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Questions to Ask When Meeting a Texas Car Accident Attorney

After being injured in a car crash that was someone else's fault, it's normal to consider hiring a lawyer to represent you. A Texas car crash attorney can help relieve some of the burden of the accident by helping you estimate the cost of your accident, negotiating with the insurance company of the driver at fault, and representing you in court, if necessary.

People who haven't before hired an attorney may not know what questions to ask or how to judge whether an attorney is qualified to handle their case. Before hiring a lawyer, you should schedule a preliminary meeting (also known as an initial consultation) to learn more about the lawyer, and familiarize the lawyer with your case. Once you start talking to lawyers, you want to look for one who:

  • Has the experience and skills to handle your case
  • Has good judgment and offers advice that you trust
  • Has legal fees that are reasonable
  • Recommends a case strategy you agree with

Meeting With a Texas Car Accident Attorney

This article suggests many questions that you can ask when interviewing Texas car accident attorneys. Don't feel compelled to ask every question in this article; instead, focus on those questions that will help you decide whether a lawyer is appropriate for your auto accident case. And don't hesitate to ask questions of your own that can help you evaluate whether the attorney is right for you.

Background & Experience

Begin the meeting by asking about the lawyer's education and professional experience. Suggested questions include:

  • Which law school did you attend, and when did you graduate?
  • How long have you practiced personal injury law?
  • Does your practice consist solely of representing car crash victims, or do you do other types of personal injury legal work as well?
  • On average, how many auto accident victims do you represent each year?
  • How many car crash lawsuits do you settle each year? How many cases do you take to trial each year?
  • Have you frequently handled cases similar to mine?
  • What can you tell me about Texas personal injury laws?
  • Do you belong to any bar associations or professional organizations? If so, which ones?

Legal Philosophy & Style

You also want to learn more about the attorney's approach and style when it comes to representing car crash victims. Among the questions to consider asking:

  • How would you describe your personality or style as an attorney?
  • What is your approach to handling auto accident injury cases?
  • What is your style when working with clients? Do you present the options and ask me to make a decision, or will you to tell me what I should do?
  • Do you prefer to take auto accident cases to court or settle before going to trial?

Assessment of Your Case

Take some time to share details of how your car accident occurred and what kinds of injuries you suffered. Ask for the lawyer's opinion of your case. Relevant questions to ask include:

  • Have you frequently handled injury cases similar to mine?
  • What is your opinion and assessment of my case?
  • What kind of financial award can I expect to receive?
  • Are there problems with my case that could potentially affect its outcome?
  • Is it likely that we'll have to go to trial?
  • Is arbitration or mediation an option?
  • Case Management

    If you're happy with the answers you've received thus far, you should ask some more specific questions about how your 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?

    Legal Fees

    Most Texas auto accident lawyers 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?
    • Can you give me some examples of how much money I would take home after your fees and expenses are deducted?

    Selecting a Texas Car Accident Attorney

    After you've had an initial consultation with each attorney, it's time to select one to manage your Texas auto accident case. As mentioned earlier, you're looking for an attorney who:

    • Has the experience and skills to handle your case
    • Has good judgment and offers advice that you trust
    • Has legal fees that are reasonable
    • Recommends a strategy you agree with

    You may immediately know which attorney you want to hire. If you're torn between a couple of the lawyers you've met, ask them to put you in touch with a few former clients who can serve as references. Once you've decided which attorney is best-suited to represent you, you're ready to move forward with your auto accident case.