Questions to Ask when Hiring Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
If you've never before hired an attorney, you may not know what questions to ask or how to judge whether a lawyer is qualified to handle your case. This article will suggest some questions to consider asking the motorcycle accident attorneys you are thinking about hiring.
By no means should you feel as if you have to ask every question listed in this article. Nor should you feel compelled to stick to this list of questions. Your initial consultation with a motorcycle accident attorney is your opportunity to learn more about the lawyer's experience, skills, style, cost, and recommended strategy for handling your case. Ask whatever questions you think would help you select the right motorcycle accident settlement attorney for your case.
Background & Experience
Questions to ask about the lawyer's legal education and professional experience include:
- Where did you attend college and law school?
- When did you graduate from law school, and how long have you been practicing law?
- On average, how many motorcycle accident cases do you handle each year?
- Do you only work with clients who have been in motorcycle accidents, or do you handle other types of cases as well?
- Do you frequently handle cases similar to mine?
- Are you a member of any bar associations and professional organizations? If so, which ones?
Legal Philosophy & Style
You should try to learn more about the lawyer's style and approach to practicing law. Among the questions to consider asking are:
- What is your approach or philosophy in handling motorcycle accident injury cases?
- What is your style when decisions need to be made? Will you present options and expect me to make a decision about how to proceed? Or, will you tell me what I should do?
- How would you describe your personality or style as a lawyer?
Questions to ask about the estimated cost of your motorcycle accident case include:
- How are you compensated for your time? Do you charge a contingency fee or an hourly rate?
- Do you require a retainer payment?
- What other fees and expenses will I have to pay? Can you estimate how much those will be?
- If we do not get a financial settlement or win a judgment, will I still owe you any money? If so, approximately how much?
- Can you give me some examples of how much money I would take home after your fees and expenses are deducted?
Assessment of Your Case
You'll also want to get the lawyer's opinion about your potential case. After describing the details of your motorcycle accident, consider asking some of the following questions:
- What is your assessment of my case?
- What kind of settlement or judgment can I reasonably expect to receive?
- Are there potential problems that could negatively affect the outcome of my case?
- Are we likely to have to go to trial?
- What percentage of motorcycle accident injury cases do you settle each year? What percentage do you take to trial each year?
- How long will it reasonably take to complete my case?
- Is mediation or arbitration an option?
Questions to ask about how your motorcycle accident lawsuit will be managed include:
- Are you available to handle my case?
- Will you be my day-to-day contact?
- Will you personally manage my case, or will another attorney have that responsibility?
- Will you personally handle my case negotiations and court appearances?
- Will other attorneys or experts be working on my case? What will they be doing?
- How frequently will you provide progress reports, and what will be included in those reports?
- What is the best way to reach you? How quickly can I expect you to respond?
Tips for Your Meeting
You should come to the meeting prepared with a list of the questions you'd like to ask, as well as some paper on which to take notes. This list will come in handy in case you get nervous and forget things during the meeting, and the notes will be useful if you end up meeting several motorcycle accident attorneys.
Before wrapping up the meeting, ask the lawyer if there are other questions you should have asked or if there is anything else the attorney wants to tell you. What else should you know before deciding whether to hire him or her?
Hiring Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Once you've had the opportunity to meet one or more motorcycle accident attorneys, you'll need to review the results of those meetings and decide which attorney you want to hire to handle your motorcycle accident lawsuit. Among the factors to consider:
- Does the lawyer have the skills and expertise necessary to handle your motorcycle accident lawsuit?
- Did you feel comfortable with the lawyer? Did you like his or her style, and did you feel as if you'd be comfortable taking his or her advice?
- Are the legal fees reasonable? And did the lawyer provide a realistic estimate of how much money you could expect to receive as an award?