Questions You Should Ask Your Baton Rouge Personal Injury Lawyer
Your initial consultation with an attorney for your personal injury case is a chance for the attorney to evaluate your case and determine whether he or she wants you as a client. But just as important, it is a chance for you to interview the attorney to make sure they are a good choice for your case. Don't be intimidated, and make sure you are prepared with questions. Before you hire your Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer for your case, here are some questions you should ask:
What is your contingency fee?
Most Baton Rouge personal injury lawyers take cases on contingency. This means that no legal fees are owed to them until they win or settle your case. Before you agree to hire an attorney, you should ask about the contingency fee. The fee can vary from 25% to 40% and often depends on the strength of your case and the value of the potential damages award. If an attorney believes your case will be worth a big settlement, they may agree to a contingency fee on the lower end of this range.
What about my costs? Will I be responsible for the costs if I lose my case?
There may be a lot of costs involved in filing your case, and these are usually paid for out of any damage award or settlement you get before the contingency fee is calculated. You should ask your attorney how those costs are handled if you don't prevail. Will the law firm cover them, or hold you responsible?
Have you tried this type of personal injury case before?
Ask your potential lawyer about their past experience in handling cases like yours. Don't assume every lawyer with a personal injury ad in the phone book has actually tried a case. If possible, try to get references to former clients. This is specially critical if you have unique case or injury, rather than a standard car accident.
Will you be able to devote the time necessary to my case?
One of the downside of going to the most popular law firm in town for your case is that their attorneys and staff may be too busy to devote time and attention to your case. Many lawyers will agree to take on your case, then wait until the last minute to actually work on it. This delay costs you money and time, and you should hire an attorney who will work diligently on your case and be willing to offer progress reports on a regular basis.
When will my case be filed?
If the attorney takes your case, find out how soon after the day you sign the egagement letter your suit will be filed. If there will be a delay, make sure there is a good reason for it. There's a lot of competition out there for personal injury lawyers, and you should be able to find one who will be able to attend to your case in a timely manner.
How much is my case worth?
This is another good question, and although it may be hard for the attorney to give you an exact answer, they should be able to give you a range of the value of your case based on their general knowledge of cases like yours.
Who will be the attorney actually handing my case?
Many times you will go into the law firm's office to meet with an attorney, but end up working with a junior associate in the office. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but make sure you know on who your point of contact in the office will be and if possible, get an introduction before you leave the office. Ask questions about their experience level and availability.
Why should I hire you and not another firm?
This is a chance for the lawyer to tell you how they work, and how they are different from other personal injury lawyers you could hire in Baton Rouge.