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Questions to Ask When Interviewing Auto Accident Lawyers

When you or a loved one is the victim of an auto accident, you may think about hiring an auto accident injury attorney to help recover money for medical bills, property damage, and pain and suffering. But if you've never before hired an attorney, you may not know where to start. The process of hiring a lawyer involves three main steps:

  • Collect the names of auto accident lawyers from trusted sources.
  • Schedule a preliminary meeting (also called an initial consultation) with each car crash law firm or attorney you'd consider hiring. This meeting is designed to familiarize the lawyer with your situation, but also to help you learn more about the auto accident lawyer's experience, skills, suggested strategy for handling your auto accident lawsuit, and estimated legal fees.
  • After interviewing auto accident attorneys, select and hire the attorney who not only has the necessary skills and experience to handle your cause, but who has also earned your trust.

Preparing to Meeting with Auto Accident Lawyers

Before meeting with any attorneys, you should take time to make some notes and prepare for your meeting. At each initial consultation, you want to describe your case to the lawyer. You also want to ask the lawyer questions that will help you decide whether the lawyer is the right person to handle your case.

This article contains a list of suggested questions to ask when meeting an auto accident lawyer. By no means should you feel as if you have to ask every question in this article, and you should also feel free to ask questions that are not included in the article.

Background & Experience

Ask about the auto accident lawyer's education and professional experience. Suggested questions include:

  • How long have you been a lawyer?
  • What law school did you attend?
  • Are you a member of any bar associations or professional organizations? If so, which ones?
  • On average, how many car accident clients do you represent each year?
  • Have you frequently handled cases similar to mine?
  • Does your practice consist solely of representing auto accident victims, or do you do other types of legal work as well?

Legal Philosophy & Style

You also want to learn more about the lawyer's approach and style when it comes to practicing law. Among the questions to consider asking:

  • How would you describe your personality or style as an attorney?
  • What is your approach to handling personal injury cases?
  • What is your style when working with clients? Do you present the options and ask me to make a decision, or will you to tell me what I should do?

Assessment of Your Case

Ask for the lawyer's opinion of your case. Relevant questions to ask include:

  • What percentage of car accident injury lawsuits do you settle each year? What percentage do you take to trial each year?
  • What is your opinion and assessment of my case?
  • What kind of financial award can I expect to receive?
  • Are there problems with my case that could potentially affect its outcome?
  • Is it likely that we'll have to go to trial?
  • Is arbitration or mediation an option?
  • How long do you expect it will take to complete my case?

Case Management

Questions to ask about how your automobile accident injury lawsuit will be managed include:

  • Will you personally manage my case, or will another attorney manage it?
  • Will you personally handle negotiations and court appearances?
  • Would you be my day-to-day contact?
  • Will other auto accident attorneys or experts work on my case? What are their roles and responsibilities?
  • Will you provide progress reports? How frequently? What will be included in those reports?
  • What is the best way to reach you? How quickly can I expect you to respond?

Legal Fees

Questions to ask about the estimated cost of your case include:

  • How are you compensated for your time?
  • If we do not get a settlement or win the case, will I have to pay you any money?
  • Do you charge a retainer fee?
  • What other fees and expenses will I have to pay? Can you estimate their total?
  • Can you do the math and show me some examples of how much money I would take home after legal fees and expenses?

Finishing Your Meeting

Before the meeting ends, ask the automobile accident lawyer if there are other questions you should have asked or if she or she wants to tell you anything else. Is there anything you should know before deciding which attorney to hire?

Hiring an Auto Accident Attorney

After your initial consultations, you'll need to review the results of those meetings and decide which lawyer you want to hire. Consider the following when making your choice:

  • Does the attorney have the experience necessary to handle your automobile injury case?
  • Is the attorney's style and approach to handling automobile accident lawsuits in line with how you'd like your case handled?
  • Did you feel as if you could trust the attorney and feel confident following his or her advice?
  • Are the legal fees reasonable?