ten must-ask questions before hiring a personal injury attorney.

by Jon D. Alexander, Esq.

1. How many years have you practiced law? Your prospective attorney should not be a novice. Younger attorneys, however, might be utilized to perform some of the work on your case but they should not be given full case management authority.

2. Do you have malpractice insurance? Attorneys, like other professionals, should maintain a policy of professional malpractice insurance. Accidents and mistakes do happen, and a wise attorney will recognize this probability (even if very unlikely) and protect himself and you with a sizeable malpractice policy.

3. Do you routinely take cases like mine to trial or settlement, and if so how many? This answer will demonstrate your prospective attorney’s experience and familiarity with cases like yours.

4. How much time do you devote to cases like mine, that is, what percentage of your law practice focuses on this area of law? The attorney you retain should devote at least 75% of their practice to area to your case’s subject matter.

5. Who will be working on my case, you or junior associates, and if other individuals will be working on my case can I meet them as well? Oftentimes attorneys utilize the indispensable aid of younger, more inexperienced attorneys. Their help can save costs, but you should ask to meet them. While you may feel overwhelmed or confused by the subject matter, do not underestimate or neglect your judgment when evaluating an attorney candidate or his employees.

6. What is your policy regarding returning client phone calls? The most frequent complaint of clients is unreturned phone calls. Your attorney should have a 24 hour turnaround on client phone calls, absent unusual circumstances. It would be best to have this policy written into your retainer agreement with the attorney to ensure compliance.

7. How will you explain to me all of the court procedures, legal concepts, fee arrangements, billing practices, retainer agreements, and payments of costs? The answer to this question will demonstrate the time and “bed-side” manner of your attorney. These questions are often time consuming even though very important. Your attorney should explain to you, in detail, all of the above subject matter areas thoroughly. By expressing your willingness to be involved in the case you will set the tone that you want to be involved in your case and are willing to learn.

8. What is your method or strategy for handling cases like mine? Your attorney should have a streamlined process for “working-up” cases like yours. The level of detail contained in the attorney’s process will demonstrate his organization skills and familiarity with the subject matter and law of your case.

9. What is the likelihood of a quick settlement or trial? Beware the attorney who promises a quick settlement or trial. However, your attorney should be able to provide a well reasoned estimate of the time necessary to reach disposition of your case.

10. In your expert opinion do you believe that I have real chance for recovery or is my situation just an unfortunate one with no real chance of success? You should, of course, ask this question even though it may be difficult to hear the answer. Sometimes there is no legal remedy when a person is hurt, injured or suffers an injustice. Your attorney might, in fact, recommend that you not pursue your case. A quality attorney will provide you with a plan of action that outlines your participation, the steps he will take, and the likelihood of a successful recovery.

Take your first step now; contact a personal injury attorney at http://www.personalinjuryresourcecenter.com. The attorneys listed here are ready, willing, and able to answer your questions, provide expert advice and take on your case today.

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