You will have many questions when you first meet an attorney. The questions that you need to ask that attorney, though, will depend on the case at hand. It may be better for this discussion to keep it very simple and only focus on the most important questions to ask in the majority of cases. Are you asking yourself, “What questions should I ask my attorney when we meet?”
Here are the four most important questions to ask all attorneys are:
1. What are your rates per hour?
It is important to determine the attorney charges per hour and how those fees are calculated. Some attorneys may give you an itemized example of fees, and others will give you a general response on this one. For example, if the attorney charges a flat fee per hour, this may include the telephone calls to you. Therefore, if the attorney is making calls to the opposing counsel, to the fact-finding organizations to obtain documents for the case for evidence of your claim, and also calls you on the phone to give you an update, then the call to you is also going to be billed. These are the “billable hours” that an attorney will charge. These are fees, and they need to be discussed beforehand so that you will not be surprised by the cost of the attorney working for you later on down the line.
2. Do you use a “no fee if no recovery” scale of payment?
If an attorney uses a contingent fee scale of payment, the attorney will not be paid unless there is a recovery gained for the losses you suffered. Usually, the attorney fees on the recovery of compensation will be around 33.33% or higher on the full amount of money recovered from the attorney’s effort working on the case. And it is worth it! This is a specialized skill that your attorney has. You would not be able to gain this amount of money on the recovery of compensation on your own. There may also be expenses that the attorney has to pay out of pocket to gather information for the case. This is information that is necessary to help towards the winning of the case for you, and could include:
Expert witness fees and expenses to travel for trial
Reconstruction of accident expert fees
Court reporter fees
Money paid for physician reports
Court filing fees
When you decide that you want to sign on with a particular attorney, these fees may be spelled out in the contract you sign to hire the attorney. Read the small print, as you will be bound by this contract, and it will be upheld in a court of law later if it comes to that. Make sure that you understand all of the contract’s provisions with the attorney, how the fees and expenses will be managed, and more before you sign on the dotted line yourself.
3. Do you handle cases like this on a regular basis?
Yes, you have the right to ask the attorney that you are considering hiring if it is their first case like the one you have or if this is a specialty that has been managed by this law office for over 20 years. You see, it makes a difference. If you are working with an attorney who is new to the practice of law, you need not discount this person if the attorney is just getting started. One litmus test as to whether an attorney will be good to great in a new practice area is how enthusiastic the attorney is to take your case and learn everything that there is to know about this new area of law.
For example, an attorney interested in taking up a new area of law, such as a hit and run accident, this person may be very excited to start learning about it. If this attorney wants to take your case to right a wrong that you have suffered in the past, understands your strong emotions behind the case and agrees that your voice needs to be heard, and also wants to take the extra time to enthusiastically and eagerly win the case for you – this could be a great person to hire for your new attorney. This is a person who is on your side, is ready to fight for you, and wants to get you the money that you deserve. Weigh your options when talking to an attorney who has a new practice area, has been in the business for a long time, or has a different take on how to get you to the finish line. An experienced attorney on your side is the best recipe for getting you to the recovery that you deserve for your losses.
4. Do you try cases like this on a regular basis?
You are fully within your rights to ask an attorney if the person has tried cases like your case on a regular basis. Now, this is where the conversation gets interesting. If your case never goes to trial, you still want an attorney who is ready and prepared to take your case to trial anyway! If your case can be negotiated easily, that is a great solution. But in the alternative, if your case moves towards being negotiated to a winning conclusion for you, and at the last minute needs to go to trial to get you a win for the recovery that you deserve, it is going to be late in the case to try to find a new attorney to take over at that late stage.
Your attorney needs to have tried cases in court just like yours, and in the alternative, if your case is negotiated well and is resolved before needing to go to trial, so much the better. At this point, if you are dealing with an attorney who has never once gone to trial, has no experience with the local court system or court division in your area, then you may want to think again about using this attorney. Unless the attorney is affiliated or in an office or professional legal practice where there are other attorneys on staff who could help out were you to go to trial, you may want to find another more experienced attorney to help you in this case.
Now that you know some of the questions you should ask an attorney upon meeting them. If you need an attorney right now, we are here for you and will listen to your concerns when you come to us to discuss your case. We understand all areas of law and have a highly qualified team of injury and accident attorneys in our office. We are ready to take on your case and negotiate it with the opposing side to your benefit and advantage. We take on cases with an attitude of serving you and winning the money you deserve. Call us today at the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm. We are here for you and will discuss your case with you right now.