Meeting with an attorney can be overwhelming. During your free attorney consultation, it’s not uncommon for you to be answering all sorts of personal questions. Detailed questions about your injuries and complicated case laws can make for an exhausting meeting!
You are the client, will eventually pay the attorney’s fee and ultimately you are in the drivers seat. Do not be afraid to ask your lawyer questions during your free attorney consultation.
You know what your needs are better than anyone else. Always, remember, you are hiring a specialist. While you should find a provider that has credentials, experience, and expertise, it’s important to you feel comfortable advocating for yourself.
How Often Do You Go To Trial? How Often Do You Settle?
Insurance companies tend to put more money on the table to avoid trial with great trial lawyers.
Ask your attorney how often they take cases to trial. While the attorney may not give you an exact number, but they should be able to tell you if they are in the courtroom on a weekly or monthly basis. (You can always conduct a public records search if you’re suspicious!)
A lawsuit could mean a much longer time before you receive compensation, as well as added costs and time you need to contribute to depositions. You might not want a lawsuit happy lawyer who is itching for a fight.
Often, a skilled negotiator is able to secure a better outcome by avoiding a trial. Because of this, some attorneys are more comfortable negotiating cases before a trial. That’s why you should also take a moment during your free attorney consultation to ask the lawyer how often they settle cases.
Have a conversation with your attorney about what he would do if a case looks like it might not settle for a fair amount. Explain your expectations, and what you are looking for as an outcome. That way, you’ll be able to use a free attorney consultation to find a lawyer who will make sure your case is handled the right way.
What is Your Current Caseload?
There are firms that make their money by working cases in bulk. This means that they would quite a few cases at once. It can also mean your case is primarily worked by support staff. Having support staff in general is a good thing, but ask your attorney if they will be working your case themselves.
How can I Improve my Case?
Your attorney will be eager to speak with you about your responsibilities.
You’ll be able to help your attorney conduct an investigation by collecting photos and maintaining records of any injuries. If you’ve begun to work with a healthcare team, your attorney will request you meet with your doctor regularly.
Following the advice of your healthcare team and being open about your injuries will help your attorney craft a compelling case.
Tell Me About Two Cases You’ve Worked On That Were Like Mine.
Not all personal injury cases are equal. You might be speaking with someone who is the leader in car accident cases, but has he dealt with explosions? If you have a specialized case, you want to know that your lawyer not only has generalized experience as an attorney, but also has experience with the specifics in your matter. For the best result, find a lawyer who has dealt with cases like your own.
What Does Your Timeline to Resolve My Case Look Like?
A good lawyer will resist giving you an estimate. There are numerous factors that determine length of a case. You should be suspicious of anyone promising an ‘easy’ outcome.
When you ask this question, you’ll be letting your lawyer know that you are sensitive to the timeline. Many lawyers will be happy to explain what’s going on and where your case is in ‘the process.’
How Are You Compensated?
Most attorneys offer free consultations. During that free consultation, lawyers will explain how they receive payment. Injury cases are usually accepted on a contingency basis. On a contingency basis, a lawyer agrees to represent you for a percentage of your settlement. Every lawyer and circumstance is different. Many lawyers will be willing to negotiate.
Some cases have a greater ‘lawyer appeal,’ than other cases. Cases that may change local laws or stand the potential to expose bigger problems in society are attractive to legal professionals. In order to secure these types of cases, many lawyers will offer to represent you free-of-charge (pro-bono) or under an alternative pricing arrangement. These cases are attractive because they are very rare. While it is unlikely that your case is that one-in-a-million, you won’t know unless you ask.
A good lawyer will always tell their clients the truth.