As you drive home from work, another vehicle blows through a traffic light and T-bones your car. It is a frightening experience. Now that you’re hurt, sore all over, dealing with your insurance company and trying to locate a rental car, you’re in a bind. A personal injury lawyer helps you navigate this traumatic experience and file a personal injury claim.
There is nothing wrong with shopping around. Selecting an attorney who works well with you ensures that your personal injury claim process is smooth. How do you determine which lawyer you should hire? And how do you know when to hire a personal injury lawyer?
You need to approach selecting the right lawyer the same way you would for any other services – ask a lawyer questions and decide if they are the right fit.
Our clients are more than just cases to us at Lipton Law. Our team believes you are more than just a client, and we want to obtain the compensation you deserve after the losses you suffered. The Michigan personal injury lawyers at our firm are here to help you, and our areas of practice include MI car accident, slip-and-fall accident, and dog bite injuries, to name a few.
What to Ask a Lawyer During Your Consultation
1. What Do You Charge For Your Services?
This is a pointed question you need to ask your potential lawyer. Most personal injury attorneys do not charge a fee to represent you. They work on a contingency basis instead. We deduct any expenses owed from the damages in your personal injury case.
In other words, you don’t have to pay anything upfront. Most attorneys charge hourly rates for non-lawsuit cases. Not many people could afford the costs of hiring an attorney if they were required to pay the attorney’s fees ahead of time in addition to paying costs for medical treatment for injuries. Often, your attorney also bears the financial cost of treatment for your injuries. These expenses are also deducted from the total damages award you receive.
2. What Are Your Contingency Fees?
The percentage of your award settlement due to your attorney for their legal services if they successfully litigate your personal injury claim is called a contingency fee. This amount can vary depending on the law firm, your location, and whether the case goes to trial.
Your retainer agreement details the fee amount. Typically, the agreement contains the percentage if your case settles. It also includes the amount if your attorney files a lawsuit. The portion due to your legal team if the case goes to trial is also listed.
You don’t want to choose the cheapest attorney to save money. It could cost you in the long run. If they don’t possess the necessary skill and experience your case requires, it could keep you from getting the maximum damages you deserve.
3. Am I Responsible For My Case Costs If I Lose?
This is a big concern for many potential clients. Are you going to be hit with the burden of paying attorneys fees and medical costs if your case is unsuccessful?
Every case has certain costs associated with it – win or lose. And there are more costs if your attorney must file a lawsuit and take your case to trial. These costs may include filing fees, fees for getting copies of medical records, and any other fees associated with working on your case.
When you interview your attorney, it’s essential to ask them how they handle these costs. Some attorneys require that you pay these costs if you lose, while others do not.
Either way, no one wants to get a surprise bill, so be sure to go over possible out-of-pocket expenses with your lawyer.
4. How Long Have You Practiced Law?
You need an attorney experienced in personal injury law. Please find out how many years they’ve spent working on cases like yours. To get the best possible outcome and maximize your damages, you require a lawyer who specializes in this area of practice.
A knowledgeable attorney knows what evidence is needed. This may include medical bills and records, police reports, witness statements, photos of the accident site, property damage or physical injuries, missing or damaged traffic signs or signals, and documentation from the insurance companies. In the case of a car accident, invoices from the auto collision center that repaired your vehicle and the car rental company are also helpful. In some cases, an appraisal of any devaluation of your property can increase your damages as well.
For non-car accidents, examples of evidence can include a loose or broken step that caused a tumble, an uncleaned spill on a supermarket floor, an untrimmed tree branch that blocked visibility on a path or sidewalk, or defective products that caused you harm.
Your attorney knows what evidence helps your case and the best way to document or preserve it.
5. How Many Cases Similar To Mine Have You Taken?
A personal injury lawyer with a successful track record is ideal.
Ask the attorney for their success rate with cases like yours. The attorney’s track record can be a good indicator of success in the future. Request a list of similar cases and their outcomes. You’ll be able to determine whether the attorney can handle your case. In addition, you get a look at the types and amounts of settlements past clients received.
