Think you might have a personal injury case on your hands? According to The Law Dictionary website, just four to five percent of personal injury cases in the United States ever make it to trial. 95 to 96% of these cases are settled pretrial.
Even more sobering, perhaps, is the fact that of the cases that do make it to trial, 90% of them end up losing, experts say. That’s why you need to be sure that you have the right lawyer fighting for you.
You’ll have a greater chance of hiring the right lawyer if you know which questions to ask during your initial consultation. But if you don’t, no worries. We’re here to help.
Read on to learn 11 questions to ask when hiring a Houston personal injury lawyer!
Questions to Ask Your Potential Houston Personal Injury Lawyer
Recent statistics report that there are more than 1.3 million lawyers practicing in the United States. But, while there may be no shortage of lawyers out there, finding the right one to win your case can take some work.
This list of questions will help make it easier to determine which attorney is the right one for you.
1. How Much Do They Charge?
Most Houston personal injury lawyers charge fees on a contingency basis. This means that they only collect their fees once you receive payment from the defendant for your case.
Attorney fees can be 40% or more of the total payout amount. You want to be sure that you are getting the most money possible. But, just because a lawyer charges a lower percentage doesn’t mean that you will be paid a greater amount.
If you do not win your case, or if your payout is substantially lessened, you might receive a less amount even though their cut is at the lower end of the spectrum.
2. What is Their Experience With Cases Like Yours?
One of the things that can help to ease your mind during the waiting period is their level of experience. So, be sure to find out how long they’ve been practicing personal injury law.
Still, just because they have experience in the general area, doesn’t mean they have experience dealing with cases like yours. Personal injury cases cover a wide range of scenarios, including:
- medical malpractice
- slip and fall cases
- dog bites
- premises liability
- product liability (injuries sustained while using products belonging to a specific brand or sold by a specific merchant)
- automobile accidents
- motorcycle accidents
- offshore accidents
- assault and battery cases
- wrongful death cases
Many practices deal with multiple types of personal injury cases, but their expertise in one or more areas may be limited. Be sure to find out if the lawyer has dealt with cases that fall under the same specific category as your own before you sign a contract. If they are unfamiliar with cases that are similar to your own, it could spell disaster for your case.
3. Who Will Be Working On Your Case?
When you hire a lawyer, you are not only employing that lawyer, but you’re usually hiring their team as well. That’s because many attorneys tend to have a team of other partners, assistants, and paralegals that help them with their cases. This is especially true for lawyers that work within a large firm.
It might surprise you to find out during one of your pretrial meetings that they have sent someone else to stand in their place. But, this happens all the time.
Ask them about the team of professionals who will be working on your behalf. You might also want to find out about their credentials and experience as well.
4. What Case-Related Costs Will You Be Responsible For Paying?
Even if your attorney doesn’t collect payment unless you win your case, there may be other costs to consider. For example, there may be costs to hire witnesses or collect research and/or evidence associated with your case. And, it could be that you’re responsible for paying these costs whether you win or lose.
Make sure that you understand every part of the payment process for costs and fees related to your case. This way, there will be no surprises when it comes time to “pay the piper”, so to speak.
5. What Is Their Track Record With Personal Injury Cases?
Despite their level of experience working with similar cases, if the lawyer has a poor track record, it could be a warning sign. Not only do you want to be sure that they have personal injury experience, but you also want to know that they have experience winning personal injury cases, as well. If they cannot show you that they have won a substantial number of cases, you may want to keep looking.
6. How Much Do They Expect Your Compensation to Be?
When it comes to how much you will be paid for your case, there are a couple of factors that come into play.
How much do they expect the case will pay? And, how much of that can you expect to receive? Should the other party choose to settle, what amount would they consider an appropriate settlement?
As you can tell, they may not have a cut-and-dry answer for you. But, they should be able to offer you some estimations.
You may decide to interview more than one attorney during the hiring process. If so, their estimates for compensation will probably fall in the same ballpark.
Most attorneys will probably have similar estimations unless they are able to explain why they feel that they can get a larger payout for you. If one estimation stands out as drastically different from the others, be sure to find out why.
7. What Do Others Have to Say About Them?
In the legal profession, your reputation follows you. And, you can learn a lot about a law firm based on what others have to say about them.
When hiring a lawyer, find out what their past clients or their peers think about the work they have done. It can be a very good sign if former clients or other legal professionals are willing to recommend their services.
If you don’t happen to know anyone that is affiliated with the law firm, then ask for references. If they are proud of their track record, then they should be happy to provide you with the names of people that you can contact to find out more about their work.
8. What Do They Need From You?
Find out what they need from you immediately to get started on your case. This could be anything from a retainer to evidence related to your case. Perhaps, they need the names and contact information of people who have information about your case.
In order for your lawyer to be able to provide the best services possible, they will need as much information as you can provide. Chances are that the faster you get to work providing them with the details they need to move forward, the faster your case will move overall.
9. What Are Your Next Steps?
Should you choose to hire them to take on your case, what will your next steps be? You will probably need to either come in or send in signed paperwork confirming your decision.
Then, they may want to meet with you again to ask additional questions. Or, they may request additional documents to move forward.
You want to be sure that you find out exact instructions regarding what your next steps are and what you should expect during the early stages of your case.
Are You Looking for a Personal Injury Lawyer in Houston, Texas?
If you’re in need of a Houston personal injury lawyer, the Ivey Law Firm wants to help you get the compensation you deserve. We have the experience and qualifications that you’re looking for, and we take pride in providing aggressive representation for the injured.
In a personal injury case, you need attorneys who will offer you their complete support. And, you need a lawyer who is willing to fight hard for you in the event that your case goes to trial.
Not every personal injury lawyer is willing to go above and beyond to ensure justice for their clients. But, we will do whatever it takes. If you can’t come to us, we will even come to you.
Let us help you through this difficult time and give us a chance to help you recover payment for the injuries you’ve sustained. Don’t wait another day.
Contact Us today to get the professional help and expertise that you need to win your personal injury case!