·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Lawsuits & Litigation

What to Ask Personal Injury Lawyers

— April 24, 2019

Personal injury lawyers are necessary when negotiating the maze of insurance settlements and lawsuits. Knowing how to choose the right one is very important.

Personal injury lawyers secure compensations for injuries and other losses after a severe accident. These professionals represent your interests in settling negotiations with insurance companies. Consult the services of a specialized attorney before you file for a personal injury lawsuit. Remember to ask the right questions in choosing a lawyer to help you with your personal injury claim. Consider these questions to ask:

What’s your experience in handling personal injury cases?

Personal injury is an umbrella term for a large number of law practices. A personal injury lawyer can cater to different cases like:

  • Car accidents
  • Slips and falls
  • Defamation
  • Medical malpractice
  • Assaults and batteries
  • Product liabilities
Medical team examining patient; image by Richard Catabay, via
Medical team examining patient; image by Richard Catabay, via

You can further subdivide these categories. For example, medical malpractice may include traumatic brain injuries, misdiagnosis, birth injuries, and surgical errors. Numerous personal injury lawyers can handle most of the above-listed cases. Ask your lawyer for any experience or specialization they have on particular matters for them to best serve you.

Specific categories may require a distinct level of knowledge and experience. Your attorney should have familiarity with common legal concerns based on the incident you encountered. Also, the legal professional should have connections with investigators and other experts in various fields to help with your case.

What are the fees involved?

Filing a personal injury lawsuit isn’t for free. Several personal injuries lawyers work on contingency fees. It means you don’t have to pay anything until you recover the money damages filed in your lawsuit. These costs are somewhere between 25% and 40% of the award.

The expertise of the lawyer may put an expensive price tag on their services. Still, it means that you have a higher chance of winning the lawsuit as opposed to getting the assistance of an inexperienced and inexpensive attorney. Gauge the experience levels and prices of the services of your chosen personal injury lawyers before moving forward with the lawsuit.

Also, ask your lawyer if any case-related costs may come with the contingency fee. These are “out of pocket” costs if your personal injury attorney is unsuccessful in defending your claim.

How are costs handled?

Aside from looking at the contingency fees, another concern you may come across when choosing a personal injury lawyer is the way the legal expert handles the costs. You’ll stumble upon legal expenses like: 

  • Expert witness fees
  • Administrative fees
  • Information-gathering charges
  • Court-filing fees

When you win your personal injury case, you have to pay these costs. You can get more money from the settlement as opposed to getting paid after your attorney gets compensated when paying “off the top.”

For example, You win a case worth $200,000 USD, your legal costs are $20,000 USD, and your lawyer requires payment of a 40% contingency fee. You subtract the $20,000 USD from your recovery fees if you pay your legal costs “off the top.” Your lawyer will receive $72,000 USD, and you’ll receive $108,000 USD.

On the other hand, if you don’t pay “off the top,” then you’re going to pay your personal injury lawyer with the 40% contingency they require before paying anything else. Hence, your attorney will get $80,000 USD before you pay the $20,000 USD legal costs. You’ll receive $100,000 USD after settling all the legal fees. 

How much is the award if the case is won?

Don’t expect a precise answer when you ask this question. Attorneys should not exaggerate their abilities to win cases to prevent unrealistic expectations. All personal injury lawsuits are unpredictable; different events can happen before and during the trial. Still, your lawyer should provide an estimate regarding your chances of winning the claim. The professional should also hypothesize the amount of the compensation you may receive when the case settles.

An excellent way to make sure if an attorney is overpromising is to check their statements. You can get a second opinion from another lawyer to say if both professionals give similar ballpark figures. If you come across an attorney who guarantees your case is worth more than it should, then that can be a red flag. Be cautious during this scenario unless the lawyer can adequately explain the reasons for their promises.

Your chosen personal injury lawyer should help you perceive the outcome of the lawsuit. For example, if you file a personal injury lawsuit for bullying, the legal professional should indicate the possibilities that may occur during the trial. Get the services of a personal injury attorney that can provide you with a realistic view on your case instead of promising a victory. 

Join the conversation!