If you get injured in an accident, you need someone to help you understand your legal rights. The right personal injury lawyer will be an experienced advocate who can protect your best interests during an insurance claim or personal injury trial. Ask these 10 questions during a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in San Antonio, Texas to find out if he or she is the right fit for you.
1) Do I Have a Case?
Personal injury law is based mostly on the theory of negligence and proving liability. Someone may be financially responsible for your injury if that person was negligent and caused your accident. Someone is negligent if his or her careless actions injure or harm someone else. Describe your accident in detail to the attorney to find out if you have a case.
2) What Is Your Experience in My Practice Area?
The lawyer you choose should have ample experience within your practice area. If you have a car accident case, for example, the lawyer you hire should have experience in Texas motor vehicle accident law. Hands-on experience will give the lawyer the knowledge to correctly and efficiently handle your case.
3) How Many Cases Have You Taken to Trial?
Most personal injury cases in Texas do not go to trial. Your lawyer will use aggressive negotiation tactics to reduce the odds of having to take a defendant to court. If your case does need to go to court, however, your attorney should have the ability to represent you before a judge and jury. Ask about the lawyer’s trial capabilities before making your decision.
4) Do You Have Any Reviews or References?
Look for client testimonials, law firm reviews, references, and case results to see if the lawyer has what it takes to successfully represent you. Reading reviews and references can give you peace of mind about the lawyer’s capabilities, as well as more information about what to expect from the law firm during your case.
5) About How Long Will My Case Take?
Ask for an estimate of how long it will take to complete your case. Although this can be difficult to predict, your lawyer should at least be able to give you a rough timeframe based on the facts of your case and whether there are foreseeable challenges. Your lawyer can let you know if your case is more likely to settle or go to trial. A settlement is faster than an injury trial.
6) Will You Be the Attorney Handling My Case?
Ask the lawyer you meet with during your initial consultation if he or she will be the one handling your case. If not, ask to speak to the attorney who will be in charge of your case. Make sure an attorney, not an assistant or paralegal, is who will be taking care of you.
7) Can I Speak to You Directly During My Case?
Open and frequent communication during a personal injury case is important as a client. Your lawyer should be available to answer your questions and concerns and keep you updated about the status of your lawsuit regularly. Ask the attorney about his or her communication protocols and whether you will be able to contact the attorney directly.
8) How Much Do You Think My Case Is Worth?
An attorney’s estimate of the value of your case will be more accurate than an insurance company’s, as an attorney will want to maximize your results. Ask how much money the lawyer believes your case is worth based on the extent of your injuries and losses. This can give you an idea of whether or not you need to hire an attorney.
9) How Much Are Your Fees?
Your lawyer should be honest and upfront about how much he or she charges for personal injury services. If the lawyer works on a contingency fee basis, he or she will charge you by subtracting an amount from your settlement or verdict award won. Otherwise, the lawyer may charge by the hour or a flat fee.
10) Do I Have to Pay Anything Upfront?
With contingency fees, you will not have to pay anything upfront – you will only pay if and when the lawyer wins your case. Sometimes, however, a law firm will still have other fees you must pay before the lawyer will begin your case. Make sure you completely understand how the law firm charges before you sign on.
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