What Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer
It is important for you to find a lawyer that has experience with your type of case and most of all, one that suits you. It is not uncommon for potential clients to seek a second opinion before choosing a lawyer to take their case.
To help you find the right personal injury lawyer, here are some questions you should be asking.
Do you specialize in personal injury law?
Lawyers specialize in different areas of law. You should make sure your lawyer specializes in personal injury law. In addition, you may want a lawyer who is a member of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA).
Have you handled personal injury cases similar to mine?
Experience is important. The more experience your lawyer and their firm have with personal injury cases the more likely you will get the outcome you are seeking.
How many personal injury cases have you taken to trial? How many were successful?
Not all personal injury cases will go to trial, they are often settled outside of the courts. But, in case you do need to go to trial you will want a lawyer who is experienced in doing so. If your lawyer does not have trial experience it will be a disadvantage to your claim.
How often will you be updating me on my case? Who will handle my questions?
It is important to understand how you will communicate with your lawyer and perhaps their team. Lawyers who are a part of smaller firms may be more accessible and easier to reach. Be sure to understand this ahead of time to avoid frustration.
How long will it take to resolve my case?
How long a case will take can vary significantly depending on the circumstances. Ask your lawyer how long they think it will take. It is important to have a clear understanding as some cases can take up to two years while others are settled within a year.
If my case goes to trial will you be the lawyer representing me?
Your lawyer should be the one representing you from start to finish regardless if your case goes to trial.
What are your fees, and can you work with me on payment arrangements if my situation is financially challenging?
Being clear about how you can expect to be billed will allow you to prepare financially for the expenses related to your claim. Living on a fixed income because of your age or disabilities should not prevent you from seeking benefits you may be entitled to.
Many personal injury claims will be accepted on a contingency fee basis, which means that legal fees will be recovered as a percentage of any settlement.
For payment of ongoing disbursements and any legal fees billed on an hourly basis, we are generally willing to work out a regular payment schedule that fits within our client’s budget.
What should I bring to my first consultation?
Our lawyers will dedicate enough time during your first consultation to understand the details of your claim, and to get to know you as a client.
Arriving with the following information will help your lawyer to better understand your case:
- the details of your insurance coverage, including the name of your insurance company, your policy number and the name of your insurance agent or adjuster;
- the names and contact information of your doctors and other health care providers, and a list of hospitals where you have received treatment for your injury;
- photo identification
Choosing a personal injury lawyer
Once you have asked the lawyer these questions, determine if they are the best fit for you. Do they have experience with cases such as yours? Are they going to be available when you need them? Don’t choose a lawyer that doesn’t suit you.