5 Questions to Ask an Attorney During a Free Consultation
If you are seeking legal representation for a personal injury case—such as a car accident, slip-and-fall, or medical malpractice claim—consider scheduling a free consultation with potential attorneys before hiring one. A free consultation provides the perfect opportunity for you to ask essential questions and explain the basics of your case.
This meeting gives you insight into the attorney’s skills and experience and helps you determine if they meet your needs. Ask the following five questions to your potential attorney to make the most of your free consultation and decide if you want to work with them on your case.
Most personal injury law firms in the United States work on a contingency fee basis rather than an hourly or retainer fee schedule. A contingency fee arrangement means the law firm does not receive payment unless they win your case and you get a settlement for your claim.
A typical contingency fee is a percentage of the amount recovered for your case. Although Missouri law doesn’t impose a maximum rate, according to the Missouri Supreme Court (Rule 4-1.5(c)), the contingency fee agreement must be agreed upon in writing and signed by both parties. The average contingency fees can vary between 33% to 40% of the compensation.
When speaking with the attorney, ask about their contingency percentage and all details regarding additional costs and billing that you may owe upon the completion of your case.
Unless your attorney works solo, your case will most likely involve additional staff, such as paralegals or case managers, who communicate with you about the progress of your case.
Ask your attorney about the people on their team they delegate any responsibilities to, whether you can contact them, and how often you should expect them to contact you. Tell your potential attorney how often you expect updates and what you like to know about the progress of your case.
Also, ask about their communication methods, such as email, phone, or text. Ensure that your attorney uses your preferred communication type at a frequency that suits you.
Most personal injury claims are negotiated and settled out of court with the insurance company. Although a settlement is the fastest way to handle a personal injury case, it isn’t always the best solution for the victims.
Sometimes, the insurance company simply doesn’t offer a fair amount of money to compensate their victims. Your attorney should tell you how often their cases go to trial and if your case has a chance of going to court. A committed law firm shouldn’t hesitate to represent you in court and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Law firms cannot guarantee results or specific outcomes for your case based on similar cases they’ve handled. Every personal injury case is unique, and many factors can affect your claim’s outcome, such as how much time has passed since the injury, the severity of your injuries, and your evidence.
However, your attorney can provide you with information regarding the firm’s experience with your type of case alongside their track record of successful cases. Choosing an attorney with a successful track record may increase your chances of winning and receiving the compensation you deserve.
When you meet with a potential attorney, ask them if they can put you in touch with former clients for references. They should be able to connect you with clients they’ve served in similar cases. If you come to an attorney with an auto accident case, they can connect you with past clients for whom they’ve won auto injury settlements.
You can also browse the lawyer’s website and other social media accounts for testimonials and reviews. Many firms place former client testimonials on their website to give prospective clients an idea of what it’s like to work with them.
You might also try looking into the firm’s Google reviews to gain insight into its reputation. It is helpful to read reviews online to find out how past clients felt about working with this attorney and how well the firm handled its past clients to judge whether their lawyer is right for you.
If you’re looking for a team of St. Louis personal injury lawyers to handle your personal injury case, contact Cofman Townsley today. Our legal team has extensive experience handling numerous personal injury and wrongful death cases, from auto accidents to medical malpractice.
Visit our website and fill out our online contact form or chat with us through our instant messaging system to schedule your free consultation. We’re happy to answer your questions and help you decide if our law firm is the right fit for your situation.