The realm of personal injury law in the US deals with clients who have somehow gotten involved in an accident. This means personal injury law applies to motorcycle accidents, car accidents, and even truck accidents. Accidents involving mass transportation, boats and even pedestrians also fall under personal injury law.
Personal injury law applies to tort law, in which case a party (like a business or individual) is liable for intentional and/or negligent acts that cause harm to others.
If you become involved in an accident and are not familiar with personal injury law, the process can be overwhelming. It’s best to educate yourself with the help of information websites like Injury Claim Coach. With their help, you’ll understand what your rights are as an accident victim and you’ll be better equipped to hire the best personal injury lawyer for your situation to increase your chances of winning the case.
When you’re ready to hire a personal injury lawyer, you must ask them certain questions to determine whether they’re the best representative for your case. In this article, we’ll talk about the most important questions to ask before signing a contract with them.
- How Long Have You Been Practicing Personal Injury Law?
In personal injury law, the aim is to determine who caused the accident. Therefore, your lawyer must be competent and experienced in dealing with such cases. For example, if you were driving your car and a truck driver tried to beat the red light and hit your car, it’s important to demonstrate how the accident happened. Most likely, the other driver will try to cast the blame on you, so your lawyer has to be alert enough to prevent this. A skilled and experienced lawyer will know how to handle the other driver’s attempts to show you were in the wrong.
- How Much Will You Charge To Represent Me?
Many personal injury lawyers charge a contingency fee when they agree to represent you. A contingency fee means the lawyer will not be paid unless you win the lawsuit—the lawyer will deduct their contingency fee from the damages awarded to you. This fee may range from 25–40% of the damages awarded.
With this financial arrangement, you can be more at ease, knowing you’re getting the best possible legal representation for your case.
- How Much Are Your Out-Of-Pocket Costs?
The lawyer you choose may also charge you for ‘out-of-pocket costs.’ It’s also known as ‘case-related costs’ and includes the expenses the lawyer’s office incurs while investigating your case.
These costs are not part of the lawyer’s contingency agreement with you, and they will expect you to cover it. For example, if your lawyer must file a lawsuit against the insurance company to protect your rights, you’ll be expected to pay for the filing fee.
- Am I Your Priority Client?
Some personal injury lawyers may represent many cases at the same time, so you should ask whether the lawyer can focus on your case. If the lawyer has a big caseload already, they may not be able to concentrate on the finer points of your case. But a lawyer with a big caseload may charge less per client, so a lot depends on how much you can afford to pay.
If you can, go for a lawyer with a track record for winning personal injury lawsuits for their clients. Your chances of being paid for damages will be much higher with such a lawyer.
- Do You Think I Can Win This Lawsuit?
An experienced lawyer will say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to this question after going through the preliminary facts of the case. It’s important to ask because if your lawyer already believes you will lose, they may not give your case their best effort.
Likewise, a lawyer who cannot give a straight answer may not be experienced enough to help you win your case. If they don’t know and they can’t justify why, it may be a telltale that they haven’t dealt with enough personal injury cases.
If your lawyer is confident that the case facts will hold up in court, it shows that they’ve dealt with similar cases and have been successful.
- Do You Expect Me To Be Present During Every Hearing?
Many lawyers don’t expect their clients to be present throughout all the proceedings. Sometimes, they may ask you to attend, but if you’re still recovering from your injuries, it may not be feasible.
The lawyer you choose should be capable enough to deal with the case, even in your absence. To be fair, try to attend the first few hearings, then let your lawyer handle the rest.
- What Kind of Compensation Is Due To Me In This Lawsuit?
In personal injury law, there are some common types of compensation awarded to accident victims. They are:
- Medical Expenses.
- Loss of Earning Capacity.
- Loss of Income.
- Loss of Consortium.
- Loss of Companionship.
- Emotional Distress.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life.
- Pain and Suffering.
- Mental Anguish.
The extent of your injuries may affect how many of these types of compensation will apply in your case. Take note that your preferred lawyer will need to gather a lot of evidence to support any claims for damages. Your lawyer will be in a better position to seek the level of damages that apply when the case goes to court, or if the other party wants an out-of-court settlement.
- Will My Insurance Cover This Accident?
Not all insurance companies cooperate with their policyholders after an accident. Some may try to avoid compensating their policyholders. Your personal injury lawyer should have sufficient experience in dealing with insurance companies in the area of personal injury law so you won’t be left out in the cold.
Some lawyers prefer that their client avoid appearing in court for routine pleadings since that may hamper how the case proceeds. If this is your situation, ask your lawyer if you can do anything to strengthen your case against the other party. The lawyer may ask you to supply your copy of your insurance policy, medical records related to your injuries from the accident, and names of witnesses you know of.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can assist you in case you ever get into an accident. If you’re sure the other party is to blame, your lawyer should be able to gather sufficient evidence to support your claim before they file the lawsuit.
Note that you have a major part to play in this case since you’re the injured party. Therefore, help with gathering evidence against the other party to make it easier for your lawyer to pursue the case against them. This includes taking witnesses’ numbers and keeping records of your hospital visits, etc.
With a competent lawyer, your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve are much higher. The questions discussed in this article will help you find that competent lawyer.