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Top 10 Questions To Ask Your Auto Injury Lawyer

Life can change in an instant when you’re involved in a major auto accident. Your first priority, if you’ve been injured, is to focus on your physical and emotional recovery. At the same time, you may have another urgent need: finding an auto injury lawyer to help you claim damages if the other driver was to blame for your accident.

Most lawyers specializing in auto injuries will give you a free initial consultation. There, you’ll be able to learn about the lawyer’s experience, personality, and his or her level of interest in your case. Bring with you a list of questions and any important documents relating to the accident. Be sure to write down detailed notes about your case to bring to the meeting, so the lawyer can fully answer your questions.

Here are the top 10 questions to ask your auto injury lawyer:

1. What is Your Experience Practicing Auto Injury Law? Because auto injury cases can pay a lot of money in settlements, they can attract some lawyers who want to take these cases without the necessary experience. Ask the lawyer if their practice is devoted only to victims of car accidents and how long they’ve been specializing. How many auto injury cases do they try, and how many do they settle, in a typical year and what is their success rate?

2. How Many Cases Like Mine Have You Handled? Auto injury cases can run the gamut from minor injuries to catastrophic disability, such as severe brain injury or paralysis, that require lifelong, expensive care. You want your lawyer to have a lot of experience in getting compensation for your type of injury, including payment for future medical treatment that may be needed. If you’ve become permanently disabled because of your car accident, ask if your attorney can help you make your way through the Social Security system to receive disability benefits.

3. How Strong is My Case? Ask the injury lawyer if your case meets the burden of proof that shows the person who caused the accident acted without reasonable care. And does your case prove you did suffer damages? Most cases are settled before a trial. Would it be better to settle your case or go to trial?

4. How Much Money Do You Think I Can Recover? In addition to medical expenses (the biggest part of the claim) and lost wages, it’s possible to be compensated for pain and suffering or other problems. Although nothing is guaranteed, your injury lawyer should be able to give you an estimate of what’s reasonable in your case.

5. What are Your Fees? Most auto accident lawyers are paid on a contingency basis—they only get paid if you win your case. The lawyer should be open with you about costs. Most contingency fees are between 25% and 40% of what you’re awarded. Your attorney may be willing to negotiate the fee if you have a very good case.

6. What if I Don’t Win My Case? Even though the lawyer is working on a contingency, you may still have to pay expenses such as court and investigation costs. Ask the lawyer what charges you would be responsible for.

7. Who Should be the Defendants in My Case? Of course, the driver at fault in your accident has the major responsibility. But the driver may not have enough money or insurance to pay damages. If the driver was working at the time of the accident, your lawyer may be able to add the driver’s employer to the suit.

8. What Will You Personally Handle in My Case? Ask if your lawyer will be giving parts of your case to associates or paralegals. Find out who they are and what they’ll be doing. Of course, if the lawyer doesn’t come to the initial meeting and sends an assistant instead, that’s not a good sign. Ask how the lawyer will help you deal with the insurance companies involved. And will the lawyer involve you in decisions in a way you’re both comfortable with?

9. How Long Might My Case Take? Cases often take a long time to make it to trial. You need to know about how long you’ll have to wait, and decide how to pay medical expenses in the meantime. You may choose to settle the case, or look into getting a loan, if you need money soon. Also, ask the lawyer about the time limit for filing your case. Different states have different deadlines for lawsuits.

10. What Information Do You Need From Me? To best represent you, your auto injury lawyer will need you to document such things as your injuries, pain and suffering, and other issues. Be sure to ask exactly what will be needed from you.

At the end of the meeting, ask the lawyer if there’s anything else you should know that wasn’t discussed. You should also ask for references from past clients. And it’s a good idea to make notes soon after the meeting so you can keep everything straight when comparing this lawyer with other auto injury lawyers. With all of this preparation, you’ll be on your way to smoothly resolving your case.

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