Questions To Ask A Personal Injury Lawyer During Your Consultation
If you have been hurt in an accident, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Although you may have a longer period of time to file a lawsuit, you may have rights to many claims which can be lost if you do not file the proper paperwork which may need to be filed within days of your accident. Some of these rights are claims for medical bills, transportation expenses, household help, lost income, disability payments, property damage and compensation for your injuries. Sometimes, claims must be filed with more than one insurance company and if a claim must be filed with the government agency it usually must be filed within days of your accident.
Do not speak to any insurance company which is not your own and do not give any taped statements until you speak with a lawyer. If you are asked to give a statement, simply ask for the name and phone number of the person requesting the statement and tell them you will call back. Since you must report an incident to your own insurance company immediately, you should call a lawyer immediately.
Q: Is this consultation given without charge to me?
About Your Rights:
Q: What rights do I have that need to be protected?
Q: Who will pay my medical bills; physical therapy bills; drug bills; transportation expenses; temporary or permanent household help; lost income; property damage; and pain and suffering?
Q: What do I have to do to protect my rights to these claims? What forms and papers do I need to obtain? Where do I get these forms? Will you fill out all the forms for me? If needed, will you help me with my medical claim? If needed, will you help me with my property damage claim?
Q: What claim letters need to be sent; how many insurance companies must be notified? Will you do this for me?
About determining whether you want to hire a specific lawyer?
You may feel nervous when hiring a lawyer, but remember that you are the one doing the hiring. While lawyers who primarily represent people in accidents charge a contingency fee (a fee that is charged at the end of the case and only if you are successful) you will still want to know that you are satisfied with your choice. Even though you pay a fee after you receive a money award, you are the one paying the bill. Serious injuries can result in significant compensation for both you and your lawyer. That makes you an important client!
Q: If I have a question about my case, will I be able to speak with you directly or do I have to speak to a paralegal? Is it okay if I speak with you occasionally when I have a question or to find out the status of my case?
Q: How long have you and your law firm been practicing law?
Q: Do you practice primarily in the field of Personal Injury and accidents?
Q: Is my personal injury case considered a subspecialty and do I need a different lawyer who handles this type of case?
Q: Do you have professional liability insurance? (Professional liability insurance also protects you, the accident victim, in case an error is made that damages your case.)
Q: When will I be charged? (Personal injury lawyers usually charge a contingency fee. A contingency fee is one that is charged at the end of the case and only if you are successful. This allows anyone who has been hurt in an accident to have easy access to a lawyer.)
Q: How much will I be charged?
Q: Will I be charged a legal fee if you do not recover money for me?
Q: Am I responsible for case expenses if you do not recover money for me?
Q: What are my alternatives to resolve my claim? Do you ever utilize mediation and arbitration?
Q: Have you or your law firm done any trials?
Q: (If married) Is my spouse entitled to any of my settlement or money awarded? What happens if I get divorced?
Q: (If a child is injured) Which parent will bring the claim? Are the parents entitled to any money? Which parent will be entitled to receive the money? What happens to my child's settlement money?
About the Author: Philip L. Franckel, Esq., is the founder of http://www.HURT911.org an accident and injury research web site for people hurt in an accident and personal injury lawyers. Mr. Franckel also publishes articles on Lawyer Advertising at http://www.Lawyer-Advertising-Blog.com and provides advertising for lawyers at http://www.HURT911.org/getclient.php