The Questions to Ask a Lawyer During an Initial Consultation
Following an accident in which you sustain injuries, you should reach out to a personal injury lawyer, as a personal injury lawyer will help you navigate the claim process and provide a range of other beneficial services as well. But finding a lawyer that’s right for you may take awhile. That being said, there are some things you can do to expedite the process.
Once you have a short list of promising hires, you need to start utilizing the free consultations that lawyers offer. But what questions should be asked during these free initial consultations? Read on to find out! Below, seven critical questions are detailed. Don’t conclude an initial consultation with a lawyer until you’ve asked all seven.
Call us at 1-800-HURT-511 to speak with personal injury lawyers in Briarwood. We work with lawyers who’ve been representing accident victims and their families for more than a decade, and they’ve secured hundreds of favorable judgments for their clients.
Question 1: What Are Your Credentials?
You should lead off by asking the lawyer about their credentials. If you get a lackluster answer here, there’s really no need to continue with further questions. You’ll want to know:
- Where the lawyer went to law school
- How long they’ve been practicing
- What certifications they hold
- What awards they’ve won
- What professional associations they belong to
A lawyer should be proud of their credentials; they definitely shouldn’t shy away from these. If you have the opportunity to visit the lawyer’s office in person, and you see they have a lot of degrees and certifications on their office wall, this is a good sign.
Question 2: What Experience Do You Have?
Next, you should ask the lawyer about experience. Ask how long they’ve been specializing in cases like the one you intend to bring. Find out if they’ve litigated any high-profile cases. Ask how many favorable judgements they’ve secured. If your lawyer has relevant experience that’ll help them win your case, ask about this. For example, if your lawyer used to work for an insurance company, and they know the ins and outs of how insurance companies operate, this is information you should know. Sometimes, lawyers forget about a lot they’ve done, as they’re so focused on what’s going on in the present. This is one reason why asking questions is so useful.
Question 3: What Can I Expect From Your Firm?
You should also ask about what you can expect from the lawyer’s firm. Every lawyer needs a support staff, and these supporting professionals will be involved in your case in some capacity. If you’re working with a large firm, it’s likely you’ll be dealing with a case manager, and you probably won’t talk to the attorney who’s handling your case much.
On the other hand, if you’re using a law firm that’s smaller, it’s likely you’ll be in direct contact with the lawyer. Figure out what kind of law firm you want to go with ahead of time. Check out the pros and cons of hiring big and small law firms online. Once you have a good idea of which firm is the best fit, you should tailor your questions around this choice, as this way you don’t waste time asking pointless questions.
Question 4: How Much Attention Will My Case Get?
If you’re going with a big law firm, it’s likely your case won’t get the scrutiny it will get at a small law firm. Of course, this isn’t always the case. A big law firm could spend a lot of time on one case, just as a small law firm could pay minimal attention to a case they assume is open and shut. Regardless of the kind of firm you choose, you should make it clear that you have an expectation when it comes to the attention your case gets.
Question 5: How Will You Get Paid?
Most personal injury lawyers work off contingency, but you shouldn’t assume a lawyer operates this way going in. You should ask the lawyer how they get paid. It’s likely they’ll give you a breakdown so you know exactly what you’re paying for. A personal injury lawyer will usually take between 33 and 40% of an award as compensation. They’ll use part of their share to pay for expenses associated with bringing the claim. In New York, there are laws, regulations, and ethical standards that govern how much a lawyer can take from an award. You should make it clear that you’re aware of these laws and regulations during initial consultations.
Question 6: What Will You Do to Expedite the Claim Process?
There are some things a personal injury lawyer can do to expedite the claim process. For example, if they have good relationships with local hospitals, police departments, clerks, judges, etc., they’ll be able to get documents quicker, which means they’ll be able to build your case quicker. However, you don’t want a lawyer who’s just going to rush to secure a settlement. Make this clear during the initial consultation.
Question 7: Do You Have Trial Experience?
While the vast majority of cases (95%) are settled out of court, it’s still possible for your claim to go to trial. If this happens, you will need a lawyer who has trial experience. Ask the lawyers you’re considering if they have trial experience, and find out who’s won any awards for past courtroom advocacy. If they’ve been recognized by a national trial lawyers association, that’s a plus.
A trial is different than negotiating a settlement in a variety of ways. Your lawyer will need to argue in front of a judge and jury, and they’ll need charisma, skills, and expert knowledge to get the court to rule in your favor.
For a long time, finding a top-tier personal injury lawyer was a headache-inducing process, but no more. Just use 1-800-HURT-511. We’re a one-stop solution for those who are looking to file a personal injury case. We’ll connect you with lawyers who have recovered over $1 billion for their clients. They know all about the type of case that you intend to bring, and they can speak numerous languages. Best of all, you don’t have to pay a penny for their help unless they win you money.
Call 1-800-HURT-511, as time is of the essence!