If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury caused by the actions of another individual or entity, it is very likely that you will need to work with a personal injury lawyer to help recover compensation. Even if you think the claim will be resolved through a settlement with an insurance carrier, you should have a lawyer look at the claim to help ensure that you are recovering maximum compensation. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, but you need to know what to ask when you go into these free consultations with a West Chester personal injury attorney.
1. Do You Handle This Type of Injury Claim?
Not all lawyers handle personal injury claims, but let’s assume you’ve narrowed your search down to a Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer in your area. When you sit down with the lawyer for a free consultation, ask them if they’ve handled claims like yours. For basic personal injury claims, like car accidents, they have probably handled similar cases. However, if you have a more nuanced claim, for example, an injury that occurred due to a malfunctioning elevator or escalator, ask the attorney if they have handled a similar case.
2. What are Your Fees?
You need to know how much an attorney will cost. Ask the lawyer if they handle the case on a contingency fee basis. This means that they would be responsible for handling upfront or out-of-pocket costs related to your personal injury claim. Additionally, you would only have to pay legal fees after the attorney successfully recovers compensation for your claim. Under a contingency fee arrangement, you do not pay any legal fees if the attorney does not win your case.
3. What is Your Success Rate?
You can ask about their success rate. It is very likely that they have an approximate percentage that they can give you about how successful they have been on their cases. And they may break it down into cases that they settle and cases that they take to trial.
4. How Much Trial Experience do You Have?
You want to ask any prospective attorney about their trial experience. Even though the vast majority of personal injury claims in Pennsylvania are settled before they go to trial, you want an attorney who is not afraid to take your case to a jury if necessary to ensure you are treated fairly. If an attorney has a good trial success rate, this will make it much more likely that an insurance carrier will offer to settle for a fair amount.
5. How Much do You Think My Claim is Worth?
Even though an attorney will not be able to give you an exact dollar figure for how much your claim will be worth, they will be able to give you some type of estimate, at least given their experience. You should ask multiple attorneys how much they think your claim is worth so that you have an idea of what to expect moving forward.
6. How Long do You Think My Case Will Last?
Understanding how long a personal injury claim will take to resolve is not an exact science, but an attorney with experience will be able to tell you how long they think it will take to resolve your claim, either through a settlement or a personal injury jury trial.