If you’ve been injured or denied an insurance claim, you might want to hire a lawyer for legal advice or a possible lawsuit. The problem is that you have a ton of lawyers to choose from, so where do you look for the right one and how do you make the final decision? How do you decide if a lawyer is even beneficial to your unique case?
You ask questions.
4 Questions You Should Always Ask Your Lawyer
In trying to find a strong lawyer to fit the needs of your case, be sure to cover your bases by asking these 4 questions in a face-to-face meeting.*
1. What is Your Payment Method?
Pricing information is one of the first details to take note of. Certain times a lawyer’s services may be hourly, other times she will require a retainer fee before taking on a case.
Often times, if a case goes to court and compensation is awarded, the lawyer will be paid a percentage of the settlement amount. This percentage should always be discussed upfront. In personal injury cases, most lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. This means, you never pay for the the lawyer’s services out of pocket. The lawyer’s fees and expenses are taken out of the settlement when the case is successfully resolved. If the case isn’t successful, you owe the attorney nothing.
In addition, consider these questions:
- How does the firm offer its services?
- Can you give an estimate of how much this will cost entirely?
- Am I responsible for costs even if we lose?
2. Do I Actually Have a Claim?
Knowing whether you have a claim or not can be difficult. Lawyers know exactly what to look for when determining if you’ve got grounds to pursue settlements, appeal decisions, or to file a lawsuit. If she’s evaluated your case in full, she’ll know if you have one.
Otherwise, giving the attorney a brief account of your situation can shed light on whether or not you’ve got a case. Lawyers can also suggest alternatives to filing a lawsuit if they don’t feel like a claim is the best route.
3. What is Your Prior Experience?
Another topic to discuss with your attorney is prior experience. A history of victory in your case type is ideal. Get the attorney to talk about a memorable victory or experience in law—re-stoke the fire and remind her why she became an attorney in the first place. A passionate person is always a good hire.
However, even if she has fire and passion, experience should be the priority. The best situation would be to not only hire an attorney with the drive to win, but a driven attorney with a history of winning similar cases.
4. Even If I Have a Claim, Is it Worth Pursuing?
Just because you have a valid claim doesn’t mean it’s always worth pursuing. Ask the attorney:
- Is my case even worth the pursuit?
- Should I take the settlement the insurance company is offering me instead?
- Given my situation, should I press charges against a company or an individual?
- What are the expected and possible outcomes of this case?
If all of your questions have been answered and if you’ve been completely charmed by both the price and personality of your attorney, take the plunge! Otherwise, make a list, meet with a few lawyers, and see who else is out there until you’re completely satisfied; never settle when it comes to your future quality of life.
*You should always meet with your lawyer in person. You’re looking for an individual you get along with; one who answers your questions in understandable terms and clarifies areas you may not understand. It’s incredibly important that you feel comfortable with your lawyer. When you finally meet with one, ask yourself:
- Is he or she amicable?
- Does he or she speak too much legalese?
- How is his or her attention to you?
In assessing a lawyer’s person, use your standard judgement. Remember: Your attorney is a human being, too. Attorney-client relationships can be very productive if both parties are comfortable and open with one another. Sharing of details is critical for high-stakes cases, and your involvement in the case is both expected and fundamental to its success.
Still Can’t Find the Right Lawyer?
If you’re on the hunt for the right attorney, get in touch with the personal injury lawyers at Wilson Kehoe Winingham. With over 20 practice areas and 30 years of experience, our Indianapolis attorneys may be the legal team you’re looking for. Call us at 317-920-6400 or fill out the contact form below to schedule your free case review.