If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury as a result of the negligence of another individual or entity, you need to know what you can do to recover compensation for your losses. The reality is that securing compensation in these situations is challenging without assistance from a skilled legal advisor. Here, we want to discuss the questions that you need to ask prospective personal injury lawyers in Charleston before you move forward with a specific attorney on your case.
How Long Have You Been Practicing?
We encourage you to ask your attorney how long they have been practicing law, though you can likely find this information online. You want to have an attorney by your side who has extensive experience handling complex injury claims. Yes, a law office may have individuals with varying degrees of experience, and that is okay. But you need to know that there is somebody handling your case that has years of experience.
Do You Handle Only Personal Injury Law?
If you have not had to deal with attorneys often, then you may not know that there are various types of practices. You need to make sure that you have an attorney who has experience handling specifically personal injury law in Charleston and throughout West Virginia. Working with a person who focuses mostly on estate law or family law may not be in your best interest. Find an attorney who focuses exclusively on personal injury cases.
Will an Attorney Handle My Claim?
You need to ask if an attorney will be handling your case, specifically the attorney you are talking to. Often, big law firms will use an attorney to get individuals in the door and then hand the case over to a legal assistant or paralegal. You need to make sure that you will have an attorney working on your case and that you have access to this attorney while the claim is ongoing.
What Are Your Rates?
Make sure that you know the attorney’s rates before you walk out the door. You need to know how much an attorney will cost you overall. Typically, we will find that a Charleston personal injury lawyer will take these cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you would not owe any upfront or out-of-pocket cost related to your case, and you would only pay legal fees after your attorney successfully recovers the compensation you need through a settlement or jury verdict. Under a contingency fee arrangement, you will not pay any legal fees if your attorney does not win the case.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive?
You can ask the attorney how much compensation they think you will receive. However, please understand that there is no way for an attorney to know how much compensation you will get for sure, but they may have a ballpark answer that they can give you. This estimate can give you peace of mind as you prepare for the often long-term journey of a personal injury claim.
How Long Will My Case Last?
Ask your attorney how long they think your case will last. An experienced personal injury lawyer in Charleston will have a good idea about whether your case will settle quickly or need to go to the civil court system, which could significantly extend the length of time it takes your case to be finalized.
Will You Take the Case to Trial?
Finally, you need to ask your attorney whether or not they are willing to take your case to trial. If the insurance carrier or at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement, you need an attorney willing to prepare for the civil court trial process to ensure that you are treated fairly. Some attorneys look for quick settlements and are not willing to take the time and expense to go to trial.