When you suffer an injury that you believe occurred because of the negligence or actions of another party, it can overwhelm you as you try to determine what you can do. Place contacting a personal injury attorney at the top of your priorities after a personal injury. A personal injury lawyer can give you advice, guidance, and an experienced perspective and opinion about your case and the likelihood of compensation.
Many personal injury attorneys offer victims and potential clients a free case consultation. Take advantage of this opportunity. During a consultation, you can ask questions and discuss your personal injury case and your options.
The following questions are a good starting point to go over, and you can incorporate any additional questions you can think of specifically for your case.
What Types of Cases Do You Handle?
Many lawyers represent clients who experienced a wide range of scenarios. If you are in a city or metropolitan area, it can become overwhelming once you realize the number of lawyers there. Pinpointing the right attorney that can handle your case can be a challenge. When meeting with a lawyer for the first time, the first topic you should review is the types of cases they handle.
When you are a personal injury victim, you want to find an attorney who works on personal injury cases daily. Although there is no restriction on lawyers regarding the types of cases they can represent a client in, as a personal injury victim, you want a lawyer with extensive background, knowledge, and experience handling cases involving negligence and seeking compensation on behalf of victims.
Personal injury lawyers can handle cases that involve negligent injuries, such as:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accident
- Truck accidents
- Slip and falls
- Premises liability
- Pedestrian or bicycle accidents
- Transportation accidents such as buses and rideshares
- Construction accidents
- Catastrophic injuries
- Dog bites
- Wrongful death
Do You Have Experience Handling Similar Personal Injury Cases?
No two personal injury cases will have the same facts and circumstances. However, you can ask a lawyer you are considering hiring for your personal injury case whether they have experience dealing with similar cases in the past.
When a lawyer has experience dealing with cases involving similar personal injuries, they can better understand how insurance companies may work when dealing with such claims and the best options for navigating through negotiations and possible settlements.
The more experience a lawyer has with the type of personal injury case you are facing, the more insight they can provide you. Insight such as the expectations and the likelihood you can settle outside of court.
What Are Some of Your Case Results?
A successful lawyer will want to share those successes, especially with potential clients. Ask an attorney you are consulting with about their case results. Although they cannot share specific information about a case because of client confidentiality and protections, they can share general information without identifying information. They should share with you some examples of cases they have settled and approximate compensation achieved on behalf of a client.
You may also want to ask whether their results are for settlements or verdicts, which can provide further insight into their capabilities to take a case the distance should it become necessary.
For example, if a lawyer skirts around the topic or does not wish to disclose information about case results, you should be cautious about hiring them. They may not have a proven track record due to a lack of a caseload or may not have positive outcomes due to inexperience or other challenges.
What Is Your Fee Arrangement and Terms?
Personal injury lawyers typically work under contingency fee arrangements for the payment of their services. You should never assume what a lawyer’s fees and payment structure will be in a case. Ask a potential attorney directly what their fee arrangements and terms for representation are.
In a contingency fee arrangement, a lawyer gets paid for their work only if and when they successfully win compensation in the case. They then receive a percentage of the compensation for their attorney fees.
Contingency fee percentages vary depending on the jurisdiction you are in and can also vary depending on the stage of the case a resolution occurs. When meeting with an attorney for the first time, ask them what the representation could cost you and your financial obligations if your case does not succeed.
Once you decide to hire a lawyer, the fee agreement you will sign should list all costs related to representation, such as the contingency fee percentage and any additional terms and conditions.
How Will You Communicate With Me During My Representation?
Different attorneys have different communication preferences, and how clients can contact them directly or a team member. When meeting with a lawyer, ask how they handle communications.
A lawyer should be reasonably accessible to a client during their representation. Ask about methods of communication for clients available such as email, text, or phone, as well as their policy on returning calls and messages.
Understanding their perspective on client contact and expectations can help you decide if the lawyer is a good fit for your needs and can help you know what to expect as you move ahead in your personal injury claim and case.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for My Case?
