Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

Hiring a highly skilled personal injury lawyer is one of the most crucial things you will ever need to do if you have been a victim of an accident caused by negligence. Along with the devastating physical and emotional trauma from the incident, you may also have to cope with legal and financial issues that seem quite beyond you in your current condition. Insurance companies have formidable legal teams representing them, and, if you are to negotiate them or file a claim for compensation, you must have access to an accomplished and experienced Joliet personal injury lawyer.

To hire the right person, you need to make sure that they are capable of the following:

  • Conducting a detailed investigation into the accident.
  • Carrying out negotiations that will benefit your case.
  • Communicating the legal issues with clarity.
  • Being available to discuss matters with you in person as well via email and phone.

It will be a good idea to ask a Joliet personal injury lawyer the following questions before you hire them:

Can you tell me about your previous experiences in personal injury lawsuits and their results?

Personal injury scenarios can include car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, injuries, wrongful death, dog bites, and slip and fall. While there are general practitioners who can handle these cases, you may be more of an advantage with someone specializing in personal injury lawsuits. They will be better informed about all the legal aspects and will have more practical experience.

Do you have memberships for any legal organization?

It is an encouraging sign if the Joliet personal injury lawyer is a member of established legal organizations such as the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the American Association for Justice. Such organizations regularly host seminars and other informative and educational programs to keep their members updated with legal requirements and developments.

Do you take cases on a contingency basis?

Taking cases on a contingency basis means that the lawyer will charge a fee only if they win the case for you. There will be no fee if they lose the case. However, regardless of the legal outcome, they will charge you for the litigation expenses they incur while handling your case. These can include fees for expert witnesses, health consultants, court reporters, and other third parties. Some lawyers may ask you to pay for the expenses upfront, while others will require reimbursement at the end of the case.

Who will be in charge of my case?

Often, the senior lawyer you meet with to discuss your case may not be the one who will represent you. The law firm may delegate the work to another less or more experienced lawyer. They may even assign several lawyers to handle different aspects of the case. Either way, you need to know who is in charge of your case and about their qualifications and level of legal experience.

You must also ask if the lawyer or legal team can take on your case right away. Some law firms tend to accept all in-coming cases, but don’t have the personnel and financial resources to handle them all at once. That could leave you in a limbo. So, clarify before hiring that they can start negotiations or file your lawsuit within the next couple of weeks.

Do you think my case could go to trial?

It may be possible to negotiate with the insurance firm and reach a settlement without going to court. However, if they are not willing to provide fair compensation, you will have to go to trial. The Joliet personal injury lawyer must be willing to take this step. Be cautious if they have a record of only making settlements. That could mean they are more interested in making compromises than seeking justice. If the situation requires going to trial, you should ask for its overall time-frame, about your role during the court proceedings, and about the compensation, you could receive at the end. While these issues can be hard to predict, an experienced personal injury lawyer should be able to give you a tentative idea of how long the lawsuit could take and what you can reasonably expect.

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