Questions to Ask When Hiring a Brain Injury Attorney
If a loved one is the victim of a brain injury that's someone else's fault, you may be considering hiring a brain injury attorney. But if this is the first time you've hired a lawyer, you may not even know where to start. The process can be boiled down to three steps:
- Get the names of brain injury lawyers from trusted sources like Attorneys.com, and ask friends and family if they have any personal recommendations
- Meet each head injury attorney you would consider hiring to learn more about the lawyer's skills and experience
- Hire the attorney who has the best skills and experience to handle your case, and in whom you have confidence and trust
Meeting with Brain Injury Attorneys
Before deciding which brain injury attorney to hire, you'll want to schedule a meeting, also called an initial consultation. This meeting gives you an opportunity to learn more about the attorney's background and experience working with brain injury victims.
Prior to the meeting, prepare a list of questions you'd like to ask the lawyer. These questions are intended to help you get to know the lawyer and decide whether he or she is qualified to handle your case.
This article suggests a number of questions suitable to ask brain injury lawyers. You shouldn't feel obligated to ask every question, and you should feel free to ask questions of your own. Focus on the questions that you think will help you decide whether to hire a specific attorney.
Background & Experience
Start the meeting by asking the attorney about his or her background, professional experience, and legal skills. Questions to consider include:
- Where did you attend college and law school? When did you graduate?
- How long have you been practicing law?
- On average, how many head, brain and spinal injury victims do you work with each year?
- Are you a member of any bar associations and professional organizations? If so, which ones?
Legal Philosophy & Style of Practicing Law
You'll also want to learn more about the attorney's professional style and approach to practicing law. Questions to consider include:
- What is your approach or philosophy in handling brain injury cases?
- How would you describe your personality or style as an attorney?
- What is your style when working with clients? Do you present options and expect the client make a decision? Or, are you more likely to recommend a course of action?
Assessment of the Case
Take some time to describe your case or the case of your loved one. This will help the lawyer give you an honest and thorough case assessment. Among the questions to ask:
- What is your opinion and assessment of the case?
- What is a realistic settlement or judgment?
- What potential problems might affect the outcome of the case?
- Is this case more likely to settle or go to trial?
- What percentage of brain injury lawsuits do you settle each year? What percentage do you take to trial annually?
- How long would it reasonably take to conclude this case?
- Is mediation or arbitration an option?
If you're satisfied with the answers you've received so far, consider asking questions about how the head injury case will be managed. These questions might include:
- Are you available to handle this case?
- Will you personally manage the case, or will another attorney have that responsibility?
- Who else will work on the case? What are their roles and responsibilities?
- How frequently will you provide progress reports? What is included in those reports?
- Will you personally handle all settlement negotiations and court appearances?
- Are you the day-to-day contact if we have questions or concerns?
- What is the best way to reach you? How quickly can we expect you to respond?
Most brain, head, and spinal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, but you'll want to confirm this with the lawyer. Among the questions to ask:
- Do you charge a contingency fee or an hourly rate?
- How much would you get paid if we win the case? Settle the case? Neither win nor settle?
- If we do not get a settlement or win the case, will we owe you any money?
- What other expenses will you incur? Can you estimate their total amount?
- Do you require a retainer payment?
Finishing the Meeting
At the end of the meeting, ask the brain injury attorney if there's anything else you should have discussed. Does the attorney have anything else he or she wants to tell you before you make a decision?
Hiring a Brain Injury Attorney
Once you've met with one or more brain injury attorneys, review the results of those meetings and decide which attorney you want to hire. Among the factors to consider:
- Does the lawyer have the experience and skills necessary to handle your brain injury case?
- Did you feel comfortable with the attorney's judgment?
- Can you trust the attorney's recommendations and feel confident relying on their judgment?
- Are the legal fees reasonable and is the award estimate realistic?