When consulting with a personal injury attorney, there are five questions you should ask:
1. Does the attorney or law firm have the experience in handling personal injury cases?
2. Does the attorney have experience at trial?
3. Does the attorney have time to handle your case?
4. Who is going to actually handle my case?
5. How much is this going to cost me?
8600 Utica Ave., Suite 200
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
TELEPHONE: (909) 481-0100
Welcome, my name is David Ricks, and I am a personal injury trial lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga and the principal of the Inland Empire Law Group. If you are going to go look for an attorney, there are five questions I think that you should ask.
The first question is, does this attorney or law firm have the experience in handling personal injury cases? You don’t want to hire a family law attorney to handle your personal injury case, and you wouldn’t want to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your criminal case. Make sure that you are looking for a personal attorney who has the experience in the type of case that you have. For example, if you have a medical malpractice case, you are going to want to make sure that you hire an attorney who has experience in medical malpractice claims. If you have an auto accident case, you are going to want to hire an attorney who has experience handling auto accident cases.
Second question, does the attorney have experience at trial? This is important because you don’t want to hire an attorney who has no experience at trail. Why is that? Because sometimes your case may have to go to trial, and sometimes if it doesn’t go to trial the threat of trial is sufficient to get a case to settle. If you have an attorney who is experienced in trial work, the insurance company is going to know and they are going to appreciate your case a little bit better then if you have someone who routinely just settles without the risk of trial.
Number three, do they have time to handle your case? Sometimes in a very busy firm they set aside a case, and they don’t get to it right away. And it is important that your case gets addressed immediately because the information that is necessary to prove your case may be lost over periods of time if your case is not immediately addressed. So make sure that the law firm has the staff necessary to handle your case.
Number four, who is actually going to handle my case? Sometimes law firms receive a case and then what they do is they farm it out to someone else or they refer it out. If you want that attorney to handle your case, make sure that your agreement with him or her is for that attorney or that law firm to handle your case. You don’t want your case going somewhere else and you are thinking it is being handled by a certain attorney.
Lastly of the fives questions I would ask if I was going to see an attorney is how much is this going to cost me? In most personal injury cases, cases are handled on a contingency basis, what does that mean? That means if the attorney recovers something from the other side, then they get a percentage of what is recovered. That seems relatively simple but there are some issues there. Sometimes the attorney might say, hey I have a low contingency fee, but there are other hidden costs that may be applicable there. Sometimes that contingency fee may be relatively high and you may want to question why you would want to pay extra for that particular attorney when you can pay someone of the equal quality and skill for a little bit less. So it is important to shop those things around. The other things involved in cost is what are my expenses going to be, am I going to be charged up front for anything and how are the costs going to be handled. If I loose the case is the attorney going to come after me for the costs. Is the attorney going to spend money on my case and eat up any possible recovery for me using costs. I have seen that happen unfortunately leaving the injured party with very little because of high contingency fees and high costs. Now, here are two questions you do not want to ask. Because there are no answers to the questions. Number one, how long will my case take? Who knows for sure at the very beginning. Because there are too many factors that go into how long your case is going to take. Number two, how much is my case worth? If someone tells your right up front, they are probably guessing or are feeding off your interest in a high number. Because you really can’t tell at the beginning how long it is going to take. There are many factors such as insurance, liability, damages and things of that nature that go into factoring the value of a case. If you are looking for a personal injury attorney, ask those five questions at least to start out with so you know you are getting right person