According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently 826,300 lawyers employed in the United States. For many people, it can be difficult to decide whether professional legal representation is necessary, or how to choose from among the available attorneys in their area. You likely have many questions to ask a personal injury lawyer. An experienced car accident lawyer from Stufano Law may be able to discuss the accident that injured you, explain the kinds of assistance they can provide, and answer your questions in order to help you determine whether hiring a personal injury lawyer is the right choice for your situation. Consider contacting us by calling (914) 752-7746.
Role of the Free Consultation
Many personal injury lawyers provide a free case consultation to new potential clients. This consultation provides an opportunity to:
- Learn about your legal rights and options following an accident
- Ask the lawyer any questions you may have
- Meet the lawyer and get to know the lawyer better
- Develop a better understanding of whether you may have a viable claim for compensation
- See what it might feel like to work with the lawyer
Not all lawyers offer free consultations, but many attorneys practicing in the area of personal injury law do so. Scheduling an initial consultation does not put you under an obligation to hire the lawyer.
Top Questions To Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer
There are some questions that an injury victim may already know they want to ask potential lawyers. There are other questions that should be asked that many people may not think of. Here are some of the questions to ask a personal injury lawyer individuals may want to add to their list.
Do You Focus Solely on Personal Injury Cases?
While some attorneys manage various types of cases, when a lawyer focuses on one particular type of case, they are often able to develop a more in-depth understanding of that area of the law. They understand the laws that apply to that type of case and often are able to recognize the potential problems that can arise. This question can help potential clients better understand whether the lawyer they are interviewing is focused solely on personal injury cases or if they also practice in other, perhaps related, areas of the law.
What Types of Cases Do You Handle?
Just because a lawyer manages personal injury cases does not necessarily mean that they handle the type of case the injured person was hurt in. For example, construction accidents can present unique legal challenges due to workers’ compensation and third-party liability issues that lawyers who only handle car accident cases may not be experienced with. Slips and falls are different from medical malpractice cases. Individuals want to ensure that any lawyer they hire is not only experienced in personal injury law but also in the particular type of case that they were injured in.
What Is Your Success Rate?
Injury victims will also want to ask about how the lawyer’s similar cases have been resolved. Did they obtain successful outcomes? How often have they settled a case, vs. going to trial? How many cases like this one have they managed?
What Do You Charge for Your Services?
Most personal injury lawyers take cases on a contingency fee, which the New York State Bar Association defines as receiving a fee for their services only when a certain event occurs. In most cases, that payment is contingent on the victim recovering compensation for their injuries. The client does not pay any fees upfront or on an hourly basis. In these situations, the lawyer receives a percentage of any recovery they make for their client.
Personal injury lawyers can charge different contingency fees. Some may charge a higher percentage than others. Some may have a sliding scale in which the first portion of the recovery is a higher percentage while a later portion is a smaller amount. For example, the lawyer may charge 50% for the first $10,000 recovered but 25% of the rest of the award. Lawyers also handle legal costs differently. Therefore, it is important to ask questions about how the lawyer charges, so you have a better idea about what to expect.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Case?
Personal injury claims seek compensation for the harm injury victims have suffered. Courts and insurance companies cannot undo the injuries negligence has caused. Instead, they aim to compensate the victim for the losses they suffered and try to return them to the position they were in before the accident.
This focus makes it essential to consider what types of losses the victim has experienced, what the long term effects of those losses may be, and the degree to which the personal injury victim may be able to recover, physically and financially. Depending on the circumstances, considerations in this category could include the following:
- Initial medical expenses, including emergency treatment and transportation, hospital stays, specialist visits, medication, and medical devices
- Ongoing medical expenses, such as physical therapy, follow-up doctor visits, and rehabilitation
- Lost wages and income, including lost tips, commissions, salary, wages, and employment benefits
- Reduced earning capacity if the victim is unable to return to the same job after the accident
- Costs to repair or replace damaged property
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
An experienced lawyer with Stufano Law may be able to review your case and explain the types of damages your case might involve.
What Do I Have To Prove To Recover Compensation in My Case?
Most personal injury cases are based on the legal concept of negligence. Under this theory, the plaintiff must prove the following legal elements by a preponderance of the evidence:
- The defendant owed the individual a duty of care to behave in a reasonable manner to avoid harming them.
- The duty of care was breached through the defendant’s actions or inactions.
- The breach of duty of care caused the victim’s harm.
- The victim suffered harm that the court can compensate them for.
Proving these legal elements alone can be difficult. Personal injury lawyers can assist accident victims meet their burden of proof.
Is There a Deadline To File My Case?
Personal injury cases are subject to a statute of limitations, which is the deadline by which they must file a lawsuit. If this deadline passes and the victim has not filed a lawsuit or resolved their case through a settlement, the victim loses their right to recover compensation through the courts. A lawyer can review your case and determine the deadline that applies to it.
What Is the Hardest Question To Ask a Lawyer?
While there are no off-limits questions, there are some questions that are harder to ask than others. One of the hardest questions to ask a lawyer, but one that individuals should be prepared to ask, is: Do we need to change course?
If an individual’s case is not proceeding as expected, they may need to ask their attorney about changing directions. This should not be seen as finger-pointing or making any accusations about the lawyer’s abilities or the case they have built. Asking about changing course should be seen as ensuring that both the client and the attorney are on the same page and understanding why a strategy is not working or why they should continue with a strategy that does not seem to be producing rapid results.
Do You Have Questions To Ask a Car Accident Lawyer?
A free case review is an opportunity for a lawyer to get to know you and understand the circumstances of the accident that injured you. This consultation is also an opportunity for you to get to know the lawyer and decide whether they could represent you. A free case review also gives you a chance to make a list of questions to ask a personal injury lawyer and have them answered. You can learn more by calling an experienced New York car accident attorney with Stufano Law at (914) 752-7746.