Interested in filing a personal injury lawsuit after being injured due to someone else’s negligent or wrongful act? If so, you should seriously consider retaining the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer. While personal injury plaintiffs in Florida are legally permitted to represent themselves in court (often referred to as a “pro se” party) choosing to go it alone can be risky and very consequential. If you ultimately decide that hiring a personal injury lawyer is the right move for you consider asking the following questions when interviewing attorneys in order to ensure that the lawyer you hire is a good fit for you, and your case.
#1. Have you handled cases like mine in the past? How did they turn out?
It is important to understand that personal injury cases come in a variety of different forms and that an attorney who has years of experience handling one type of injury claim may not necessarily be well equipped to handle a different type of injury claim. For example, an attorney whose caseload primarily consists of representing clients injured in auto accidents may not be a good choice for you if your injury involves alleging medical malpractice. Therefore, be sure to ask the attorney you are interviewing if they have handled cases like yours in the past and if they have, ask follow up questions like how many? And how did they turn out?
#2. If I hire your firm who will be working on my case?
This may seem like a weird question to ask but it is an important one as the attorney that you are speaking with may not end up being the attorney working on your case. Or, in some instances, the attorney you are interviewing may be one of several lawyers assisting you. Additionally, it is very likely that support employees (such as junior attorneys and paralegals) will also be helping work your case. Therefore feel free to inquire as to who will be working on your case, who will be representing you in court if your case ends up going before a judge.
#3. Has the attorney who will be handling my case ever been disciplined by a legal or ethics committee?
Clients often feel uncomfortable asking this question but if the attorney you are interviewing has been disciplined by a legal or ethics committee in the past you probably want to know about it. Additionally, if the attorney you are interviewing has been in trouble before, give them a chance to explain what happened so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you would be comfortable working with that attorney.
#4. Do you expect my case to go to trial or to settle?
Be aware that the majority of all personal injury claims end up being settled outside of court. By asking this question you will be able to start managing your expectations about whether or not your case will go to court and you will be able to get a feel for whether your attorney prefers to settle or go to trial. Ideally the attorney will base his/her answer off of the facts of your case, not on their personal preference for settling or going to trial.
#5. What does your fee structure look like?
Before committing to an attorney, be sure to ask about the attorney’s fee structure. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingent fee basis which means that the attorney isn’t entitled to fees or costs unless a recovery is made for the client. However, it is important to understand that the attorney will only be able to give you a ballpark estimate during an initial consultation and that a case that goes to trial will generally rack up considerably more in legal fees than one that settles.
Contact a Local Ocala Personal Injury Attorney
Here at Piccin & Glynn, Attorneys at Law, we understand how important it is for injured individuals to find a personal injury lawyer whom they trust and who is well qualified to handle their case. That’s why we offer prospective clients the opportunity to sit down with one of our experienced lawyers during a free initial consultation at our Ocala office and ask any questions that they might have about their injury claims and what our firm can do for them. To schedule your consultation simply fill out our online contact form or give us a call at 352-558-8480.