Six Questions to Ask an Ocala Personal Injury Lawyer During a Free Consultation
Most people never need to hire a lawyer. But when you have a complex legal issue like a personal injury claim, hiring a lawyer can make the difference between a fair outcome or a loss.
Injury lawyers usually offer free consultations. During this consultation, you can get some feedback on your case and interview the lawyer. Armed with this information, you can decide how to proceed with your case.
Here are six questions to ask an Ocala personal injury lawyer to get the most out of your free consultation.
How to Use a Free Consultation
The phrase “consultation” suggests that the lawyer will provide legal advice during your meeting. The lawyer might analyze your case and provide some feedback.
But to fully use your free consultation, you need to interview the lawyer. You will need to gather information from the lawyer so you can decide who will be best equipped to handle your case.
Keep in mind that a “free consultation” does not mean an “unlimited consultation.” Most free consultations last about 30 minutes. You will need to use your time efficiently to cover all of the topics you need to discuss.
Here are six questions that will help you decide how to proceed with your case and choose a lawyer.
1. How Much Do You Charge?
You need to know how much a lawyer charges before you agree to work with them. Lawyer fees will vary depending on the lawyer’s experience and the demand for that lawyer’s services.
Most injury lawyers charge a contingent fee. The lawyer will quote the fee as a percentage of your compensation. A typical contingent fee will vary from 25% to 40%, with most falling in the 30% to 35% range.
If a lawyer quotes a 35% contingent fee, you will pay 35% of your settlement or damage award to the lawyer. The benefits of this type of fee include:
- No fees upfront
- No fees if you lose
- Fees are paid at the end of the case
- The lawyer has an incentive to maximize your compensation
Make sure you also discuss how the lawyer handles costs. Costs include all of the expenses that the lawyer pays on your behalf during the case.
Common costs include:
- Filing fees
- Process servers
- Court reporters
- Expert witnesses
Since the lawyer pays these costs, the lawyer will probably expect reimbursement at the end of the case. Make sure you understand which costs you must reimburse and what will happen with those expenses if you lose the case.
2. Do You Have Experience in Cases Like Mine?
Experience counts for a lot in legal practice. All lawyers take the same classes in law school. Lawyers learn their field of practice by working with mentors and handling cases.
Each type of case has unique wrinkles and issues that can arise. Even within personal injury law, some lawyers focus on car accidents, while others might focus on medical malpractice, for example.
A lawyer with experience in cases like yours can spot issues that another lawyer might miss. The lawyer also knows experts who can help you to support your claims. The lawyer might even know the insurer and insurance defense lawyers on the other side.
All of these bits of information can help you to get a better outcome in your injury case.
3. What Range of Outcomes Should I Expect in My Case?
An experienced lawyer can listen to your story and provide immediate feedback about your case. The lawyer might identify the strengths and weaknesses in your legal arguments. They could also have a general idea about the damages you can recover.
Discussing the merits of your case has many benefits. It can give you the chance to:
Evaluate the Lawyer’s Communication Skills
The lawyer should explain the range of outcomes in a logical way that you can follow.
Remember that the bulk of the lawyer’s job consists of communication. The lawyer must explain your claim to an insurance company, advocate for you before a judge, and present your case to a jury. If the lawyer has poor communication skills, you could lose your case.
Set Your Expectations
You need to have a reasonable expectation for what you will receive. Most accident victims have no idea what they can receive for their injuries. Their expectations might range from reimbursement of their medical expenses to a windfall.
Discussing the outcomes with the lawyer will help you understand what you can recover.
Learn How the Lawyer Advises Clients
Lawyers must provide objective advice and counsel to clients. This includes a discussion of all of the problems and weaknesses in a case. Without objective advice, you cannot decide how to handle your case.
A good lawyer finds the problems in your case, identifies possible solutions, and discusses how to proceed.
1. Who Will Handle My Case?
Many large firms have a layered structure in which young, less experienced associates work under senior partners. The partners originate the work by bringing in cases. The associates do the work.
You can and should ask who will handle your case. You deserve to know the experience level of the person who will deal with the claims adjuster, judge, and jury in your case.
2. How Will I Receive Updates About My Case?
The most common dispute between lawyers and clients arises from a lack of communication. Lawyers must update clients about cases and respond to reasonable requests for information.
You need to know how to reach your lawyer. You also need to know who else can update you about your case, including paralegals and legal secretaries working with the lawyer.
3. What Can I Do to Help with My Case?
Every case has unique legal and factual challenges to overcome. You will need to participate in your case. At the same time, hiring a lawyer should relieve you of much of the heavy lifting in dealing with insurers and insurance defense lawyers.
You should discuss your participation in your case. This will help you and your lawyer to set clear boundaries about what each party will do to get the best possible outcome in your case.
Hiring an Ocala Personal Injury Lawyer
After your free consultation, you should take the time to choose a lawyer. Unless you have an impending deadline in your case, the lawyer should not pressure you to decide.
Instead, you should speak to a few different lawyers and pick the best one for your case.To schedule a free consultation with an Ocala personal injury lawyer, contact Allen Law Firm, P.A.