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Questions to Ask When Meeting New York Trucking Accident Lawyers

Many people who are injured in trucking accidents ultimately turn to New York trucking accident lawyers to help them determine what compensation is reasonable, negotiate with the truck driver's insurance company, and represent them in court, if necessary.

If you've never before hired a lawyer, you may not know how to tell if an attorney is qualified to handle your case. However, once you start interviewing attorneys, common sense will help you determine whether a lawyer has the experience and skills necessary to handle your case.

Meeting With New York Truck Crash Attorneys

You will want to schedule a meeting with each attorney you'd consider hiring. This meeting, called an initial consultation, is your opportunity to learn more about the lawyer's background, practice and experience handling trucking accident injuries. It also gives the lawyer a chance to learn more about the details of your accident.

Come to the meeting with a prepared list of questions to ask the lawyer. This article suggests dozens of possible questions, but you shouldn't feel as if you have to ask each question in this article. You should also add questions that touch on issues of importance to you.

Background & Experience

A natural way to begin the meeting is by asking about the New York trucking accident lawyer's background, experience, and skills relevant to your case. 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?
  • About how many personal injury clients do you work with each year? How many of those are trucking accident victims?
  • Do you only represent personal injury victims, or do you also do other types of legal work?
  • Which bar associations and professional organizations do you belong to?

Legal Philosophy & Style of Practicing Law

You should also ask questions about the lawyer's philosophy and approach to practicing law. Among the questions to ask:

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

Assessment of Your Case

Take the time to describe the basic facts of your case to the attorney, and answer any questions he or she might have. Then ask for the attorney's opinion about your potential case. Questions to consider asking include:

  • How would you assess my case?
  • How large a settlement or judgment can I reasonably expect to receive?
  • Have I told you anything that could potentially damage my case? What could go wrong?
  • How likely is it that we'll have to go to trial?
  • How quickly will you be able to resolve my case?
  • Is mediation or arbitration an option?

Legal Fees

Most New York truck accident law firms charge their clients a contingency fee, but you'll want to get specific details about fee arrangements. Questions to ask about the estimated cost of your lawsuit include:

  • Do you charge a contingency fee or an hourly rate?
  • If you charge a contingency fee, do you take a fixed percentage of any award? How much is that percentage?
  • Do you calculate your fee based on the amount of the award before or after expenses are deducted?
  • How much are the estimated expenses if we settle the case? If we go to trial?
  • If we do not settle or win the case, will I still owe you any money? If so, approximately how much?
  • Do you require a retainer payment?
  • Can you give me some examples of how much money I would take home after your fees and expenses are deducted?

Case Management

If you're happy with the answers you've received thus far, you should ask some more specific questions about how your truck accident injury case will be managed. These questions would include:

  • Are you available to handle my case?
  • Will you personally manage my case, or will another attorney have that responsibility?
  • 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?
  • Will you personally handle my case negotiations and court appearances?
  • Will you be my day-to-day contact?
  • What is the best way to reach you? How quickly can I expect you to respond?

Selecting Among New York Trucking Accident Lawyers

After you've concluded your preliminary meetings with New York trucking accident lawyers, it's time to select an attorney to represent you. Your decision may be an easy one, particularly if you only met a single lawyer and were pleased with the results of your meeting. If you're choosing between a couple of lawyers, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the attorney have the necessary skills and experience to handle my case?
  • Was the lawyer's award estimate realistic, and were the legal fees reasonable?
  • Did I feel comfortable with the lawyer's proposed strategy, and do I trust the lawyer's advice and judgment?
  • Will I be happy if I have to work with this lawyer for months or more than a year?