12 Important Questions to Ask a Lawyer Before Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may have a claim to compensation. Being injured in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, being injured in an unsafe workplace, or even slipping and falling in the parking lot of an unkempt store can all entitle you to a personal injury lawsuit.
However, proceeding with a lawsuit and navigating the legal complexities of a personal injury case can be complex and stressful – even with a good lawyer on your side. Before moving forward, it’s important to get a fuller understanding of your personal injury case and feel confident in what’s coming next.
The Most Important Questions to Ask
As you talk to personal injury lawyers, these are some of the most important questions to ask:
- What are your fees? First, it’s important to know what kinds of fees you’ll be responsible for, assuming your case will win. Typically, lawyers will charge between 33 and 40 percent of the amount awarded to you. If you win $100,000 of compensation, you’ll pay your lawyer between $33,000 and $40,000 of that sum. However, these fees may vary. You may find a new or inexperienced lawyer who charges less, or a prestigious law firm that charges a bit more. Do your research before making a final decision.
- What happens if I lose? In most cases, if you aren’t awarded a settlement, you won’t owe your personal injury attorney any money. However, this isn’t always the case. Make sure you find out what happens in the event of a loss.
- What experience do you have with cases like mine? It’s in your favor to work with a lawyer who has direct, meaningful experience with cases like yours. Have they served many clients in your position? Do they know the ins and outs of the law related to this case? The more experienced and knowledgeable your lawyer is, the better.
- How focused will you be on my case? Competent lawyers are usually busy people. They have a lot of clients and a lot of cases to juggle at any one time. Unfortunately, that means their attention may be divided between a number of different cases at once. It may be in your best interest to work with someone who can afford to spend more dedicated time on your case.
- Who will be handling my case? If you’re working with a large law firm, you may end up working with one of several different attorneys on staff. It’s important to know who you’re going to work with, since you may be communicating with them directly.
- What timeline should we expect? Personal injury cases can take weeks, or even months to fully resolve – especially if you go to trial. It’s hard to estimate exactly how long it’s going to take, but your lawyer may be able to provide you with a ballpark figure. This way, you can make financial and logistical plans.
- Is there a possibility this case will go to trial? Most personal injury cases settle before they ever go to trial. It’s cheaper, easier, and less stressful for the defendant to try and reach an amiable settlement. However, there’s always a possibility that a case will become complicated and go to trial. Your lawyer should be able to help you anticipate this probability.
- How much of a settlement can I expect? It’s difficult to make a concrete estimate for how much money you stand to receive. However, your lawyer may be able to set some expectations and rule out some possibilities. Again, the more knowledge you have, the better.
- What are my responsibilities? Your lawyer is going to work on your behalf to secure you the largest possible settlement. However, you’ll have some responsibilities along the way as well. It’s important to know what those responsibilities are, how involved you’re going to be, and what you’ll be doing next.
- Is there a previous client I can talk to? Before finalizing your decision to work with a personal injury lawyer, it’s a good idea to talk to someone they’ve worked with in the past. Is this former client satisfied with the work this lawyer did? Did they win a settlement?
- How can I make ends meet in the meantime? Your lawyer isn’t in charge of your personal finances, and they may not be in a position to give you financial advice. However, they may be able to refer you to a legal funding provider who can help; legal funding gives you immediate access to your future settlement. If you use the right provider, they won’t charge interest and will instead charge a fixed fee so your payoff will be fixed for the life of your case.
- Is there anything else I should know? Always ask an open-ended final question. Your lawyer may have more information for you, or they may have answers to common questions that other clients have asked in the past. In any case, this is your chance to get more information and better understand your lawyer.
Other Important Considerations
There are a few other important considerations to bear in mind when talking to lawyers about your personal injury case:
- Communication. Think about how easy it’s been to communicate with your lawyer. Do you feel heard and understood, or is it difficult to achieve mutual understanding? Good communication is a must if you want to have a better experience.
- Personal feelings. How do you feel about this lawyer and about this case? Don’t ignore your gut instincts.
- Personal priorities. Is it more important to get the greatest amount of compensation or to resolve the case quickly? Spend time considering your personal priorities.
One of the hardest parts of dealing with the aftermath of a personal injury is finding a way to make ends meet before you’re awarded your compensation. That’s why legal funding exists. Apply for legal funding here, or contact us if you have any questions about legal funding or how it works!