Most personal injury cases never go to a jury trial. Instead, the involved parties reach a settlement agreeable to everyone involved. However, if the compensation is inadequate or the at-fault party refuses to settle, your attorney may file suit. So, make sure your attorney has experience with court trials. Not all attorneys have much experience in court, but knowing whether they can win a case in court is critical.
6. What Strategy Will You Use In My Case?
Be sure to ask the attorney how they plan to win your case. What strategy will they use? For example, does your attorney advise you to file a personal injury claim and a product liability claim?
Ask your legal representative to explain how they will handle the case and any strategies up their sleeve. Get them to lay out the positives and negatives of any approach they devise.
7. How Much Time Do You Have To Work On My Case?
The caseload your attorney carries can impact how quickly your claim settles. If a personal injury lawyer takes on too many cases, then yours may end up on the back burner while they work with other clients.
When you are dealing with mounting medical bills, property damage, and even lost wages; time is of the essence. It would help if you had financial recompense to recoup your losses and get your life as back to normal as possible.
Make sure you ask how quickly they’ll file your case. Also, let your attorney know it’s important to you to get the wheels turning right away.
8. Is My Case Likely To Be Difficult?
If you are an accident victim and know you are not at fault, it’s easy to assume that your case is a winner. But each incident is different and involves various factors that affect the outcome.
As such, it may be challenging to secure your desired outcome. Someone with experience and training is vital to tell you the realistic expectations for your claim, the value of your case, and whether they can pursue it.
Often, if an attorney doesn’t think they can successfully achieve your desired outcome, they’ll refer you to another personal injury attorney. Just be sure to ask any other attorneys these questions as well.
9. How Long Does It Take To Get a Settlement Check in Michigan?
For all involved parties to reach a settlement agreement that satisfies everyone can take time. It can take even longer if you suffer severe injuries or extensive damages.
Your personal injury lawyer has an idea of how long it may take to resolve your case, but this is just an estimate.
So many factors come into play that impact the timeline. These factors include the case’s complexity, the willingness of the other party to settle, and available court dates.
Your attorney’s estimate is based on their experience with similar cases. Experienced personal injury attorneys have a better idea of how long it can take.
10. What Is My Role In The Claim or Lawsuit?
Before selecting your legal representative, ask what role you will play.
Some clients desire to be involved and attend dispositions and meetings. In contrast, others let their lawyer take care of everything. Some attorneys want your involvement, and others may not.
Find out your time and availability expectations to ensure you and your legal team have the same ideas for your attorney-client relationship.
11. Who Communicates With Me About My Case’s Progress?
Who will communicate with you about your case’s progress? Will it be your attorney or a paralegal, or a combination of both?
Communication is vital, and you may find yourself frustrated if your expectations aren’t met or if you feel like you don’t know what is going on. You may desire frequent updates, or you may be happy with updates every so often.
No matter what your communication expectations may be, let your attorney know. The first step in establishing a good relationship is clear communication.
12. What Should I Not Do?
You’ve asked your potential attorney what they need from you and what you need to do. Asking what you should not do is also essential.
Insurance companies do not want to pay as little for a claim as possible. They will look for ways to reduce any compensation due to you. For example, your attorney may advise you not to speak with insurance company representatives. They’ll likely also let you know that communicating with the other side’s counsel without your attorney present is not a good idea. These entities will record anything you say and could be used against you later.
Posting pictures or comments on social media or online is another activity your lawyer may advise you not to do. They may also tell you to deactivate your accounts until your case concludes.
Be sure to follow your experienced attorney’s instructions to contribute to your case’s success.
The Personal Injury Attorneys at Lipton Law Are Ready To Help You
Lipton Law’s Southfield personal injury attorneys have extensive experience working on personal injury claims with accident victims. We have obtained successful outcomes for multitudes of clients in the nearly 60 years since our firm opened its doors. Our personal injury practice areas include medical malpractice, bus accidents, defective products, truck accidents, and nursing home abuse.
Getting you or your loved one the reasonable settlement you deserve for your serious or permanent injuries is our priority. Our team is passionate about fighting for the justice you deserve after your injury. You can reach us at 258-557-1688 to schedule a free case evaluation.