personal injury client with lawyer

5 Questions to Ask Before You Retain a Personal Injury Firm

By Greg Kohn

If you got hurt because of someone else’s negligence, you might want to work with a lawyer to seek compensation for your losses. You might wonder, however, how to find the right attorney to handle your personal injury case.

This blog offers suggestions about the 5 questions to ask before you retain a personal injury firm to help you pursue monetary damages from the at-fault party. A New Jersey personal injury attorney could take care of your injury claim or lawsuit so that you can focus on getting better,

1. Have You Tried Cases Similar to Mine?

Personal injury claims have become more sophisticated in recent years. You should ask the attorney what kind of cases the law firm handles. If most of their practice focuses on something else instead of personal injury, they might not have the experience you need from the law firm you retain for your case.

Also, you might want to ask if the lawyers at the firm have handled cases similar to yours. You do not want to be the first wrongful death case or medical malpractice case they handle, for example.

2. How Do You Get Paid?

Personal injury firms typically work on a contingency fee basis rather than charging you upfront legal fees and billing you for the hours that they work on your case. Contingency fees mean that the client does not have to deposit money with the law firm for these things.

Instead, at the end of the matter, the personal injury attorney receives a percentage of the settlement or court award. If you do not win, you should not owe any attorney fees. Be sure to get a copy of the signed fee agreement that specifies the percentage the lawyer will receive and other details of the financial arrangement.

3. What Potential Challenges Do You See in My Case?

Every case is different. You will want to talk to the personal injury lawyer about the facts they see as potential challenges and how they will respond to these issues. Also, although a reputable lawyer will not guarantee specific results, you should receive a good faith assessment of the likelihood of a positive outcome on those possible challenges.

4. What Strategy Do You Expect to Use in My Injury Claim?

Some lawyers try to negotiate a settlement for the client, while others might immediately file a lawsuit. Certain facts, like an approaching filing deadline, might force the attorney’s hand, but it is good to know their lawyer’s typical approach to your kind of claim. Also, you should ask whether the attorney actually takes cases to trial if necessary or if they refer litigation cases to other lawyers to try.

5. How Often Will You Contact Me About My Case?

A personal injury lawyer is supposed to keep the client updated on developments in the case, but some rarely do so. Ask about whether you will receive monthly updates or if the firm will contact you on some other schedule. Some attorneys do not bother to update their clients for six months or longer.

On the subject of communication, you will want to know how you can contact the lawyer who handles your claim. Some firms are happy to respond promptly to phone calls, text messages, and emails from clients.

6. What Is Your Success Rate at Trial?

While past success is not a guarantee of future results, an attorney with a high success rate at trial has demonstrated their ability to effectively argue their clients’ cases and win. This could be a sign of their skill, their thoroughness in preparing for trial, and their ability to persuade a judge or jury. However, keep in mind that a high success rate at trial is just one factor to consider. Many personal injury cases are settled out of court, so an attorney’s ability to negotiate favorable settlements is also crucial.

7. What Are Your Fees?

Legal representation can be expensive, and it’s important to know upfront what you’ll be expected to pay. Personal injury attorneys often work on a contingency fee basis, which means they only get paid if they win your case or secure a settlement for you. The fee is typically a percentage of the amount you receive.

However, the percentage can vary from attorney to attorney, and there may be other costs involved, such as court fees, expert witness fees, and administrative costs. Understanding the fee structure will help you avoid any surprises and make an informed decision about whether to hire a particular attorney. It also allows you to compare the cost of different attorneys and factor this into your decision-making process.

You can reach out to us today for a free initial consultation about your case. A New Jersey personal injury attorney can talk to you at no cost.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.