If you have been involved in a personal injury due to the fault of another party, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical treatment expenses by filing a personal injury lawsuit. In fact, you might already be in the process of seeking legal representation from a personal injury lawyer Orange County CA trusts. You will want to schedule a meeting with a prospective lawyer before you retain or hire them to ensure you are obtaining the best possible legal representation. Listed below are some important questions to ask a personal injury lawyer in order to better acquainted with them and their law firm and have a better grasp on how they will handle your case.
- How many cases have you worked on before that are similar to mine?
An attorney who has not previously worked on a similar case as yours is less equipped and experienced to handle your case effectively. You wouldn’t trust a surgeon to perform a serious operation on you unless the surgeon had performed at least a few similar operations before. Thus, you would not expect a lawyer to obtain the maximum settlement or compensation amount for your case if he hasn’t been previously seasoned with similar types of cases. A lawyer who has worked with clients with similar injuries as yours and similar circumstances pertaining to the method of injury will be better equipped to deal with unexpected issues that will come up. For example, an experienced personal injury attorney will know the best expert witnesses to retain in order to effectively support the argument of your case.
Experience matters when it comes to lawyers dealing with other defense lawyers and/or insurance adjustors. You can expect the insurance adjustor or defense attorneys with whom your lawyer will be communicating to look up your attorney on the internet. An experienced lawyer will intimidate defense lawyers and insurance adjustors to agree to a higher settlement amount for your case.
- Have any of your personal injury cases every gone to trial? If so, what were the results?
Most personal injury cases will settle out of court between your attorney, yourself, and the insurance company or defense attorney that represents them. The settlement amount is often based off the insurance policy limits of the liable party or parties.
However, settling before going to trial can potentially reduce the chances of receiving a larger settlement amount.
Many people do not want to extend their personal injury lawsuits for a long time and attorneys also do not want to incur the large expenses that come along with taking a case to trial. Some attorneys will have no plans whatsoever to take your case to trial and will have an agenda to settle it from the beginning. This should be a warning flag. This type of lawyer may already have a multitude of personal injury cases that will simply be settled in a routine fashion. Many personal injury lawyers make their business this way. This may not be an issue if you have a relatively straightforward case, however, you may need a more seasoned attorney if your case has difficult issues regarding liability or high medical expenses. For more complex cases where you may have sustained more serious injuries and perhaps multiple parties may be at fault, trial could very well be the optimal route.
Insurance companies won’t easily budge to pay a large amount. When a case settles it does not go to trial and the settlement amount you receive could potentially be a lot less than what you could receive if your case were to be taken to trial and the court were to rule in your favor. Of course, there is always the risk that the court or jury does not rule in your favor during a trial and you receive nothing. You want to hire an attorney that is confident and experienced with taking cases to trial – and winning.
- If my case does go to trial, will you be the attorney handling it?
By inquiring about the results of past trials that your personal injury lawyer has undertaken, you will be able to better gauge their ability to argue your case in order to sway a judge or jury’s opinion in your favor.
Often times, there are lawyers that specialize in taking cases to trial. Many lawyers never go to trial. It is important that you know if your personal injury lawyer regularly goes to trial. You want to be informed about who will be going to trial, if your case does not settle in advance. This will provide a realistic understanding of how your case will be handled at each phase (pre-litigation, settlement or trial).
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Bruno Nalu for their insight into personal injury practice.