or a family member will find yourself scheduling a consultation with an injury attorney after an accident at some point in your life.
Most seasoned personal injury lawyers are accustomed to helping accident victims who are unfamiliar with the process. But different lawyers have different approaches and varying strengths and weaknesses.
So before hiring an attorney, you should always speak to more than one to get a feel for how they practice. And when speaking with them, it’s good to know some important questions to ask a personal injury lawyer.
1. How Much Experience Do You Have Handling Virginia Personal Injury Cases?
When meeting with a personal injury attorney, questions to ask include inquiries about their level of expertise. Experience is critical when it comes to personal injury lawsuits.
Attorneys must not only possess a deep knowledge of the substantive laws that govern these cases, but they should also be effective negotiators.
When discussing an attorney’s experience, be sure to focus on personal injury experience rather than general experience practicing law.
2. Who Will Handle My Case?
Especially at larger law firms, it is common for a senior attorney to meet with an accident victim. However, once they retain the firm’s services, the firm passes the client off to a junior associate or even a paralegal!
While that may not be an issue for you, it’s good to know if the person you are talking to at the interview is the one who will actually handle your case.
3. Have You Handled a Case Like Mine Before?
When discussing an attorney’s experience, ask the lawyer whether they’ve handled a case similar to yours in the past and how it turned out. This can give you an idea of any potential issues that may arise.
4. How Often Do You Take Cases to Trial?
Most cases do not go to trial. In part, this is because insurance companies often prefer to settle cases rather than go to the expense and inconvenience of a trial, but it might also be an attorney’s unwillingness to try cases.
The ability to try a case by your handling attorney is absolutely critical to the value of your case.
The insurance company may extend a more favorable settlement offer if it believes your attorney is a strong litigator.
Conversely, if you have an attorney who rarely goes to trial, an insurance company may not feel the sense of urgency to settle the case.
5. Do You See Any Problems with My Case?
As an accident victim, you’ve already been through a lot. The last thing you want is to decide on bringing a claim, only to learn later that there are some serious problems with your case.
A skilled personal injury lawyer should be able to determine fairly early on whether there are any potential issues that may make recovering money for your injuries more challenging.
Make sure you hire someone who is honest with you about the bad parts of your case and the good parts.
6. How Can I Reach You if I Have a Question About My Case?
Throughout the process, you may have questions to ask your personal injury lawyer. You should know the best way to get a hold of your attorney when you need them, and not just a paralegal, but the actual attorney.
Do they typically respond more quickly to emails, phone calls, or texts? Does that method of communication suit you? These are things to discover before hiring a firm.
7. Do You Have Any References I Can Speak To?
Attorneys with a successful track record likely have a long list of clients who they’ve helped.
You should consider asking a lawyer if they have any client testimonials or references you can speak to about how the lawyer handled their case.
8. How Do You Charge for Your Services?
Most personal injury lawyers take cases on a contingency basis. This means that you don’t pay any legal fees upfront. If your case is successful, the attorney will take a percentage of the proceeds.
However, this percentage can vary, so it is important to ask the attorney what percent they collect if the case results in a settlement or favorable jury verdict.
Some personal injury lawyers even advance the costs of litigation, so be sure to ask about how costs are handled as the case progresses.
9. What Is My Level of Involvement Throughout the Process?
Every lawyer expects a different level of involvement from their clients. Some take the reins early on and handle everything, while others are more open to receiving input and advice from their client.
While this is largely up to your personal preference, it is important to ask what your attorney anticipates your role will be in the process.
Do You Have Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you or a loved one recently suffered serious injuries in an accident, River Run Law can help. At River Run Law, we are passionate about helping accident victims.
Since we first opened our doors, we’ve recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients.
Our approachable Virginia personal injury lawyers understand that many of our clients are new to the process, and we take the time to answer all your questions and walk you through the process.
To learn more about the services we provide, reach out to schedule a free consultation. You can contact us at 804-552-5433 or through our online form.