QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR AUTO ACCIDENT LAWYER
SERVING HAMILTON, BRANTFORD, BURLINGTON, STONEY CREEK, NIAGARA FALLS AND NEARBY AREAS OF ONTARIO
When choosing an auto accident lawyer, it’s important to look for the most qualified lawyer available for your case. Selecting the right lawyer often means asking some hard questions to get the answers that will help you make the right decision.
During your initial consultation, do not be surprised if the lawyer starts out asking most of the questions. The lawyer is trying to decide if the firm wants to take the case. After that, it’s your turn to ask the questions, and if you want to find the right lawyer, you shouldn’t be shy.
COVER YOUR BASES
During the initial consultation, it’s important to make sure you address all the important areas. Head in with a list of questions to make sure you don’t forget any. You should cover:
- A lawyer’s legal background and experience
- Legal philosophy of a lawyer and the firm
- Case management practices
- A legal assessment of your case
- Fees and expenses
By making sure you address all these areas, you will have a good basis for comparing lawyers and making the right decision. Remember that when you ask questions, a lawyer’s tone in answering is as important as the answers themselves. Make sure you feel completely comfortable with the auto accident lawyer you select.
BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE
You want to be sure that your lawyer has the education and experience to handle your case. You can start using material gained from reading a lawyer’s website, but you want to make sure you cover the following issues:
- Legal education: When did you graduate? Do you feel your legal education prepared you for handling auto accident cases? What additional training have you had related to auto accident cases?
- Experience with auto accident cases: How many auto accident cases have you handled? How many of these have you taken to trial? How many have you handled similar to mine? Can you give examples of cases that you consider successful?
Not all lawyers handle cases the same way, even if they have similar education. You want to learn how your lawyer will approach your case.
- Emphasis: Do you handle other types of cases besides auto accident and personal injury cases? If so, what percentage of your total cases is made up of auto accidents?
- Approach: What do you think is the best way to handle auto accident cases? When is it better to settle or go to trial? What makes for a successful resolution for a case?
CASE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
Case management is the administrative handling of your case by the lawyer or law firm. Asking these questions brings other aspects of a law firm’s philosophy to light. Make sure you ask about:
- Representation: Will you be the actual lawyer handling my case? Will you personally appear with me for negotiations and in court? How much assistance will you receive from other lawyers and paralegals?
- Contact: How often will you contact me about my case? What regular progress reports can I expect? How detailed will they be? If I want to contact you, will I be able to?
ASSESSMENT OF YOUR CASE
You want your lawyer to give you an honest assessment about the prospects in your case. After all, they are the expert, and can give you insight into what outcome to expect. Make sure to ask about:
- Odds of success: Is my case likely to succeed? Can we count on a favourable settlement, or will we need to go to trial to get fair compensation?
- Factors affecting success: What parts of the case are in our favour? Which ones work against us? What things should I do or avoid doing to improve our odds?
- Damages: What damages can we seek in this case? Which ones are we likely to get?
- Timeframe: How long will it be before this case is resolved? Can arbitration or mediation help me get a successful resolution sooner? Should we settle for sooner earlier or try for greater compensation later?
FEES AND EXPENSES
Most lawyers take personal injury lawsuits like car accident cases on a contingency basis. This means they only take their fees if they win your case, but this does not mean you won’t have anything to pay if you don’t win your case. Make sure you ask:
- Fees: Do you work on an hourly rate or contingency basis? Will the fees be the same even if we get a smaller than expected settlement or verdict?
- Expenses: Will I have to pay expenses in this case? What do you estimate the expenses to be in my case? Can we split expenses if the case fails? When will I have to pay for expenses? Is financing available for expenses?
When you ask these questions, you will have a good basis for comparing lawyers. You will understand exactly what to expect from lawyers once you agree to work with them in your auto accident case.
To learn more about how our lawyers will handle your case in Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford, Niagara Falls, or St. Catharines, please contact Findlay Personal Injury Lawyers online or by phone at 905-522-9799 for a free case evaluation.