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Questions to Ask When Meeting North Carolina Truck Accident Attorneys

After being injured in a trucking accident, you've probably considered hiring a North Carolina truck accident attorney. But if you've never before hired an attorney, you may not know what questions to ask or what qualities to look for in an attorney.

Once you start meeting with lawyers, you'll discover that screening attorneys is easier than you might have imagined. When talking to lawyers, you just need to apply common sense and good judgment. You should ultimately be looking for a North Carolina truck accident attorney who:

  • Has experience representing North Carolina trucking accident victims
  • Suggests a sensible strategy for handling your case
  • Suggests a realistic award estimate
  • Has legal fees and expenses that are reasonable
  • Inspires your trust and confidence

Meeting With North Carolina Truck Accident Attorneys

Before agreeing to hire a lawyer, you should schedule a preliminary meeting, also called an initial consultation, with the lawyer. This meeting, designed to familiarize the attorney with your case while allowing you to get to know the lawyer, is offered for free by many personal injury lawyers, including North Carolina truck accident attorneys.

The initial consultation is your opportunity to interview the attorney and decide whether he or she is qualified to handle your case. This article suggests dozens of questions that you can ask during the initial consultation. You don't need to ask every question. Instead, focus on those questions that will help you decide whether you want to hire the lawyer.

Background & Experience

When meeting truck accident attorneys, start by asking questions about their education, legal experience, and professional background. Questions to consider include:

  • Where and when did you attend college and law school?
  • How long have you been practicing law?
  • What bar associations and professional organizations do you belong to?
  • Do you only represent victims of trucking accidents, or do you also handle other types of lawsuits as well?
  • Approximately how many trucking accident cases do you handle annually?

Legal Philosophy & Style

Try to learn more about attorney's approach to practicing personal injury law. Typical questions to ask would include:

  • What is your approach or philosophy when representing truck accident victims?
  • How would you describe your style of practicing law?
  • How much will you involve me in making decisions about my case? For example, will you present me with options then ask me to make a decision, or will you only recommend the best course of action?
  • Do you prefer to settle cases or take them to trial? Why?

Assessment of Your Case

Describe the facts of your case, including details about how the accident occurred and the types of injuries you suffered. If you have copies of the police report, medical bills, or other documents related to your accident, you can also share copies of those with each of the North Carolina truck accident attorneys you meet. (Rest assured that any information you share will remain confidential even if you hire a different attorney.) After you've described the basics of your case, answer any questions the lawyer might have. Then try to get 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 weaknesses or shortcomings do you see in my case?
  • How likely is it that we'll have to go to trial?
  • How fast will you be able to resolve my case?
  • Is mediation or arbitration an option?

Case Management

If you're satisfied with the lawyer's answers thus far, you should ask more about how your case will be handled. Questions to ask include:

  • Are you available to handle my case?
  • What other lawyers or experts will work on my case? What are their roles and responsibilities?
  • Who will be my day-to-day contact if I have questions about my case?
  • Will you or another attorney manage my case?
  • Will you personally handle any settlement negotiations and court appearances, or will another lawyer have that responsibility?
  • How frequently will you provide progress reports, and what is included in those reports?
  • What is the best way to reach you? How quickly can I expect you to respond?

Legal Fees

Most attorneys who represent personal injury victims, including truck accident victims, charge a contingency fee, but you'll want to get specific details about fee arrangements. Questions to ask about the estimated cost of your case 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?

At the Meeting

Bring your list of questions when you meet with each North Carolina truck accident attorney. You should also bring writing materials, so you can take notes during or immediately following the meeting. If you're interviewing several attorneys, these notes will come in handy when it comes time to select a lawyer.

As the meeting wraps up, ask the lawyer if there's anything else he or she wants to tell you. This gives the lawyer a chance to make a final pitch for your business.

If you are seriously thinking about hiring the lawyer, you can also ask for the contact information of past clients who are willing to serve as references. You can call these references to ask what they liked and disliked about working with the attorney and whether they'd hire the attorney again, if necessary.

Selecting Among North Carolina Truck Accident Attorneys

After you've interviewed your last North Carolina truck accident lawyer, it's time to pick a lawyer to handle your case. When selecting a lawyer, you want to select someone who has both the technical skills and expertise, but also someone who shows good judgment and with whom you feel comfortable entrusting your case. Once you've found that lawyer, you're ready to move forward with your North Carolina trucking accident lawsuit.

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