When you fall victim to a serious and sudden injury, your finances can take an equally serious hit. Though you may know that a personal injury lawyer can help you recover the compensation you need, you may not know about choosing the right legal representative.
Their experience and skill will directly impact whether you recover compensation. The soundest way of making the most of a free consultation is knowing which questions can help you assess whether a potential lawyer is right for you.
In particular, these six questions will help you gather the information you need to make that decision:
1. What’s Your Practice Area and Background?
Personal injury law encompasses a huge variety of accident types, and not all personal injury lawyers handle the same types of cases.
Common practice areas include the following:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability
- Premises liability
- Wrongful deaths
Even within each of these areas, a personal injury lawyer might handle several different case types. For example, a lawyer who accepts motor vehicle accidents may handle car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents, but not rideshare accidents. As such, the first thing you need to know is whether a personal injury lawyer is qualified to take on your case.
As you learn about their practice areas, it is also the right time to get a feel for their professional background. Ask how long they’ve been a lawyer, how long they’ve been at their current firm, and how long they’ve been practicing in your area. Generally, “the longer the practice, the more experience.”
2. Do You Have Experience With Injuries Like Mine?
Many personal injury lawyers handle car accident cases, but not all of them have experience handling those involving catastrophic injuries, such as brain injuries and spinal injuries. When your trauma is severe, it’s crucial that you find a lawyer who understands the complexities of your case.
The long-term impact of a spinal injury, for instance, could have consequences that include the following:
- Future medical procedures
- Lifelong attendant care and medical equipment costs
- Lifelong loss of wages and benefits as a result of those costs
In addition to recovering compensation for lost wages and medical bills already incurred, a personal injury lawyer needs to identify those lifelong expenses and prove their likelihood accurately. If your lawyer has little experience doing so, you risk walking away with a far lower compensation value than a more experienced attorney might help you acquire.
3. Can You Talk About Your Case Results?
Once you identify that a personal injury lawyer can take on your case, you must determine whether they have the experience to produce the desired results. The most practical way to do so is to ask about their prior case results. This can give you concrete evidence of what a specific lawyer has achieved for clients like you in the past.
Many personal injury firms list their case results online or are willing to discuss them during your free consultation. When looking at their results, specifically ask to see those that involved injuries and expenses similar to yours. Doing so can give you a realistic idea of what to expect regarding your case’s outcome.
4. What’s Your Assessment of My Case?
Once you feel satisfied that a personal injury lawyer has the background and experience you’re looking for, it’s time to discuss your case. You can start off by asking for a general assessment. After reviewing the facts of your case, your lawyer should be able to give you an idea of how they can help.
One of the most important aspects of a personal injury case is establishing liability. Before you can recover any form of compensation, your lawyer must provide proof that the other person’s actions amount to negligence.
During a free consultation, your lawyer will specify whether negligence can be established right off the bat. If so, you have a case, and you can ask about its potential value. Keep in mind, though, that your lawyer will only be able to give you a ballpark estimate. The more information and documentation you can bring along, the more accurate the case assessment.
It’s also a good idea to ask if they foresee any complexities or complications arising in your case. If you attend multiple free consultations, you’ll want to compare each lawyer’s assessments. Taking notes can help you remember the details while deciding which lawyer to move forward with.
5. Do You Handle Cases Personally?
One of the most commonly overlooked questions during personal injury consultations concerns who handles your case. When you meet a lawyer for the first time, it’s common to assume they’ll be the person working on your case, but that isn’t always true. Law firms are free to choose how they handle their caseload.
Before you assume that the lawyer you’re speaking with will be the person handling your case, it’s good to ask questions about how the firm operates. In some firms, partners may work collaboratively on cases, while in others, cases might be handed off to a junior associate or paralegal.
If the personal injury lawyer in front of you won’t be the person on your case, you can ask more questions about how your case will be handled.
6. How Do Your Fees Work?
Personal injury lawyers typically work on contingency, which means they only take payment when a case is complete. The amount you will owe for their legal services is determined as a percentage of the overall compensation value you win.
You should always ask about how a personal injury lawyer handles their fees, including the percentage of your compensation they will take. It’s also a good idea to ask whether there are any additional costs you’ll be expected to pay upfront or out-of-pocket when the time comes.
Schedule a Consultation With a Gavelston Personal Injury Lawyer Today
The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers is a personal injury firm serving clients in Galveston, TX. Over the past six decades, we’ve recovered over $300 million for our injured clients.
When you need personal injury compensation, we’re ready to help. Contact The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd Personal Injury Lawyers at (281) 992-8633 today to schedule a free consultation with a Galveston personal injury attorney.