What Questions Should I Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you have been injured in Los Angeles, California because of the reckless, negligent, or intentional acts of others, getting help from a personal injury attorney is important. However, it is equally important for you to make sure that you hire a lawyer who you can work with and who has strong litigation and negotiation skills. Your attorney should also be experienced and have achieved successful results for his or her clients in the past. Many people are unsure about how they might find the right injury lawyer for their cases. Asking these questions can help you to make certain that the attorney that you choose is the right one for you. (NOTE: Some other pertinent personal injury tips)What Areas of Law do you Practice?
Attorneys who do not practice personal injury law may not have the knowledge that your case requires. It is important for you to ask them whether they practice injury law and how much of their practice is focused on it. Attorneys who focus in the area of tort law may be aware of the most recent case decisions and other changes in the law that might impact your case. They may also be experienced in handling claims with insurance companies and with members of the defense bar.Have You Tried Other Cases That Are Similar to my Case?
In addition to finding attorneys who focus on injury law, it is also smart to choose lawyers who have tried cases with similar facts to yours. For example, if you were injured in a truck accident, it is a good idea to choose a legal representative who has handled other truck collision cases. Attorneys who have tried cases like yours may be more familiar with the types of defenses that might be raised and the necessary investigative process involved with building a strong claim.Will You Handle my Case?
At some firms, the lawyers hand off cases to junior attorneys. You should ask the lawyers that you interview if they will personally handle your case or if associates will be handling it. If an associate will handle your case, ask who will supervise him or her and ask to meet the associate as well. You should also ask who you will contact for information about your claim. It is important for you to get this information before you sign a representation agreement with a law firm.Do You Take Cases to Trial?
The vast majority of injury cases are settled before they ever reach trials. However, it is important for you to find lawyers who have taken cases to trial. Some cases do not reach a resolution and must be litigated at trial. If your claim is not settled, you will want to have a litigator who is experienced at taking cases to jury and bench trials. Ask lawyers if they have taken cases to trial in the past, and ask them what their success rate at trial has been. Insurance companies are much likelier to offer fair settlements when they are dealing with attorneys who have reputations as strong litigators.What Are Your Legal Fees?
Most attorneys who practice in the area of tort law charge their fees on a contingency basis. This means that the lawyers do not receive money for their work until and unless they successfully resolve their clients' cases through settlements or jury verdicts. The fees that may be charged may range from 33 and one-third percent to 40 percent, depending on the stage of your case when it is settled or won. It is important to understand that lawyers who charge low contingent fees may be inexperienced and not qualified to handle your case properly.Will I Be Responsible to Pay Costs if my Case Is Unsuccessful?
In addition to attorneys' fees, there are expenses that may be associated with injury claims. These may include court filing fees, investigators' expenses, expert witness fees, postage, and other costs. Different law firms handle the expenses that are related to injury cases differently. Some require their clients to pay for the costs as they arise while others collect the expenses out of the settlements or verdicts that they win for their clients. You will want to know how the law firm handles case-related costs. Lawyers should talk to you before they incur costs to get your approval of them. If the law firm waits until cases are settled or won before they collect the case-related costs, you will want to know if you will be billed for them if your case is lost.What Is the Value of my Claim?
Every injury claim is different, and the amount that your case might be worth will depend on several factors. The extent of your injuries, the likelihood of your recovery, your medical expenses, your income losses, and your other losses will all determine how much your case might be worth. Experienced lawyers should be able to value your claim and provide you with a range of monetary values within which you might expect a settlement to fall.How Long Have You Been Practicing Law?
It is a good idea to ask prospective attorneys how long they have been practicing law. You do not want someone to learn about how to practice law while they are handling your case. Ask the prospective attorneys how long they have been licensed to practice law. You should also ask them specifically how long they have practiced in the area of injury law.What Are the Strengths and Weaknesses of my Case?
If attorneys tell you that you have a strong case, ask them to explain why they believe so. Good attorneys should be able to point to some specifics about your case that make them believe that they will be able to help you to recover compensation. It is also a good idea to ask attorneys about the weaknesses of your case. Attorneys who are knowledgeable and experienced should be able to identify weak areas that may need some work.How Many Cases Are You Currently Litigating?
Some attorneys take on too many cases at once, which leaves them with insufficient time to handle the investigatory work that might be needed to build strong claims. You should ask lawyers about how many cases that they are personally handling so that you can get an idea of whether they will have enough time to handle yours properly.How Long do You Think That My Case Will Take?
It is important to understand that some cases will take longer to resolve than others. For cases involving serious injuries and substantial losses, it may take a few years to resolve them. Other claims may be resolved through settlement negotiations in a few months. You should ask prospective lawyers how long they anticipate your case might take so that you have an idea of what you might expect.Can I Speak With a Former Client?
While attorneys may have testimonials listed on their websites, you should not rely on those alone. Ask the lawyers if they can provide you with references from one or more past clients. If you are provided with contact information, follow up with the former client about the experience that he or she had with the law firm.
Asking questions of prospective lawyers is important. When you hire a lawyer, you will be working with him or her for a long period of time. You will want to make certain that you choose someone who is experienced and who you trust to handle your case effectively. Schedule a consultation with the attorneys at our Los Angeles, California law firm by calling the Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat today at 323.944.0993 or Toll free (24/7) at our Injury Help Center 866-966-5240