After you’ve been injured in a car accident, slip and fall, or other personal injury incident, you might consider hiring a lawyer. An experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer can help with your case from start to finish, working to obtain compensation from the at-fault party on your behalf while you focus on your health and recovery.
Most lawyers in this area of the law offer a free initial consultation, where you can speak with the attorney about your case and receive some initial legal advice. Continue reading this article to learn about six questions you should ask a personal injury lawyer during your free consultation.
What Experience Do You Have With My Type of Case?
Not every personal injury lawyer will have experience with every kind of case. Personal injury law is expansive and covers everything from motor vehicle accidents to medical malpractice to product liability. Some of these practice areas require specialized resources, knowledge, and skills.
As a result, one of the first things you should confirm with the attorney is that they’re qualified to help with your particular type of case. You might ask what their track record is with claims similar to yours as well as whether there are any client testimonials available that would provide helpful insight.
Hiring an attorney who has successfully handled cases similar to yours before can give you additional confidence in their ability to help you achieve a favorable outcome.
How Much Do You Charge?
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis rather than receiving a flat rate or being paid by the hour. That generally means you won’t have to pay them anything upfront, and you’ll only pay attorney’s fees if they win or settle your claim. These fees will be taken as a percentage of the financial award or settlement the lawyer obtains for you at the conclusion of your case.
However, not all contingency fees are created equal; some personal injury lawyers may take a higher percentage than others. Various sources of law, including Rule 1.5 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct and state statute, set limits on how much an attorney can receive – but there is still some leeway.
Depending on the lawyer and the facts of the case, the contingency fee percentage will typically be around 30-40%. It’s a good idea to ask the lawyer during your free consultation about how much they will charge for your particular case. You should also ask about how any costs and fees associated with the case will be handled, as some lawyers may also take these out of your financial award or settlement.
What Kinds of Legal Services Can You Offer Me?
A personal injury lawyer can take care of virtually every aspect of your claim – assuming they have the resources and experience required. Some of the ways an attorney can help include:
- Internally investigating your case
- Hiring experts
- Conducting legal research
- Collecting evidence
- Negotiating with the opposing party
- Taking care of the paperwork and communications
- Filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party
- Bringing your case all the way to trial if necessary
During your free consutlation, ask the personal injury lawyer the types of resources and services that they can apply to your case. A personal injury attorney that has experience taking similar cases to trial, for instance, can give you added confidence that they’ll be able to represent you effectively. The same goes for a lawyer that has access to reputable experts who can strengthen your claim significantly.
What Will Our Communications Look Like?
Some personal injury law firms will make you feel like a number on a spreadsheet rather than a human being. You’ll rarely communicate with your attorney and instead may be “passed off” to a paralegal or legal assistant instead. You might not even know your case’s status without inquiring on your own.
A personal injury lawyer worth hiring won’t treat you like that. Instead, they’ll keep you apprised of your case’s progress at all times and will make themselves personally available to you whenever you have questions about the proceedings. The attorney should also keep you involved in all major decision related to your case, and getting in touch with them should be straightforward.
How Valuable Is My Claim?
In a sense, this is a trick question. Accurately evaluating a personal injury claim takes time, resources, and sometimes the help of experts. If you ask a personal injury attorney how much your claim is worth and they give you an exact dollar figure, you should be wary of that answer most of the time.
However, the attorney can still provide you with insight into a rough estimate of your case’s value. They might ask you questions that will reveal pertinent information, such as the nature of your injuries and the damages that you’ve experienced so far. From there, the lawyer should be able to help you assess the validity of your claim and whether or not it is worth pursuing.
How Long Will My Case Take To Resolve?
This, too, is a trick question in a sense. No personal injury lawyer will be able to tell you exactly how long your case will take to resolve upfront. Many factors go into determining the length of a case, and they could depend on negotiations and correspondence with the opposing party.
But just like with the question above, the attorney can still provide you with valuable information on the topic during your free consultation. They may be able to shed some light on the complexity of your case and the work that may be required, which can impact how long it may take to reach a final outcome. From there, you may have a better idea of what to expect should you hire them.
A Qualified Chicago Personal Injury Attorney Can Make All the Difference
In general, hiring a qualified Chicago personal injury lawyer to help with your case is worth the effort. An attorney can maximize the value of your claim and protect your legal rights and interests at all times. If you make the most of your free initial consultation, you’ll be well on your way to making an informed decision for you and your future.
If you need assistance with your personal injury case, you can reach out to Zayed Law Offices. We have decades of combined experience and have recovered tens of millions for injured clients. Call us at (312) 726-1616 to get started.