Parvey & Frankel understand it takes time to seek out an attorney for your personal injury case. We want to make it a little easier for you to choose the right one by giving you a little insight into the best questions to ask before you make the decision.
The best time to evaluate attorneys is during the initial office consultation, where you can ask questions about your case and get a feel for how he or she explains and delivers answers. Because you are the client, and the one who will be paying the attorney’s fees, you have every right to eliminate that attorney as an option and move along if he or she isn’t providing you with the answers you need. Here are some reasonable questions you should ask:
- Are you an attorney that’s board certified in personal injury litigation?
- To become board certified, attorneys have to pass an extensive state bar exam to qualify him or her as an expert in personal injury trial law; this certification does not reflect an attorney’s negotiation success.
- How often do you go to trial?
- An attorney may not be able to give you an exact answer to this question, but insurance companies record which attorneys go to trial and which settle.
- Ones that don’t go to trail most likely settle cases for less than they are actually worth.
- Ones that take claims to trial frequently, usually pose a bigger threat to insurance companies because they get higher settlement offers.
- What is your caseload like right now?
- An attorney with a full caseload can’t afford the time it takes to go to trial, no matter if it’s a weeklong trial.
- Most of the time, reputable attorneys will refuse a case with uncertain liability.
- Less reputable attorneys may take claims because they know they can get insurance companies to give them a low-ball offer, so they have to maintain taking in new clients.
- If you accept my claim but can’t come to a settlement, will you take it to trial?
- Disregard this if an attorney rejects your case, but if he or she accepts it, you have a right to know that he or she will fight for your case if the insurance company refuses to settle.
- Be wary of attorneys who can’t give you a straight answer; many across the country accept cases just to get clients in the door.
- Will I be informed every time an offer is put on the table?
- You have the right to know all offers your attorney receives, and it is his or her duty to relay this information onto you. Make sure your attorney will not settle your case without your consent and approval of the settlement.
- How long will my case take?
- Even though you won’t be able to get an exact date from your attorney, he or she can give you an idea of how long it may take for your case to be settled or go to trial; since he’s worked with cases like yours, he’ll be able to give you a rough estimate.
And remember, it’s always good to ask for clarification if you don’t understand an attorney’s answers or advice. Pick the best, and fight to defend your right to fair compensation.