Searching for a lawyer can be tough, especially after you or a loved one have suffered an injury.
But because working with the right counsel can provide your personal injury case with the best possible chances of success, it’s important to devote some time into vetting potential candidates. One of the best ways to do that is by knowing which questions to ask during an initial consultation.
As a firm that knows a person’s choice of legal representation can make or break their case, our team at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. has put together a list of questions to ask a potential personal injury lawyer.
Lawyer Background and Experience
An initial consultation is a great place to learn about a lawyer’s background and experience. Some important questions to ask:
- How many personal injury cases have you handled?
- Have you handled cases like mine?
- How many cases have you taken to trial? What were the results?
- What associations and professional organizations have you been admitted to?
- Have you ever been suspended from practice of law? If yes, why?
When asking these types of questions, consider how the particular qualities, practice areas, or certifications of a lawyer may be beneficial in your case. You can ask if they have a special focus on cases like yours, what their resources or support networks are like (investigators, medical experts, etc.), and whether they handle potentially related matters, like workers’ compensation or social security disability.
This can prevent you from making the wrong assumptions. Just because an attorney advertises that they handle personal injury cases, for example, doesn’t mean they handle them day-in and day-out or that they have handled one like yours. It also doesn’t mean they take cases to trial if they need to.
Ask about their experience and results so you can make an informed decision.
Assessment of Your Case
Describe the facts of your case to the personal injury attorney. The attorney can evaluate essential issues in your case and your grounds for legal action.
When taking about your case, you can ask:
- What is your assessment of my case?
- How long does it usually take to resolve similar injury cases?
- Is my case more likely to settle or go to trial?
- What are some possible arguments and defenses for my case?
- What problems do you foresee with my case?
- What is an estimated value of my case?
- Will you get me more money than other attorneys? Why?
Not every question will be easy to answer. The value of a personal injury case, for example, depends on specific facts that aren’t always known at the beginning of a case. Attorneys who provide explanations when answering your questions can help you understand unfamiliar legal information and how things work, which is something you’ll need throughout your case.
In addition to talking about a lawyer’s background, you’ll want to hear how they would handle your case. A few questions you may want to ask:
- How would you handle my case? Do you have a process?
- How often will you communicate with me about my case?
- What are some of the steps you take to investigate or build cases?
- What are some resources you use in your cases?
- How do you handle settlement negotiations and what happens if a case goes to trial?
Don’t be too surprised if attorneys can’t provide specific answers. The strategy for any injury case can only be developed after extensive review and investigation. General answers can still help you get a feel for your case and the way an attorney works.
Legal Fees and Other Money Matters
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only collect a fee from a final settlement or award at the conclusion of a case. Still, you will want to confirm this during your initial consultation and ask some other questions to better understand how fees will work. Questions worth asking:
- Do you work on contingency fees or an hourly rate? Do you require a retainer payment?
- What is your contingency fee percentage? Does it change under any circumstances (such as going to trial)?
- What out-of-pocket expenses are anticipated? Do you advance up-front costs?
- What is your estimate of how much the entire case will cost, including fees?
- If I do not get a monetary award, will I owe you any money?
Give Our Attorneys a Call. Consultations are FREE and Confidential.
At The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., we offer free consultations because we want victims to voice their questions and concerns and get the facts straight from qualified lawyers. We also want potential clients to learn about us and why we’re the right choice to handle their case.
If you have questions about a personal injury cases and how our NYC attorneys may be able to help, contact us to request a free consultation. You can also visit our FAQ page for more helpful information.