Experiencing a sudden traumatic injury is painful and distressing, but when it is caused by someone else’s negligence, reckless actions, or intentional wrongdoing, the painful experience becomes even worse as victims face the complicated legal system to recover their injury-related losses. Instead of going it alone against powerful insurance companies that protect their profits at the expense of payouts on valid claims, many injury victims seek legal counsel and representation through a personal injury lawyer. An attorney can confidently manage the legal aspects of a personal injury claim while the victim focuses on their physical recovery.
Fortunately, the best personal injury lawyers in California offer free consultations and contingency-based payment so they only take a fee after they secure your settlement or court award for damages. If you’ve turned to the legal guidance of a personal injury attorney for your claim, it helps to know what questions to ask your prospective personal injury lawyer during the initial meeting.
Some attorneys serve clients in a variety of legal cases. It’s to your advantage to choose an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases in your area—especially in those similar to your own. For instance, whether your injury resulted from a car accident, a slip-and-fall accident, medical malpractice, or a defective product, it’s beneficial if your attorney has a track record of success in securing compensation through settlements or jury awards in similar types of cases.
Though most reputable personal injury lawyers charge no upfront fees and only take a percentage of the payout as their payment, it’s important to be clear on what that percentage is and whether or not you’re expected to pay if the attorney loses the case. Most attorneys charge between 25-40%. Also, ask about court costs should your case require a trial so you don’t end up with any surprise, last-minute expenses.
During the initial consultation, you can describe the circumstances of your case to the attorney so they can give you an idea of what to expect. Depending on the unique aspects of your injury case, the attorney may be able to give you an idea if your case is likely to result in a settlement or require a trial. Around 95% of personal injury claims settle out of court through an experienced attorney’s negotiations with the insurance company of the at-fault party. Accepting a settlement is less risky than taking the defendant to court, but a court award might be higher than a settlement. Your attorney should be able to weigh in on the pros and cons of a settlement vs. jury trial in a personal injury case.
Many injury victims are dismayed to find that the attorney they spoke to during their initial meeting is not the one ultimately assigned to their case. If the attorney you consult with plans to assign an associate to your case, it’s helpful to ask to meet with that attorney as well, so you can ask about their personal experience in handling cases similar to your own and find out if you’re comfortable with them before hiring them to represent you.
While it’s beneficial to hire a successful attorney with an exceptional reputation, you don’t want one who is going to be so busy with other cases that yours gets shelved. Be sure to find out how much time the attorney plans to spend working on your case.
While the lawyer cannot guarantee how long a case will take, they should be able to give you a rough timeline for how your case is likely to proceed.
Before you leave your Encino personal injury attorney’s office, be sure you know their preferred method of communication, whether it’s by phone, email, Zoom meeting, or in person. Ask for frequent updates on the progress of your case so you aren’t left in the dark about your claim.