Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer
#4. Will I Have Access to You as My Lawyer Throughout My Case?
This is one of the top questions to ask any personal injury lawyer you are interviewing. The number one complaint lawyers get from their clients is they are not accessible. They don’t return phone calls or emails or, they simply “disappear” for months on end and leave the client wondering what is going on with their case.
Make sure to face this issue head-on before you hire a personal injury lawyer and find out what their communication style is, so you aren’t left in the dark.
Ask them how accessible they will be. This is crucial!
Attorney-client communication should be a top priority for your injury lawyer.
If you read their customer reviews, you should see that most of their former clients talk about how well they communicate and how much they keep people informed about the process. Does this lawyer or law firm enjoy educating clients along the way? Do they respond to client questions and concerns? Will you have direct access to your assigned lawyer? Can you email your lawyer if you have important legal questions about your case?
In short, an important question to ask a personal injury lawyer you are considering is "will I have direct access to my attorney? AND do you return emails and phone calls? You should expect great communication from your personal injury lawyer!
#5. Do You Litigate Cases and/or Take Them to Trial?
The majority of traffic accident cases will not go to trial. And frankly many of them don’t even require a lawsuit, as they can be resolved in the personal injury insurance claims process. There are however some injury cases that do require litigation and/or trial. These involve some of the more tragic instances when an individual has either suffered a catastrophic injury, or they were killed in the accident.
In those cases, it will be necessary to have an attorney that has litigation and trial experience. To get more than the average personal injury settlement, they may need to take your case to the next level, so you want to be sure they have the experience to do that.
So, one of the most important questions to ask a personal injury lawyer is what sort of litigation, trial and negotiation experience they have.
Make sure you choose the best personal injury attorney for your particular case and injury type. You want to make sure the law firm is a good fit for your own style of conflict resolution and your risk tolerance.
#6. Can You Provide References from Past Clients?
This is not an unreasonable request for a client to make of their attorney. However, due to attorney-client confidentiality, personal injury lawyers cannot simply give out their past clients’ contact information.
Instead, take it upon yourself to do diligent research online to see what past clients are saying about this lawyer or law firm. In the instance where there are few, no or poor reviews online from former clients, there is likely a problem. If there are several reviews, be sure to read them closely to make sure the reviewers are touching on the top qualities you are looking for in a personal injury lawyer.
For example, see the below client review. If you see reviews like this - ones where former clients straight-up invite you to contact them to find out more about their experience in working with the law firm, this is a good sign!
If you're someone who is considering an attorney for a personal accident, I highly recommend Sally Morin and her professional staff of attorneys. If you would like to know more details, feel free to contact me via Yelp and I would be happy to share more details. While I use Yelp quite often, I rarely post reviews... unless I'm truly blown away by great service (or angry with horrible service). If there were a sixth star, I would certainly give it to Rebecca and Sally!
#7. What Can I Do to Ensure the Success of My Case?
This is a very important question for your personal injury attorney. There are several things you can do to strengthen your case or damage it throughout the process. This could mean the difference of thousands of dollars in your pocket.
For instance, more cases are destroyed by social media nowadays than ever before. Even well-meaning folks who just want to comfort their friends and family run the risk of negatively impacting their settlement.
For instance, if you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, you may want to put your family and friends at ease by posting to social media that you’re “doing ok.” Nonetheless, that bit of information can be used against you by the insurance company or an opposing lawyer. They will take it as evidence that you are not as seriously injured as you claim to be.
For that reason, it’s extremely important to avoid posting on social media or talking about the case during the insurance claim and litigation processes.
Ask your personal injury attorney what you can do to help and what you should do to avoid hurting the value of your claim.
#8. How Long Will My Case Take to Resolve?
While no attorney will be able to predict with 100% accuracy when all the legal proceedings will be completed, it’s not unreasonable to ask for a ballpark figure. Much of this depends on what the insurance company does or how opposing counsel defends their client.Most cases can be resolved relatively quickly... if things go smoothly. However, in many instances, negotiations can get difficult and neither side will seem like they want to budge. Medical exams will need to be taken and plaintiffs will need to be present in order to answer questions. This can result in time taken away from work and other disruptions to your schedule. The timeline is really going to depend on many factors in your case. That’s why you’ll want to add this to your list of the top questions to ask the personal injury attorneys you are interviewing.