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Questions to Ask When Meeting Illinois Truck Accident Attorneys

If you've never before hired an attorney, you may not know what questions to ask or how to judge the quality of a lawyer's answers to those questions. Once you start interviewing lawyers, you'll realize that it largely comes down to common sense. If you are interviewing Illinois truck accident attorneys, you're looking for a lawyer who:

  • Has a background in and knowledge of Illinois personal injury law
  • Has experience representing truck accident victims
  • Appears knowledgeable when discussing strategy and assessing your case
  • Provides an award estimate that seems fair and realistic
  • Charges a fee that seems reasonable

Preparing to Meet with Illinois Truck Accident Attorneys

Before agreeing to hire an Illinois truck accident attorney, you should schedule a preliminary meeting, also called an initial consultation. During this meeting, you'll have the opportunity to interview the lawyer about his or her background and experience, and you'll be able to familiarize the attorney with your case. The purpose of this meeting is to decide whether you want to hire the lawyer to handle your case.

This articles suggests a number of questions that are suitable to ask Illinois truck crash attorneys. Don't feel as if you have to ask every question included in this article. Instead, focus on those that you think will best help you decide whether to hire the attorney. You should also add questions that address any specific needs you have when hiring an attorney. (For example, if you require an attorney who speaks Spanish or offers evening hours, you'll want to ask about those details.)

Go to the meeting with a written list of questions you'd like to ask, and bring some writing material so you can take notes.

Background & Experience

Start all of the initial consultations by talking to each of the Illinois truck accident attorneys about their background, experience, and skills in representing truck accident victims. Among the questions to consider asking:

  • Where did you attend college and law school?
  • When did you graduate from law school, and how long have you been practicing law?
  • Which bar associations and professional organizations do you belong to?
  • About how many personal injury victims do you work with each year? Of those, how many were injured in trucking accidents?
  • Do you only represent personal injury victims, or do you also do other types of legal work?

Legal Philosophy & Style of Practicing Law

You should also ask questions about the lawyer's philosophy and approach toward practicing truck accident law. Questions you can ask include:

  • How would you describe your personality and style as an attorney?
  • What is your approach or philosophy when handling truck accident injury lawsuits?
  • What is your style when working with accident injury victims? Do you present all of my options then ask me to make a decision? Or, will you recommend a course of action?
  • Do you generally prefer to obtain settlements in truck accident cases or to take the case to trial?

Assessment of the Case

Share the details of your trucking accident injury, including how the accident occurred and a description of what injuries you suffered. Be sure to answer any questions the lawyer might have. (Know that anything you tell the attorney will remain confidential even if you decide to hire a different lawyer.) These details will help the lawyer make an accurate assessment of your case. Questions you should then consider asking include:

  • How would you assess my case?
  • Is my case more likely to settle or go to trial?
  • Is mediation or arbitration an option?
  • What percentage of trucking accident lawsuits do you settle each year? What percentage do you take to trial?
  • What is a realistic settlement or judgment amount?
  • Are there potential problems that could affect the outcome of my case? What are they, and how could they change the outcome?
  • How quickly do you think you can resolve my case?

Case Management

If you're comfortable with the answers you've received, you should move on to questions about how the attorney would manage your truck accident lawsuit. Consider asking questions such as:

  • Will you personally manage my case and handle all settlement negotiations and court appearances?
  • Who else will be working on my case? What are their roles and responsibilities?
  • Will you provide progress reports? If so, how frequently, and what is included in those reports?
  • Are you the day-to-day contact if I have questions or concerns?
  • What is the best way to reach you? How quickly can I expect you to respond?

Legal Fees

Most personal injury lawyers, including Illinois truck accident attorneys, charge their clients a contingency fee. However, you'll want to confirm this with each lawyer. Consider asking:

  • Do you charge a contingency fee or an hourly rate?
  • What is your rate?
  • How much would you get paid if we win the case? Settle the case? Lose the case or are unable to settle?
  • What other expenses will you incur? Can you estimate their total amount?
  • Do you require a retainer payment?
  • Based on your settlement and judgment estimates, how much money would I have after expenses and fees are paid?

Selecting an Illinois Truck Accident Lawyer

At the end of each meeting, give the lawyer the opportunity to discuss any topics you neglected to discuss during the meeting. This is also the time when the lawyer will make the last pitch for your business. If you're seriously considering hiring the lawyer, you can also ask the lawyer for the names of clients who would be willing to speak to you and serve as a reference.

Once you've met with all of the Illinois truck accident attorneys you're considering, it's time to decide which one to hire. Review your notes from each meeting, and think about which attorney is best qualified to handle your case. If you're having trouble making a decision, ask yourself these questions:

  • Which attorney has the most experience representing truck accident victims?
  • Which lawyer offered the most appropriate strategy for handling my case?
  • Which attorney had the most realistic award estimate?
  • Which attorney had the most reasonable but accurate estimate of legal fees and estimates?
  • Which attorney made me feel most comfortable?
  • Which attorney do I trust to offer the best advice and judgment in my case?

Once you've asked yourself these questions, you should have no trouble identifying the best Illinois truck accident lawyer to handle your case.