Six Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer During a Free Consultation
If you’ve been injured in a car accident or a slip and fall and are seeking legal representation, the first thing to do is find lawyers who have handled injury cases like yours. Once you’ve done that, you should narrow your list down to a few lawyers you’d like to meet.
Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation to give you a chance to get to know them, ask questions about their background, and learn more about how they can help you with your case.
Many attorneys will also provide their thoughts on your case and offer some initial legal advice.
This consultation is covered as attorney-client privilege, so your discussion will be confidential. You should plan your questions ahead of time so you’re prepared to make the most of this excellent opportunity being provided to you at no charge.
1. What Experience Do You Have With Injury Cases Like Mine?
Personal injury is a broad practice area and encompasses cases ranging from motorcycle accidents to traumatic brain injuries. It’s always a good idea to ask about their familiarity and experience with your specific injury. You can even go a level deeper with the type of injury.
For example, if they have a strong background in medical malpractice, ask about specific medical conditions they’ve handled, such as birth injuries, misdiagnosis, or surgery errors. If you’re dealing with an honest lawyer, they’ll usually be open about their limits and will refer you to someone with greater experience in that particular subject.
2. Do I Still Have Time to File a Lawsuit?
The law limits the amount of time you have for filing a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is known as the statute of limitations. In Oklahoma, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of injury.
The lawyer can advise you on whether you still have a valid claim and what options, if any, are available to you. It takes time to build a strong case, so if your time is running out, you’ll need to move quickly so you aren’t left scrambling.
3. Does My Case Have a Chance of Winning?
Lawyers cannot guarantee that your case will be a winner and actually shouldn’t make any promises to that end.
However, they can offer you their legal opinion on the merits of your case and whether it appears to meet the various requirements for success.
They can also talk about similar cases they’ve handled and how the arguments and strategy used in other cases can be helpful in giving your case the greatest chance of winning.
It’s a good idea to also ask what you can do and the role you can play in helping ensure your case is successful. This may include gathering certain evidence or helping to identify who was at the scene of the accident. You know best what happened when you were injured, so your involvement can make a difference.
4. What Do You Charge For Your Services?
Personal injury lawyers typically operate on a contingency fee basis. This fee structure means that if they aren’t able to secure a financial award for you, then you don’t have to pay for their services.
There may be filing fees and other court costs, so be sure you’re clear on what you’ll be responsible for if you win, as well as if you lose. If you choose to move forward with this lawyer, you should get everything in writing.
5. What Approach Will You Take With My Case?
Although it’s only the first meeting, a good personal injury lawyer who has experience with cases like yours, can most likely tell you how they would approach your case.
They may even lay out a rough legal strategy for the steps they’d take.
This is also a good opportunity to ask whether they usually settle their cases and if they have strong courtroom experience in the event a settlement isn’t possible.
Getting a general idea of their plan of action will help you decide if you agree with their approach and style of practice.
Another important element regarding the way they manage their cases is how they plan to interact with you as the case progresses. Solid communication between attorney and client can be critical in ensuring you’re well-informed and that you have a chance to weigh in with information and be consulted on big decisions.
6. What Damages Can I Expect?
While no two cases are alike, and there are a number of variables that go into the calculation of damages, an experienced personal injury lawyer should be able to give you a general idea of what you may be able to recover. They should be able to point to similar cases and give you a possible range of compensation.
However, a great deal depends on the specific facts in your case, the medical reports and prognosis for your injury, whether you’ll be able to work, and whether you’ll need ongoing care. There is also the question of damages for more personal losses such as loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
All of these things factor into the amount you may be able to receive, so at this early stage, most lawyers can only provide a general range of expectations based on their experience and knowledge about cases like yours.
This is a free consultation. You should take advantage of this by being prepared and making the most of the meeting.
Making a Decision
Once you’ve met with all the lawyers on your list and weighed the pros and cons of the information you received from each, one final consideration is a more personal one. Think about which lawyer made you feel the most comfortable.
You will be working with this lawyer and firm, and it’s important that you trust them and know that you can ask any questions at any time. Cases always go more smoothly with a strong attorney-client relationship behind them. Trust your instincts.
Call Our Edmond Personal Injury Lawyers Today For a Free Consultation
At the McGuire Law Firm, we offer free consultations to all our clients. During these meetings, we welcome all our clients’ questions and concerns about their case. We’ll take the time to discuss your accident and injury with you and offer suggestions on ways your case could go and how we’d handle it.
If you’ve been injured and are seeking an attorney to represent you, contact us to arrange a free consultation. Speak with our accomplished and understanding legal team. We’re here to advocate for you.