Top Ten Questions to Ask Your San Diego Personal Injury LawyerRequest Free Consultation
If you’ve suffered a preventable injury due to someone else’s failure to take reasonable actions to prevent harm, you may have reached the decision to hire a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you get the most from your claim. Navigating California’s at-fault insurance system can be challenging. Talking to a knowledgeable attorney with years of experience in your type of claim is the first step toward achieving both compensation and justice. When it comes to your health and the medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering that result from serious injuries, selecting the right lawyer to represent you is critical. Before you make this key decision, it helps to know what questions to ask a personal injury lawyer in San Diego so you can make the right choice for your case.
1. Have You Handled Cases Similar to Mine?
Depending on how your injury occurred, it’s important to make sure your attorney has handled similar cases and understands how to collect evidence, interview the right witnesses, and contact the best expert witnesses if needed. For example, proving liability in a medical malpractice case is very different from proving negligence in a car accident case. A track record of success in cases similar in nature to your own indicates that the lawyer has experience and resources in that area of law.
2. Do You Think I Have a Strong Case?
This is an essential question to ask before you hire an attorney. Typically, a personal injury attorney in San Diego only takes a percentage fee if they secure compensation for you through a settlement with an insurance company or through a jury award in court. The amount of time and effort they put into a case may directly correlate to the amount of compensation they think they can secure for you. In most cases, an attorney is more than willing to take your case if they think it’s strong and you are likely to win the compensation you deserve.
3. Will You Be Handling My Case Personally?
All too often, personal injury clients in San Diego are surprised to learn that the lawyer they met with for their initial consultation isn’t the one assigned to their case. While there’s nothing wrong with the head of a law firm delegating cases to partners, it’s important for you to ask to meet with the attorney who will actually take on your case so you can form an impression of their skill, experience, and knowledge before you make a decision.
4. How Do You Charge Your Personal Injury Clients?
While the majority of personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and only charge a percentage fee if they win your compensation, it’s important to understand their contingency payment terms, the percentage they’ll take for their fee, and if you still have to pay them if you aren’t compensated. Always get the complete picture of what to expect for their fee and how contingency fees work before you hire an attorney to represent you.
5. How Often Will You Update Me and How Do I Contact You?
Before you hire an attorney, you should be clear about how often you expect updates on the progress of your case, how involved you’ll be in the process, and the best way to contact your attorney as well as how long you’ll typically have to wait for a response.
6. Will I Have to Go to Court for a Personal Injury Claim in San Diego?
The vast majority of personal injury cases resolve with a settlement from the appropriate insurance company so you never have to see a courtroom, however, this is a question you’ll want to discuss with your attorney upfront. If they think your case may require litigation in court through a lawsuit, it becomes a much more labor-intensive project and may cost more in legal fees. However, payouts through a jury award are often larger than out-of-court settlements.
7. Do You Have a List of References or Testimonials From Past Clients?
A good attorney with a strong track record of success should be completely willing to provide you with references and client testimonials of their success in cases similar to yours.
8. How Much Is My Case Worth?
Every injury case is different. Ask your lawyer how they calculate your non-economic damages like pain and suffering as well as your more tangible damages like medical bills and lost wages. The value of the damages in your case depends on the severity of your injury. After your consultation, the attorney should have a rough idea of the value of your case.
9. How Much Time Can You Devote to My Case?
Once you know which attorney at the firm will represent you, always ask what their bandwidth is and how much time they intend to devote to your case.
10. What Timeline Can I Expect for My San Diego Personal Injury Case?
Though it’s best to expect the unexpected, your attorney should be able to offer at least a rough timeline of how they plan to proceed in your case and the amount of time it’s likely to take for each phase including the investigation, discovery, proving liability, drafting a demand letter, negotiating with the insurance company for a settlement, and filing a lawsuit within the state’s statute of limitations if it becomes necessary.