Among the important questions to ask before hiring a personal injury lawyer are:
- Have you handled cases similar to mine before?
- Will you keep me updated on my case’s progress?
- What happens if we run into difficulties?
- What kind of fee agreement do you usually use?
- How much do you think my case is worth?
- How long will my case take to resolve?
- What if I lose my case?
Have You Handled Cases Similar to Mine?
There are many different kinds of personal injury cases, including those involving:
- Car accidents and other motor vehicle accidents
- Premises liability accidents, including dog bites and slip and fall accidents
- Product liability accidents
- Dangerous drugs
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home injuries
- Casino injuries
Each of these case types requires a slightly different skillset, so you want to make sure the lawyer you hire has experience with your case type specifically. Even if they have an excellent reputation, hiring someone without appropriate experience could jeopardize your case.
Will You Keep Me Updated?
When you hire a lawyer to represent you, you place the responsibility for completing legal tasks in their hands. However, you’re still responsible for making decisions about your case, including:
- Whether you think a settlement offer is fair
- Whether you want to settle versus go to court
- Whether you want to testify in person or via a written statement
You cannot make good decisions if your personal injury lawyer keeps you in the dark about what is happening. Being uninformed is stressful in and of itself. Ask your Las Vegas personal injury lawyer how often they will update you, and whether you can ask for updates.
What if We Run into Difficulties?
Sometimes, a personal injury attorney can resolve a case quickly. Other times, there may be a long negotiation period with the liable party’s insurance company, or going to court may be necessary. Before hiring a personal injury lawyer, you need to know that:
- They will keep a cool head under pressure
- They will not give in to the insurance company’s demands
- They have enough courtroom experience to present your case effectively
Some attorneys will go to trial, while others do not. You don’t want to find out at the last moment that you must hire a second lawyer because your first does not go to court.
What is Your Fee Agreement?
A fee agreement is a contract signed by an attorney and their client. It dictates:
- When the client will pay the attorney
- How much they will pay
- Under what circumstances payment is expected
Each law firm has its own fee agreement. For example, some may charge an hourly rate, while others may charge a contingency fee or a percentage of whatever compensation you win. Likewise, the percentage differs from firm to firm.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
Your main reason for filing a lawsuit in the first place is probably to get compensation for things like:
- Pain and Suffering
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost income
As such, this is one of the most important questions to ask before hiring a personal injury lawyer. Remember that your lawyer cannot tell you definitively how much your case is worth on the first visit. They need time to investigate your case and collect evidence. However, they should be able to give you a rough estimate based on:
- Their knowledge of relevant laws and similar cases
- The details you share about your accident and injuries
- Any evidence (photos, bills, receipts, etc.) you share with them
They can also tell you if you have a valid legal case at all, based on the presence or absence of malice, carelessness, or recklessness in the at-fault party’s actions.
How Long Will My Case Take?
Again, your lawyer cannot provide a definite timeline of how long your case will take or when you could get compensation. However, they should be able to give you a general idea of how much time they may need to pursue your case based on:
- How many parties (at-fault parties, lawyers, insurance companies, etc.) are involved in your case
- The availability of evidence (the more recent your accident, the easier it may be to find strong evidence that proves your need for a settlement)
- Whether the liable party’s insurance company is willing to negotiate
- What may happen if they have to take your case to court
Some impatience is natural when filing a lawsuit: someone else did you harm, and you want them to pay as soon as possible. However, you do not necessarily want to hire a lawyer who promises the fastest results. No firm can guarantee any result, and fast work is not always quality work.
When hiring a lawyer, you want someone who will stay devoted to your case for as long as it takes to get you a fair settlement that covers all of your losses.
What if I Lose My Case?
While hiring a personal injury lawyer can make it easier to take legal action against a negligent party, it can’t guarantee a favorable outcome. You and your attorney certainly hope for a win, but it’s important to know ahead of time what will happen if you don’t get any compensation. For example:
- Will your lawyer still expect payment for services rendered?
- What will happen with your medical liens and other debts?
- Do you have any other options for collecting compensation?
It is always better to be as prepared as possible before hiring a lawyer and starting legal action.
Our Lawyers Can Answer Your Questions
NRS § 11.190(4)(e) gives you two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. There are a lot of important questions to ask before hiring a lawyer to represent you, and De Castroverde Accident & Injury Lawyers can answer them. Call today for a free case review to get started.