It can be difficult to know exactly what to do or say after you’ve suffered a personal injury. The most important decision you’ll make in your case, though, is finding a good attorney. Don’t just call the first person you see on a billboard. Take the time to shop around for a lawyer you can work with and trust. These starter questions will give you an idea of what to ask an attorney upon your initial meeting to get the conversation flowing.
- What types of cases have you worked before?
Personal injury claims come in all shapes and sizes. Some are common — like the 300,000 injuries and 1,000 deaths at construction sites that occur every year — and some less so, like the 7,000 annual injuries that happen as a result of accidents at amusement parks. If you can find an attorney who has worked a case similar to yours in the past, they’ll be well positioned to help you out of your situation. Just make sure you also learn about the results of that past case, too, and find out if the client was satisfied with their legal representation.
- Do you think my case will go to trial?
This is an important question to ask, as it could determine the length of the claims process and perhaps your eventual settlement. Only 4 to 5% of personal injury cases in the United States ever go to trial — the rest get settled out of court. A long trial process could result in high court fees, but if it succeeds, it could mean a much larger settlement. Remember, too, that your lawyer only gets a cut out of whatever your settlement earns — so it’s in their best interest to win, too.
- How often can I meet with you about my case?
Most people don’t think about the lines of communication when wondering what to ask an attorney. Of course they’ll meet with you the first time to try to get your business, but what happens after that? Will you be working with another person in the firm? Will you be able to contact them directly in case of an emergency? How the lawyer responds to this question could reveal a great deal about their personal compatibility and commitment to your case.