We all love top 10 lists…Letterman has them, so why shouldn’t personal injury lawyers? So here is my top 10 necessary questions to ask before hiring a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer.
But if you keep in mind my ten important questions from a Rhode Island personal injury attorney, you will undoubtedly find a fantastic lawyer that meets your needs.
Top 10 Questions When Hiring a Rhode Island Personal Injury Lawyer
1.What’s your fee?
When it comes to personal injury fee agreements, most are based on what’s known as a contingency fee agreement. Contingency fees are important to know about before hiring a personal injury attorney. The lawyer is paid a percentage of the money received from the party or the party’s insurance company who’s at fault if the lawyer is able to settle or win the case.
With contingency, there will be no legal fee without a monetary recovery, and contingency fees are typically negotiated between the attorney and client. They span from 25% to 40%. But most are one third of the settlement amount – which is how we do it here at The Law Offices of Kevin P. Landry. The fee agreement is typically more negotiable with cases that are strong and have severe damage. Discuss this with your lawyer, you have the right to ask.
2.Will you be responsible for any advanced case costs if you lose?
Additionally, lawyers may charge any costs advanced. Careful, these costs can be significant and are generally taken from the clients share. Be sure that your lawyer takes the case without you being accountable for these costs. Even if you are not successful in the case, there should be an agreement that you will not see any of these fees. This is how operate in our Rhode Island personal injury offices.
3. Have you worked with my kind of personal injury case in the past?
Lawyers are dying to take on personal injury cases. It is easy to get lost in the enormous amounts of advertising from competing attorneys and to think that the guy with the flashiest billboard on the highway is the attorney for you.
But don’t be deceived. The fact that a lawyer advertises for personal injury cases does not promise that they have tried your specific type of case. You are entitled to ask for the lawyer’s background and experience regarding personal injury cases and even the results of cases in the past. It is even possible to contact former clients of the attorney to get first hand accounts of the experience they had with the lawyer. It is common for clients to get intimidated by their lawyers. But remember that you, the client are in control of your situation and case. The first step is to ask those important questions during the consultation.
4. Do you have the time to work on my case right now?
As a Rhode Island Personal injury attorney, I know the value of time with lawsuits. A lawyer should be giving their undivided attention to your case. If a lawyer is taking on other cases while working on yours, they are not giving the 100% that you need. Certain lawyers will sit on cases for 12-18 months before filing suit – just prior to the statute of limitations expiring. Any delay in the process is harmful to you.
Don’t worry though, there are many lawyers, including me, that only work with clients face to face and will never delay your case. Plus, we only take on your case if we KNOW WE WILL WIN. It is up to you to find the lawyer that will devote their time to you. So ask them if they have the time to fully dedicate themselves to your case. Specifically ask how many other cases the lawyer has pending and how much time he will be putting into your case. Don’t find yourself in a situation that you regret because you didn’t do the investigating and questioning up front.
5. When will my lawsuit be filed?
You have the right to ask the lawyer any kind of specific questions regarding your case. If your lawsuit does not have a deadline, it could sit for a year or more due to the lack of pending statute of limitations. But it can be favorable to file suit as soon as possible. Unless there is a practical reason for a delay in filing, be sure to ask how quickly your case will be filed.
6. Will my case really go to trial? And when?
As any lawyer should, this Rhode Island Personal injury attorney anticipates every single case going to trial. Although they usually do not and are settled out of court, your lawyer should have the same aggressive mindset. If you are told that your case is going to settle, it is important to know exactly what you are settling for.
It can be difficult to be appropriately compensated if you are unprepared to go to trial. Asking about time frames is essential. Despite the fact that the lawyer may not be able to give exact answers, as a Rhode Island personal injury attorney I still feel that these are pertinent questions to be asking potential lawyers. Many personal injury cases can be resolved within 2-3 years and sometimes less, but not if you aren’t aggressive with your lawyer.
7. What is my case worth?
This is probably the most common question we get. Don’t be afraid to ask this question, your lawyer will have a very good idea as to the worth of your case. Yes, this can be a very general question dependent on many variables – including liability and unknown medical issues, but the lawyer should be able to provide you with some idea of the range that your case is worth. Pay attention to the promises that lawyers make and use your judgment to determine whether or not they are realistic.
8. Will YOU be the attorney handling my case?
Don’t be tricked by an initial meet and greet and then find yourself meeting with different lawyers later. Ask who will specifically be working on your case. Who will be your contact, who will you be able to call, who will truly be handling your case? If you meet with the lawyer in charge, make sure they will stick with you and not assign an associate to handle your case.
9. What will my participation be?
If you are passionate about your case, this is an important question for you. Some lawyers do not let their clients get too involved in the case. Find out what is expected of you and how involved you can get. This is something you won’t have to worry about with me. As a Rhode Island Personal injury attorney I allow my clients to be as involved as they wish.
10. Will you get me more money than other attorneys? Why?
We understand that personal injury lawsuits are generally about money. We are focused on earning the maximum recovery for you. Before hiring a personal injury lawyer, be positive that they will be giving you the best chance to get what you are entitled to. You only get to try your case once. Get the most of it by choosing an attorney who can answer all of your tough questions.