What to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer Before Hiring
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Jul 31, 2017 in Personal Injury
Choosing a personal injury lawyer to represent you is an important decision. The skill and experience of the personal injury attorney you choose could be one of the deciding factors in whether you obtain fair compensation for the damages caused by your injury.
When you meet with an attorney, there are seven questions you should ask. These questions will help you determine if the attorney possesses the skills and experience to handle your claim.
The South Bend personal injury lawyers at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak have decades of combined experience representing victims of personal injuries. We have obtained millions in compensation in a variety of claims.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation to find out how we can help you.
1. How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
This is often the first question injury victims have about personal injury cases. People are often uncertain about hiring an attorney because they do not know the answer to this question.
It is important that you know the fees your lawyer will charge before you hire him or her. Our attorneys, like many others, work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no charge for your initial consultation and we do not recover legal fees unless you receive compensation.
Under this system, if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have a huge legal bill waiting for you.
When talking to prospective attorneys, make sure you will not be charged if the attorney loses your case.
If you ask the attorney what happens if he or she loses and this person says that he or she rarely loses, it could be a sign that you will be charged if your claim is unsuccessful. If this happens, you should strongly consider taking your claim to another attorney.
2. Are You a Member of Any Legal Organizations?
Being a member of a legal organization does not indicate that one attorney is more skilled or more of a winner than another. However, these accolades demonstrate that an attorney is committed to the highest ideals of the profession and has been successful fighting for his or her clients' rights.
The attorneys at our firm are members of numerous legal organizations. Founding partner Daniel H. Pfeifer belongs to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, the Board of Directors of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association and the President's Club of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.
Richard W. Morgan is also a member of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the St. Joseph County Bar Association.
3. Have You Taken Cases Like Mine Before?
It may not be possible to find an attorney who has a wealth of experience with a case exactly like yours. However, you want an attorney who has broad experience with cases similar to yours.
For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you want an attorney who has experience successfully recovering compensation for victims of a variety of car accidents. If you were injured due to a property owner's negligence, you want an attorney who has taken these kinds of cases before.
It is always a good idea to ask the attorney about cases similar to yours and what the results were. While the attorney may not be able to provide a lot of detail, he or she should be able to give general information such as the type of injury and a basic description of how it occurred.
Attorneys who claim to specialize in an area of personal injury law may have little to no experience taking cases. That is why you should always dig a little deeper to get a sense of the attorney's track record.
The attorneys at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak take a wide variety of cases involving:
- Car accidents
- Premises liability
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Defective products
- Wrongful death
4. What Can I Do to Improve My Claim's Chances of Success?
One of the advantages to hiring a personal injury attorney is that he or she can manage your entire claim.
However, a skilled attorney will also inform you of what you need to do to improve your claim's chances of success. This could include obtaining vital personal injury evidence, such as medical records, contact information for eyewitnesses to your accident or pictures from the scene of your accident.
Our firm's attorneys will advise you of what you need to do throughout the legal process, including continuing treatment, obtaining evidence or undergoing a medical examination.
5. Will You Take my Case to Trial if Necessary?
It is true that most personal injury cases are settled before a trial is necessary. However, there are cases where an attorney is unable to negotiate a fair settlement, making it necessary to go to trial to obtain the justice and compensation a client deserves.
Before hiring an attorney, you need to ensure that this person is prepared to go to trial if necessary. Ask prospective attorneys about the last time they went to trial.
You should avoid attorneys with little to no recent trial experience. These types of lawyers may be less concerned with your best interests than they are about securing some amount of compensation, even if it is far less than you could obtain at trial.
Our attorneys have many years of combined experience negotiating settlements and taking cases to trial. We have been highly successful with both, obtaining millions in compensation for our clients.
6. Can You Consult Experts if Necessary?
Some personal injury claims can be investigated and settled relatively quickly.
However, other claims require a lengthier investigation and possibly consulting experts and using advanced technology. These things are not cheap, and that is why you need to know if a firm is prepared to fund these things if they are necessary to improve your claim's chances of success.
Ask the attorney what the investigation of your claim will likely entail. He or she should be able to give you a broad overview of what it will take to build your case. Check to make sure the firm will not have any trouble affording these things. If the attorney brushes off the question, it could be sign that the firm lacks the resources your claim deserves.
Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak is prepared for whatever your claim requires, whether that involves hiring experts or using advanced technology.
7. What is my Case Worth?
Your attorney will not be able to determine the precise value of your claim in an initial consultation. However, an attorney should give you an idea of the different forms of compensation you could be entitled if your claim is successful.
He or she should also give you an idea of what kinds of evidence will be needed to substantiate the different types of damages you have suffered.
If an attorney cites outlandish figures but will not provide much detail on the types of compensation, you may want to take your case elsewhere.
The attorneys at our firm will explain the forms of compensation you could be entitled in your initial consultation, which could include:
- All medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Property damage
Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys Today for a Free Consultation
Have you suffered a personal injury caused by someone else's negligence?
You could be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and a variety of other damages.
The South Bend personal injury lawyers at our firm have decades of combined experience pursuing fair compensation for injury victims. Schedule a free legal consultation so we can discuss your legal options.