CHOOSING THE RIGHT LAWYER: OUR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY EXPLAINS WHAT YOU SHOULD ASK
Choosing a lawyer is more than just finding someone to represent you. It is about making the right choice for your case. This is because a personal injury lawyer is more than just recovering compensation for you but ensuring that your rights to compensation are protected for your losses then, now, and in the future. And it is not just representing victims, but also the entire family who are also often heavily impacted by an unexpected accident. Our personal injury attorney in Philadelphia, PA, explains what you and your family need to ask when you meet during a consultation.
Our personal injury law firm is sharing this with you because we want to ensure that you make the right decision for your type of case. This may include asking challenging questions that may pressure a lawyer to answer them truthfully. But that is acceptable because you need to know that you are getting someone who sees you more than just a file name—but a person with a problem that needs to be resolved. This personalized and dedicated approach is how we handle cases at The Law Offices of Craig A. Altman.
Questions to Ask During Your Consultation
There are several important questions that you should ask your prospective personal injury lawyer during a consultation. These questions range from experience, licensure, and financials, among other important topics.
Some of the most important questions you should ask your lawyer include the following:
What type of experience do you have handling my type of case?
Personal injury lawyers will generally handle auto accidents, slip and falls, and dog bites. Some may also handle medical malpractice/birth injury and other workers’ compensation or workplace accidents. But there can be broader topics than they may seem.
For example, auto accidents could include car accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian knockdowns, motorcycle crashes, and trucking wrecks. While liability in most of these cases is similar, there are important differences. This is particularly true of trucking wrecks, which have a completely unique set of rules and regulations known as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. These are very important rules and regulations for a lawyer to know about to help prove a case. A lawyer who normally handles just car accident cases may not know about the FMCSA regulations in a trucking accident case which is often considered much more complex than a regular car accident case.
Therefore, it is important to be specific and ask if your lawyer has handled your particular type of case before and can give you some outcomes. It is crucial to ask this about the trial experience to ensure your attorney has experience in court.
Where are you licensed, are you in good standing, and have you been disciplined or suspended?
Knowing whether a lawyer is experienced is one thing, but also properly licensed and without any blemishes on their record is another. It is always important to ensure that your attorney is appropriately licensed to handle your case, is in good standing with the state bar, and has not been subject to any restrictions or suspensions. These could be warning signs.
How are you paid, how am I paid, and who pays the upfront costs?
Compensation is obviously important—that is why you may have gone to a lawyer in the first place. It is completely acceptable, actually expected and required, that a client will ask about how the money is paid out.
Generally, the discussion of money could come up right away if a lawyer asks you to pay for the consultation. If that happens, stay away. Personal injury consultations are usually free, and any firm charging you upfront is not the one you want to be working with.
The same is true of costs and disbursements. If the lawyer asks you to pay the upfront costs for filing, experts, medical records, and postage, it either means that the lawyer does not think you have a good case/does not feel confident in your case, or the lawyer is in need of money. These are both signs to stay away from this lawyer.
Finally, it is imperative to know how much the lawyer’s contingency fee percentage is and when that is paid. Personal injury lawyers almost exclusively work on contingency fee agreements. Any time a personal injury lawyer charges you hourly, it is a bad sign.
Call our personal injury lawyers for help.
If you were injured in an accident, contact us today to speak to an attorney about your case.