Hiring a lawyer to represent you in a personal injury case is a big decision. It’s not one you should make by choosing at random. Interviewing several different attorneys and asking questions about how they would handle your case can help you narrow the field before you make a final decision on who you want to hire.
Thankfully, many law firms, including Joye Law Firm, offer free initial consultations, making it easier to decide if they are a good fit for your needs before committing.
If you’ve never needed to hire a lawyer before, you may not be sure what qualities you should be looking for in your lawyer, or what questions are important to ask in your consultation. That’s why we’ve put together a guide listing six questions you should always ask the attorney—and one question you should ask yourself.
Six Questions to Ask a Potential Lawyer for Your Injury Claim
“Who will handle my case?”
Most firms have more than one attorney on staff, and you may end up having a different attorney working on different phases of your case. Furthermore, make sure to ask how much, if any, of your case will be handled by junior associates or paralegals, and who will be supervising them if so.
For example, at Joye Law Firm, we’ve developed a unique system that you won’t find at many firms. Although one attorney will be assigned to your file, you will also get input and oversight from every attorney in the practice, including our most senior partners. By working as a team, we employ nearly 200 years of collective legal experience in every case, enabling the best possible legal outcome for each client.
“How many cases are you working on right now?”
Sometimes attorneys will take on more cases than they can handle, which means your case may suffer because they can’t devote as much time to it as they should. They may even set your case aside after agreeing to take it on to complete other cases first, leaving you in limbo while your medical bills continue to pile up.
As a follow-up question, make sure to ask how often you can expect to get updates on your case. This can help hold the attorney accountable.
“How many cases have you worked on that are similar to mine?”
Depending on how you were injured, your case may have to be handled differently. For example, if you were injured in a collision with a truck, you may need to pursue compensation from the truck driver’s employer rather than the driver. Or if you were injured while riding a motorcycle, you will also be fighting the insurance company’s bias against motorcyclists.
Other types of injuries, like workplace injuries or nursing home abuse, are handled very differently from motor vehicle accidents as well as from each other.
Each practice area has different laws and a different approach for the best results, so you should make sure any potential lawyer you hire has experience with your type of injury.
“Do you have a lot of experience with jury trials?”
Personal injury lawsuits are most often settled without ever going to trial. Going to trial can drag things out, and insurance companies usually don’t want that any more than you do. But sometimes it’s the only option when the insurance company simply refuses to compromise and pay what you actually deserve.
Once negotiations with the insurance company break down, it’s important to make sure your lawyer is experienced at both jury selection and presenting evidence in front of a jury, since at that point those are going to be the most important factors in determining whether you get compensation and how much.
“Do you get a lot of referrals?”
It’s always good to ask for client referrals and to check a law firm’s reviews online to see what former clients have said about them, but another important reference is other attorneys.
Because not all attorneys handle all cases types, they often refer clients to other firms when necessary, including when a case might be “too big” for them. Making a bad recommendation to a client can hurt the referring firm’s reputation as well, so if an attorney has received lots of referrals, it usually means they have a great track record and are well respected by their peers.
“How do you charge?”
Most people’s perception of lawyer costs includes huge retainers and hourly fees. However, many personal injury law firms, including Joye Law Firm, work on a contingency fee basis. This means clients only pay if the firm wins their case for them, and the lawyers are paid a percentage of the settlement amount rather than based on how much time they spent working on the case.
Most injury attorneys charge between 33-40% in fees per case, depending on the case’s circumstances. Do your homework on any firm that charges well above or below that margin.
The percentage your lawyer will take in fees should be agreed on when you hire them and not later.
One Question to Ask Yourself
“How do I connect with this person?”
When speaking with a lawyer who could potentially work on your claim, ask yourself this: Do I like this person? Do I trust them? Although it is possible to switch lawyers if your first choice doesn’t work out, it’s always better to not have that hassle.
Furthermore, you will need to feel comfortable sharing many personal details about your accident and how it has affected your life with this person, including medical information and information about your mental health, if it was impacted by your injury, since it will affect how much compensation you may be owed.
If you don’t feel comfortable sharing that type of information with this person, they may not be the best choice to be your lawyer.
Schedule a Consultation With an Experienced South Carolina Injury Attorney Today
At Joye Law Firm, we’re available to serve injury victims anywhere in South Carolina from our four convenient locations in North Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Clinton, and Columbia. If you can’t come to us, we can come to you or set up a virtual meeting, if you’d prefer.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed due to someone else’s negligence, we want to help make it right, and we want to make sure that you feel 100% comfortable and confident in our firm. Contact us today to arrange your free initial consultation so we can answer any questions you may have about your case.