After a serious injury, you will face many important decisions. One of the most critical decisions is choosing the right attorney to represent you in your personal injury case. Knowing the decision can mean the difference between walking away empty-handed or securing maximum compensation for your losses can quickly make the task of choosing an attorney an overwhelming one.
To make the process easier and ensure you make an informed choice, we go over the top 15 questions to ask when selecting a personal injury lawyer below.
Qualified Personal Injury Lawyers in Ohio
At Slater & Zurz, we want you to feel confident about your choice of attorneys. We offer a FREE consultation, so you can get to know us and ask us any questions you might have.
For over 30 years, we have used our skills and resources to successfully handle thousands of personal injury matters on behalf of our clients, having handled cases stemming from a wide variety of circumstances. So you can rest assured, knowing your case is in good hands.
What to Look For in a Personal Injury Attorney
When selecting a personal injury lawyer, you will need to make sure they have the qualifications, experience, and resources to handle your case effectively. Asking certain questions will help with the process and not only ensure your lawyer is qualified but also that your personalities are a good fit and that he or she genuinely has your best interests in mind.
1. How long have you been handling personal injury cases?
The bottom line is you want an attorney who is familiar with personal injury law. Their knowledge of the applicable laws and familiarity with the common defense tactics used by insurance companies, experience with negotiation, and ability to navigate complex legal procedures will directly impact the success of your case.
2. How many cases like mine have you handled?
Personal injury is a broad area of the law, dealing with a wide range of matters. So, you want to make sure your attorney has represented other clients in similar cases, whether your case involves unique circumstances related to a car accident, workplace accident, or medical malpractice.
3. How much does it cost to hire you?
The vast majority of personal injury lawyers handle cases on a contingency fee basis. What this means is that you will not need to pay anything up-front. They will handle your case and will only be paid if they successfully secure compensation on your behalf. Should they win your case, they will take a percentage of your verdict or settlement, generally anywhere from 30-40%.
4. Will I be responsible for any costs if I lose?
Some attorneys will charge for case-related costs that they advanced during the process in addition to the contingency fee. Be sure to ask your lawyer whether you will be required to pay out-of-pocket costs in the event your personal injury lawsuit does not result in a successful recovery.
5. Do you ever take cases to trial?
Although you probably prefer to settle your case outside of court, you want to make sure that, if needed, your lawyer can skillfully advocate on your behalf at trial. This is also important because insurance companies know which attorneys will go to trial and which ones will always end up settling. When the insurance companies know your attorney is willing and able to take the matter to court, they are far more likely to offer you a fair settlement.
6. How many cases do you handle at a time?
If your attorney has too many cases, they won’t be able to give your the time and attention it needs. Having an attorney who is too thin will also delay the process, leaving you without the compensation you need to recover physically, emotionally, and financially. So make sure the attorney you hire will have the time and focus to quickly and effectively handle your case.
7. Why do you think I have a good case?
Asking your lawyer why they think your case is strong will help you gauge their experience and trustworthiness. You are not looking for the answer you want to hear. Instead, you are looking for an honest one. Their explanation will also show you how much thought and care they have already put into your case.
8. What are the weaknesses of my case?
Again, you are looking for honesty. Virtually all cases have some weaknesses or areas of concern. If your lawyer is willing to tell you about them, you will know what to expect and whether they are willing to tell you the truth – not just what you want to hear.
9. How much is my case worth?
An experienced personal injury lawyer should have a good idea of what your case will be worth. At the very least, they should be able to explain how various factors, such as discovery, liability, and any pre-existing conditions, might affect your settlement or verdict. Be sure to evaluate their assessment and be wary of any lawyer who makes what seems like an unrealistic claim.
10. How long will it take to resolve my case?
Personal injury cases are especially unpredictable. That means no lawyer can give you a definitive answer as to how long your case will take. Although an experienced attorney will be able to provide you with a general time frame based on your type of case, who you are dealing with, and the local court system. Therefore, their response will give you a good idea of their level of experience.
11. Do you have the financial resources and staffing to effectively handle my case?
More complex personal injury cases require extensive resources. For example, a trucking accident case can require the expertise of accident reconstructionists, investigators, medical experts, and financial experts. Your case may also require a considerable amount of your attorney and his staff’s time. Your lawyer and his paralegals will need to put in many hours throughout your case, especially during the discovery process. You will want to make sure they can spend the time and resources on your case to get you the result you need.
12. Who will be handling my case?
Some personal injury firms like to have potential clients meet with senior partners to showcase their skills and experience and get them to sign a representation agreement. Once they have your signature, they are never seen again. Ask who you will be working with and who will be available to answer your questions and concerns. Also, ask whether a less experienced associate will be primarily in charge of your case.
13. What percentage of your cases are from referrals from other lawyers?
It is important to determine whether a significant amount of an attorney’s cases come from referrals from other lawyers. Lawyers know who is good and who is not. If they have the respect of other lawyers and are referred clients from their peers, it is a strong indicator that they are the top attorneys in that area.
14. How involved will I be in my case?
Many clients want to be involved in each step of the personal injury lawsuit process, attending depositions and other meetings. Still, others don’t want to be involved much at all and would rather just have their lawyer be involved. Learn what your lawyer prefers or how they react to your wishes related to your involvement in the case. Being on the same page will prevent conflict and frustration on both ends.
15. How will you keep me updated on the progress of my case?
Communication is key when working with a lawyer. We know you don’t expect your attorney to hold your hand during the process, nor do you expect them to call you every day. You do, however, want your attorney to keep you informed of any developments in your case. You also want a personal injury lawyer who will be readily available should you have any questions or concerns. Discussing how your attorney will communicate with you will help set the expectations going forward.
Top Personal Injury Attorneys in Ohio
With over 150 years of collective experience handling personal injury cases in Ohio, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing we will skillfully handle your case. At Slater & Zurz, we understand the far-reaching consequences of a serious injury, made only more devastating when your injury was caused by the recklessness of someone else’s actions. Whether you were injured in an auto accident, dog attack, or another type of accident, we can help.
If you are seeking compensation for your injuries in Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, or anywhere in Ohio, turn to the personal injury lawyers at Slater & Zurz. We will fight hard to secure justice and get you the compensation you deserve.