10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
10 Questions to Ask Your Prospective Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, been a victim of medical malpractice, or suffered injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your pain and suffering, income loss and medical expenses incurred as a result of your injuries through a personal injury lawsuit.
Being injured can cause enough disruption to you and your family — if you’re looking for the justice you deserve, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to talk through your options. Tackling the process of recovering compensation for the pain caused by your injuries, your lost income and all of the medical expenses you may have as a result of being seriously injured can be a daunting task. Your lawyer will be able to guide you through the process of dealing with the insurance company, filing a suit, offer a timeline for the legal process, and deal with the defendant’s lawyers, and more.
So if you’re ready to contact a lawyer, where do you start? What questions should you ask? What traits should you be looking for? What questions should you ask?
Here are the top 10 questions you should ask in any meeting with a prospective personal injury lawyer.
1. Have you handled an injury case like mine before? This may seem like an obvious question. But you need to remember that any lawyer can pay for a commercial or advertisement and say they do “personal injury”. But the laws about personal injury claims in Nova Scotia changes frequently. New laws are being published and new cases from the courts are reported every day. Sometimes the medicine involved in proving a personal injury claim and it’s consequences can be complex. Personal injury cases can run the gamut. Perhaps you’ve slipped and fell, maybe you’re suffering with whiplash after a car accident, or perhaps you’re learning to deal with the effects of a brain injury. It’s best to work with a lawyer who has handled a case similar to yours. You’ll want someone who has handled claims with the same type of injury you have suffered on your side.
2. Have you published books, articles or presentations about personal injury claims? One of the most important things to look for is whether the lawyer has published books, articles or consumer guides in their area of expertise. Remember the first six letters of “Authority” is “Author”. If you are looking for someone who is an authority in their field, the best way is to read the books, articles and lectures they have published.
3. Have you handled personal injury cases in my location? There is an old saying in real estate: “Location, location, location.” The same saying applies to personal injury claims. Location matters. Understanding the specific laws of the province, or city can prove to be a benefit when you’re going through this process. Lawyers familiar with the area in which you were injured have a better chance of successfully presenting your case.
4. What is your experience in the personal injury field? Many years of experience in the field of personal injury can be a benefit to you and your family. Simply put, the more experience a lawyer has the more likely it is that the lawyer will have handled cases similar to yours. There are law firms that take as many cases as they can in the hope that they can get a quick settlement. We are very selective about the cases we take on. We only take cases that we truly believe have merit and require our services. It’s one thing to take on many personal injury cases. It’s another thing entirely to win them.
5. Have you or your firm received professional awards or commendations for your personal injury work? There are professional associations in the legal field in Canada that recognize excellence and public service. If the lawyer you’re speaking with has received recognition from their peers by being award the title of Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.) or has been selected for The Best Lawyers in Canada or Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, that’s a good sign.
6. Will you be the lawyer that handles my case? In some firms, lawyers will bring on clients but then pass off the case to a (non-lawyer paralegal or a junior attorney. There could be many reasons for this, including wanting to give a young lawyer more experience or a lack of time given their caseload. If you have chosen a specific lawyer within a firm to speak with, don’t hesitate to ask this question at your first consultation.
7. Do you always represent plaintiffs? In the world of personal injury cases, there is a plaintiff (the injured person) and a defendant (the person that caused the injury). If your lawyer works with insurance companies that represent defendants, you may want to choose a different lawyer or firm. Think about it: will the lawyer be willing to play hardball with the defendant’s insurer or negotiate in your best interests if they may end up representing the insurance company on another case next week? At McKiggan Hebert Lawyers we represent plaintiff’s, the injured victims, 100% of the time.
8. How do you handle payment and fees? Some lawyers operate on a “no fee if we don’t win the case for you” structure. Others do an up-front cost. Some work on reimbursement fees. Whatever the structure, be sure you know what it is and that you’re comfortable with it before signing on with the lawyer. At McKiggan Hebert Lawyers we offer our clients an innovative “Client Choice Fee Program”. Weareso confident in the information and services we provide to our clients that we offer a written 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. There is no law firm anywhere in Atlantic Canada (or the rest of Canada for that matter) that we are aware of that offers a similar guarantee in writing!
9. Do you have references or testimonials? Like any other job, lawyers get work from referrals or word of mouth from satisfied clients. At McKiggan Hebert Lawyers most our cases come from other lawyers or past clients. Don’t be afraid to ask the lawyer for references of their work.
10. Why do you do this work? Sometimes a lawyer plays an emotional support role. These cases can take a winding route to resolution, and they can have many twists and turns along the way. It’s OK to want to work with someone you like. Asking why they do what they do is a quick way to gauge that.
If you’re ready to find a personal injury lawyer, contact McKiggan Hebert Lawyers for your free consultation. Our team consists of highly experienced personal injury lawyers in Halifax, Nova Scotia who are ready to advocate for you today.