Questions to Ask When Hiring a Portland Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a Portland car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be wondering whether you should hire an attorney to pursue a lawsuit on your behalf. When working with a Portland car accident attorney, it’s very important to make sure that your lawyer has the right experience and is someone you feel comfortable with. The best way to make sure is to ask the attorney a lot of questions before you make a hiring decision.
Portland Car Accident Cases
Depending on the seriousness of your Portland, Oregon, car accident, you may need a lot of help to get back on the road to recovery. There may be big hospital bills, and you may have missed out on work while recovering. You may have ongoing medical issues that you need to take care of. In fact, you may be so badly hurt that it might take years before you can enjoy all the activities that you used to—and in some cases, you may never be able to go back to the life that you had.
That’s why the legal system allows accident victims like you to seek damages, or money, for your injuries. A personal injury lawyer can explain your options and help you pursue the right course of action.
Meeting with Portland Car Accident Lawyers
The first meeting you will have with a lawyer regarding your Portland car accident is called an initial consultation. This is your chance to get to know the lawyer, explain your case and get a sense of whether you want to hire him. When meeting with an attorney, bring a list of questions along with information about your accident such as police reports, hospital bills and doctors’ notes. And bring something to write with since you will get a lot of information at the meeting.
You should ask specific questions to help you in the hiring process, and make sure the attorney answers them all. If you feel the attorney isn’t listening to you or taking you seriously, then it’s a sign this isn’t the person you want to hire for your Portland auto accident case.
Ask about the lawyer’s education and experience with Portland auto accidents:
- Where did you go to law school?
- How long have you been practicing personal injury law?
- How much of your practice focuses on car accidents, and how much is about other areas of the law?
- How many cases like mine have you handled?
- In how many of those cases did you win awards or settlements for your clients?
- How much were those awards?
- Are you a member of the Oregon State Bar, the Multnomah Bar Association or any other association or professional group?
You should also describe your car accident and the aftermath to the attorney. However, the attorney will probably not be able to discuss legal specifics about your case until you hire him. Question to ask about his assessment of your case include:
- Considering all the factors, how strong is my case?
- What types of strategies can I pursue?
- What are the chances that the other side might settle?
- What are the odds we may have to go to trial?
- What will happen during my civil lawsuit?
- How much money do you think my case is worth?
You should also ask about how the attorney will manage your case:
- Can you represent me in my Portland car accident case?
- Will you work on my case, or will someone else at the firm?
- How often will I get updates about my case?
Another important area to discuss is legal fees. Be sure to ask:
- How do you bill—by the hour, on a fixed fee basis or on a contingency fee basis?
- If you bill by the hour or if you accept a fixed fee, what are your rates? What is included, and what is not?
- If you accept my case on a contingency fee basis, what percentage of my award or settlement will you take as your fee?
- Can you walk me through the numbers so I understand how much money I could realistically win, how much I will owe in legal fees and expenses, and how much money would remain?
After you have met with the lawyer, it’s time to think about whether you want to hire this person. Consider whether he has the right background and experience. Decide if you think his fees are fair. Also, think about whether you trust his advice and feel comfortable with the way he manages car accident cases.
If you still aren’t sure, contact his references. Ask what they liked about what they liked, what they didn’t like and whether they would hire him again.
Once you have thought about all these different things, you can choose the right Portland car accident lawyer to represent you in your case and concentrate now on healing from your accident.