According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020 saw approximately 131 million emergency room visits for serious personal injuries resulting from someone else’s negligence, including falls, car accidents, dog bites, medical malpractice, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, and more. Understanding what questions to ask a personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal rights and ensure that you have someone to advocate on your behalf. Consider contacting the experienced personal injury attorneys at Steelman Gaunt Crowley to learn more about your legal rights and get your questions answered by calling (573) 341-8336.
What Types of Cases Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Handle?
One of the first questions to ask a personal injury attorney is specifically what types of cases they handle. Not every attorney is well-versed in every area of law. It is common for lawyers to land on “niche” practice areas, while others may have a very general focus. Make sure to visit with a personal injury lawyer to better understand their experience, and if they have handled cases similar to yours in the past. While past results never guarantee future outcomes, it is important to consider whether your personal injury attorney has worked with cases similar to yours.
How Much Does a Lawyer Charge to Handle a Personal Injury Case?
As explained by the American Bar Association, before a client signs on to hire any attorney, it is imperative that they clearly understand how the lawyer will charge for their services (e.g., hourly fees, flat fees, and/or contingency fees). With an hourly structure, the client typically pays a deposit (the retainer) upfront, and the attorney gradually earns the funds as they work on the case. When the retainer runs out, they may ask the client to refill it or pay the hourly fees earned as the case progresses. Flat fees are a comprehensive fee that is charged for a specific type of legal work or project, often paid in advance.
For those personal injury lawyers that select to use contingency fees, no upfront legal fees will be charged, but rather a lawyer receives a set percentage of the client’s compensation – if and when the attorney wins the case on their behalf. The contingency fee structure is standard for personal injury cases because it ensures that injury victims can access legal services and that the attorney’s interests are aligned with the client. It is still important to ask a personal injury attorney whether or not there will be any additional expenses that may occur in the course of handling your case.
How Often Does the Attorney Communicate Updates to Clients?
During a personal injury claim, victims must handle the day-to-day stressors of living, the possibility that they are unable to return to work to provide for their family, and the physical and mental challenges posed by their injury. To help give them peace of mind, clients should have clear expectations regarding how often they may receive updates about their personal injury case from their attorney.
When meeting with an attorney for an initial consultation, ask the personal injury lawyer how and when they will send updates regarding your case. If the law firm typically sends updates via text message or letter, the client should understand and agree to this at the beginning of the representation.
Does the Personal Injury Lawyer Think You Have a Strong Case?
During an initial consultation with a personal injury attorney, one of the most important questions to ask is if they believe you have a strong case against the negligent party. A potential client should provide the attorney with sufficient background information so the personal injury lawyer can answer as comprehensively and accurately as possible. Consider contacting the compassionate Missouri personal injury lawyers at Steelman Gaunt Crowley to schedule a consultation and learn if you have a strong personal injury case.
Who Will Be the Primary Legal Contact During the Case?
Attorneys often have paralegals, legal assistants, and receptionists who support them by performing specific tasks. Many law firms have the attorney’s paralegal or assistant email or call clients to deliver routine updates. In contrast, a personal injury attorney should visit with their client directly to discuss substantive matters such as case strategy or legal options.
Some clients may prefer to communicate directly with their attorney as much as possible during a personal injury case, while others do not. If you have a preference, it is advisable to ask a personal injury lawyer during the initial consultation how they communicate with their clients.
Has the Personal Injury Lawyer Argued Cases at Trial Before?
In a perfect world, insurance companies would pay out what the claim is worth under the law to a victim with minimal resistance. Unfortunately, many insurance companies and at-fault parties refuse to pay a fair value for an injury victim’s claim, and often use manipulative tactics. In these cases, when a fair settlement cannot be reached, a personal injury victim may need to go to trial to secure appropriate compensation for their injuries, as well as justice. Personal injury victims should ensure their attorney has trial experience and the tools necessary to argue their case effectively before the court.
How Long Has the Personal Injury Lawyer Been Practicing Law?
Another question to ask a personal injury attorney is how long they have been practicing law. Ask about their background, such as any awards they have received or prior experience at other law firms. The Missouri personal injury attorneys at Steelman Gaunt Crowley now have more than 50 years of experience. Our dedicated attorneys are all licensed to practice throughout Missouri and are available to travel, as needed, to handle cases in the Kansas City, St. Louis, and southern areas of the state, as well as central Missouri.
Contact the Experienced Missouri Personal Injury Attorneys at Steelman Gaunt Crowley To Get Your Questions Answered
For many reasons, suffering injuries and losses after an accident resulting from negligence can be challenging for individuals and families. Hiring a personal injury lawyer to ensure your legal and financial rights can feel overwhelming, and understanding what questions to ask a personal injury lawyer during the consultation can help you choose the right lawyer for you. If you or your loved one suffered an injury in an accident, consider meeting with our experienced Missouri personal injury attorneys at Steelman Gaunt Crowley by calling (573) 341-8336 to schedule a consultation.