Injury lawyers often offer a free consultation to new clients. This consultation gives the lawyer an opportunity to review your case and advise you about your legal rights to compensation.
But this consultation also gives you the chance to interview the lawyer and make sure the lawyer is a good fit for your case. Not every lawyer you meet will have the right combination of experience, knowledge, and personality that match your needs. You should have an open and honest discussion with the lawyer before deciding to hire them.
Here are four questions to ask a car accident lawyer during your free consultation.
How Much Do You Charge?
Injury lawyers charge for legal services. But injury lawyers charge differently than other lawyers. Instead of charging a flat or hourly fee, injury lawyers usually charge a contingency fee. A contingency fee is a percentage of the compensation the lawyer recovers for you. If a lawyer charges a 33% contingency fee and recovers $100,000 for you, the lawyer gets $33,000 in legal fees.
This kind of fee helps accident victims because the lawyer will start work on your case without any upfront fee. And if the lawyer loses the case, you will not owe any legal fees. Discuss the lawyer’s fees during the initial consultation. This will minimize the risk of a misunderstanding about fees later in your case.
How Can I Reach You?
One of the most common complaints about lawyers is that they do not communicate with the client about the status of the case. The Rules of Professional Conduct require lawyers to keep clients reasonably informed about the status of their cases and to respond to reasonable requests for information. At the same time, lawyers can get busy and cannot respond immediately to every phone message or email.
During your initial consultation, discuss communication with the lawyer. Ask if you can talk to someone else in the office if you cannot reach the lawyer. Often, associates, paralegals, and legal assistants can provide updates when the lawyer is unavailable.
What Experience Do You Have With Cases Like Mine?
Most of a lawyer’s knowledge in the field of law comes after law school. Lawyers learn advocacy skills, relevant cases, and even court rules by handling cases for clients. They also develop relationships with expert witnesses and opposing lawyers through the cases they litigate.
Different lawyers have different skills and not every lawyer can be an expert in every kind of case. A lawyer should focus on medical malpractice might not have the skills to handle a car accident case. Ask your lawyer about prior experience in similar cases. And if the lawyer has handled similar cases, ask about the outcomes of those cases.
What Range Of Outcomes I Can Expect In My Case?
No lawyer can predict what will happen in your case. But an experienced lawyer can give you a range of outcomes. The lawyer may even assign a probability to each possible outcome. This discussion will help you set your expectations for your case. It will also help you decide if a case is worth pursuing.
Scheduling the Free Consultation
When you call the car accident lawyer to schedule the free consultation, the receptionist will tell you how long your consultation will last. Remember that “free” does not mean “unlimited.” By preparing your questions before your consultation, you can make sure you cover all the issues that are important to you. It will also give you the information needed to pick a lawyer.