5 Questions for Your Personal Injury Attorney

by CherrellT on October 2, 2011

If you’ve been injured on the job, in a car accident, or in any other setting, you may have to seek the help of an attorney to recover damages for your losses. Before you hire an attorney, though, there are certain qualities that he or she must possess in order to represent you in court. If you hire the wrong attorney, you might not be able to receive the compensation that you rightfully deserve. In this article, you’ll learn five questions you must ask before hiring a personal injury attorney.

1) What experience do you have?

Although it may seem obvious that you need to have an experienced attorney on your side, you need to make sure that that attorney is right for your particular case. If you were injured in a car accident, you would want to make sure that the attorney had the appropriate experience in this area. Also, make sure that he or she has a “winning record” when it comes to procuring settlements for their clients.

2) What are the costs?

Some attorneys charge more than others, and the time and manner in which clients pay is different across the board. Your attorney might charge by the hour, while others are paid based on a contingency fee – meaning that the attorney is paid based on a percentage of your settlement. Make sure that you understand how you’re being charged. If money is an issue for you, then the contingency fee may be the best option for you.

3) What could cause problems with my case?

Honesty is an important factor to consider in an attorney-client relationship. One way to check the level of honesty in an attorney is by asking him or her to point out some of the holes in your case. Ask if a lack of evidence might prevent you from receiving a settlement. Make sure that the attorney tells you what the defense could present in court to discredit your case.

4) How long will it take?

It’s important to know the length of time it could take to finally settle your case. Knowing the approximate time could help you to plan for the immediate future. You’ll have to figure out how to pay for personal expenses, rent, food, and any other costs. A lengthy case could prevent you from returning to work, caring for your children, or any other obligations for which you’re responsible.  Also ask if the attorney would be willing to advance funds against settlement.

5) Is there an alternative to court?

You may not want to go through the hassle of a lengthy court case. Make sure that you ask your attorney if you have any alternative options. A settlement could possibly be reached out of court, or the dispute could be handled in mediation. Alternative dispute resolution may be an option as well. Have your attorney discuss all of your possible options to decide which one is best for you.

A qualified personal injury attorney can make the difference between receiving a fair settlement and losing what’s rightfully yours. Use these five questions as a starting point in determining which attorney is right for you.

Casey Hamilton is a legal consultant and content contributor for an Illinois injury blog at chicagopersonalinjurylawyer.com.

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