How Do I Find the Right Personal Injury Attorney?” (Part 5: Ask These Top 10 Questions Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer)
You’ve done it! You made those phone calls to highly recommended personal injury attorneys and now you’re sitting face-to-face in your first meeting with one of those attorneys on your list. (If you’ve missed Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, go ahead and take a look at them now, if you’ve got a moment.)
You’ve got your list of questions, prepared specifically to find out the experience, skills, and priorities of the personal injury lawyer. You’re taking this first meeting very seriously. After all, you’re searching for the best personal injury lawyer you can find. Your health, peace of mind, future , and even your bank account are at stake here.
When conducting the interview, keep in mind you’re looking for a competent, confident, and straight-forward personal injury attorney with a track record of successful jury trials.
Here are the top 10 questions to ask each personal injury attorney you interview:
1. On which areas of law do you focus?
Answer: “Personal injury law and trial law.” (Remember, trial law expertise is absolutely critical for the success of your case.)
2. What are your responsibilities as a personal injury lawyer?
- “Protect and fight for you, your justice, and your fair compensation upon closure of your personal injury case.
- “Handle all communication with insurance companies so you don’t have to talk to them ever again.
- “Make sure your vehicle gets repaired or replaced.
- “Help you choose the appropriate healthcare professionals at the appropriate time, and help coordinate and monitor your healthcare so you can recovery as quickly and completely as possible.
- “Oversee all accident-related bills and their timely payment by the insurance company.
- “Negotiate with the insurance companies so you get your rightful compensation.
- “File a lawsuit if the insurance company isn’t willing to be reasonable and fair.
- “Take your case through mediation, arbitration, and/or all the way to a jury trial if that’s what it takes for you to get justice and your rightful compensation for all present and future damages and losses.
- “Keep you well informed of your case’s progress at all times.”
3. Of these responsibilities, what are your three top priorities?
- “Your recovery.”
- “Your rightful compensation.”
4. If my case goes all the way to a jury trial, will you personally represent me in the courtroom?
5. So that means you will not hire another attorney to present my case in the courtroom, but you will represent me yourself?
Answer: “That’s right. If we go to court, I will represent you in the courtroom and will not hire another attorney to take my place.”
6. How many years have you focused on personal injury? How many personal injury cases have you brought before a jury during your career? How many in the last year?
Answer: “During my eight-year career, I’ve tried personal injury cases in over 50 jury trials, including three jury trials in the last year.” (This question shows how experienced the attorney is in the courtroom, as well as his or her willingness to take your case all the way to a jury trial if necessary. Hard to believe but many personal injury attorneys are not willing to bring a personal injury case to the courtroom.)
7. You mentioned helping with the coordination of healthcare for my injuries. Specifically, how do you help me?
- “I help you find the right healthcare professionals at the right time.
- “I help monitor your progress to make sure a treatment program is working for you.
- “If a treatment program is not helping you, I help you choose a more effective treatment protocol.
- “I track your medical and treatment bills and make sure they get paid by the insurance company.
- “I keep track of your maximum insurance coverage (usually Personal Injury Protection or PIP) so you don’t end up with a pile of medical bills at the close of your claim.
- “I communicate with your doctors and therapists about the effectiveness of treatment, the length of treatment, completion of treatment, and referral to other healthcare practitioners if you are not improving with a particular treatment.”
8. When negotiating with insurance companies, under what circumstances do you choose to settle with the insurance company before filing a law suit?
Answer: “Working together, you and I make the decision whether or not a particular offer is reasonable and fair. If the offer is not reasonable and fair, an all too common occurrence, then we take the next step. We file a lawsuit against the at-fault insurance company or party for all damages and losses.”
9. Under what circumstances do you pursue mediation, arbitration, and/or a jury trial?
Answer: “When the at-fault insurance company is unwilling to be reasonable and fair, then I use the most effective legal avenue to pursue your best interests: filing a lawsuit against the insurance company. From there, your case could go to mediation, arbitration, and/or all the way to the courtroom with a 12-person jury of your peers, making the final decision for your compensation for damages and losses. All too often, insurance companies start “getting serious” about a fair and reasonable settlement only after they’re slapped with a lawsuit and the prospect of arbitration or a jury trial.”
10. What are your fees, Mr./Ms. Personal Injury Attorney?
Answer: “We work on a contingency fee basis. That means when you win your case, and get paid by the at-fault insurance company or party, we get paid by the at-fault insurance company or party. If you don’t win and don’t get paid, we don’t get paid either.”
There it is. Your list of ten questions to ask the personal injury attorneys you’re considering for hire after your car accident or other personal injury.
If you have any questions about these questions or your case in particular, please give us a call at Urquia Law, 360.390.4104 or email us at urquialaw.com.
We are honored and happy to meet with you and discuss your personal injury case, of course at no charge to you.
Onward to the final part of these 6-part blog: “Discover Why the Best Personal Injury Lawyer Must Also Be The Best Trial Lawyer.”
In case you’ve missed any part of this 6-part blog, here’s an overview:
“How Do I Find the Right Personal Attorney after My Personal Injury?”
- Part 1: Introduction
- Part 2: Seek Referrals
- Part 3: Review Web Sites
- Part 4: Make The First Phone Calls and Schedule Initial Interviews with Prospective Personal Injury Attorneys
- Part 5: Ask These Top 10 Questions Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
- Part 6: Discover Why the Best Personal Injury Lawyer Must Also Be The Best Trial Lawyer