An often overlooked aspect of a potential personal injury claim by a victim is the statute of limitations. Accident victims do not have an unlimited time frame to take legal action against a party they believe is responsible for their damages.
Each state has laws that delineate how much time personal injury plaintiffs have to file a lawsuit in court to preserve their right to seek compensation against a defendant.
The statute of limitations can vary depending on the type of personal injury case and in light of certain circumstances. Therefore, it is best to ask the personal injury attorney you are meeting with about the statute of limitations that applies in your case and how much time remains.
How Much Compensation Might I Be Eligible For?
You are meeting with a personal injury lawyer in the first place because you suffered injuries in an accident or incident that occurred because of the possible negligence of another party or parties.
You are seeking compensation for a personal injury, and you want to know how much money you may receive as part of a claim or personal injury lawsuit. You cannot and should not expect that a lawyer can give you an exact estimate at a first meeting where they do not have the full evidence before them and have just learned about the case.
However, they can give you their perspective and share past case results in their experience that ended positively for their client. With this information, you can form some expectations about what is possible in your case. After you hire an attorney and they can investigate the case properly and gather the evidence of damages, you may get a more precise calculation of your maximum damages to help you as you entertain potential settlement offers in the case or make decisions about taking further action if necessary.
If the Other Party Refuses to Settle, Can You Represent Me in a Trial?
It may surprise an accident victim to learn that not all personal injury lawyers will represent a client at a trial if one should become necessary. There are instances in which, if a settlement agreement is not possible in a case, a personal injury attorney may refer you to a litigator with experience going to trial.
When meeting with your personal injury attorney, ask if they have the resources and experience to take your case to trial if it becomes necessary based on developments. If a lawyer assures you they have the capacity and willingness to represent you throughout the case, whether a settlement or trial, then you know what to expect.
When the attorney relays that they would not represent you in a trial situation, you may want to discuss what attorney would handle the case in those circumstances and then decide whether that is an acceptable arrangement for you.
Most personal injury cases eventually settle but not all. There is always a chance, even if it is small, that a case may not reach a successful settlement agreement for any number of reasons, and the case would need to proceed through a trial. You want to understand the process from the outset of your representation so that you do not find yourself in an uncomfortable and uncertain situation later in the case.
What Is the Expected Timeline to Reach a Resolution in My Case?
How long will it take to reach some kind of resolution in your personal injury case? This is the burning question many victims want the answer to. The answer depends greatly on how the case develops and the challenges and obstacles that may arise along the way.
Cases that resolve through settlement agreements resolve much quicker typically than when a trial is necessary to resolve the matter.
However, even in cases that reach a settlement, negotiations can sometimes take many months, and an agreement can occur once a lawsuit is well underway.
Ask your attorney for their perspective on a timeline to reach a resolution in your personal injury case. They cannot give you a specific date but may be able to estimate more or less how long your type of personal injury case can take to reach a definitive outcome.
Will You Be Accepting My Case?
If you are meeting an attorney for the first time and you are at an initial consultation, there is not yet an established attorney and client relationship. Just as the first consultation can offer you the opportunity to decide whether you wish to hire a particular attorney for your case, the first meeting also offers the attorney an opportunity to learn about your specific case and determine whether they can accept it.
An attorney may not take on a personal injury case for many reasons. Ask the attorney you are meeting with whether they can take you on as a client; if they are willing to accept your case, you can decide whether you will agree to their representation.
What Can I Do to Help My Case?
Once you have hired your attorney to represent you in a personal injury claim, you can ask them for guidance on how to help your case move forward. While the lawyer and their team will be taking on the responsibilities relating to the legal aspects of your claim and case, there are some things you can do to benefit your case and protect your rights.
For example, continuing your medical treatment, gathering records, and writing down questions or notes about things that happen before your next meeting with the personal injury attorney in Denver can help you stay on top of the case and provide relevant information as your case progresses.