The period of time following an auto accident is stressful. You’re in pain, your vehicle is likely damaged, and it probably feels like the paperwork will never end. You want to hire a car accident lawyer, but how can you be sure that you’re hiring the right one for you?
Before you commit to hiring an attorney, it’s important that you schedule a sit-down with them. This meeting is called an initial consultation, and it will not only give you a chance to get to know the attorney a little before you commit to working with them, but it will also give the attorney a little information about you and your case.
We’ve accumulated some of the most important questions you should ask before you hire a car accident lawyer. Read on to learn what you should ask and why.
Question #1: Can you tell me about your background and experience?
This will help you get a good feel for who your lawyer is as a person as well as whether or not they’re qualified to assist you. Here are a few follow-up questions you can ask to get a more refined picture of the attorney.
- Where did the lawyer go to school?
- Are they a part of any professional organizations?
- How long have they practiced law?
- Do they specialize in personal injury law?
- Do they only represent accident victims, or do they work outside of that specific parameter?
- Have they worked with cases similar to yours? How many?
Question #2: How would you assess my particular case?
Bring your case history with you— the accident report, records from any medical attention you’ve received, bills from your medical care, insurance correspondence, photos, and any other documentation that you feel might be relevant to your case. Share this paperwork with the attorney, and give them your version of events. Ask how the attorney would assess your case, and then follow up with these questions:
- What do you see working in our favor? What works against us?
- Do you believe the case will have to go to trial?
- What kind of financial compensation do you believe I can expect?
- Is mediation or arbitration a possibility?
- What’s the anticipated timeline for this case?
Question #3: How will my case be managed?
Every firm manages cases differently. Some have a team that handles a variety of cases, while others have one person who follows one case from start to finish. Understanding how this attorney’s firm manages cases will help you understand who to contact when you have questions. Here are some helpful questions to get further clarification:
- Are you handling my case, or will you pass it to another attorney?
- Will you be present for negotiations and court appearances?
- Who would be my day-to-day contact?
- Do you offer routine progress reports? How often, and what’s in the reports?
- How should I contact you?
Question #4: Can you give me an estimate of my costs?
This is a question that’s difficult for any car accident lawyer to address. There are a lot of contingencies, but you can ask additional questions that will help you understand what you’ll be expected to pay.
- Do you charge an hourly rate for your services, or do you charge a contingency fee?
- Will you charge a retainer fee?
- Should we lose the case or fail to get a settlement, will I owe you money?
- Can you estimate any other anticipated expenses?
- How much do you envision I’ll take home after the legal fees and expenses are paid?
Any good car accident lawyer will be able to answer these questions and any other ones that might occur to you during your meeting. Once you’ve found the attorney whose answers indicate that they’re the best person to handle your case, you can start the proceedings. If you’ve been in a car accident in Southwest Florida, and you’re seeking an accomplished and experienced attorney, contact us. We’re ready to help.