Most people are fortunate enough to go through life without hiring a lawyer. But sometimes, you have no choice. After you get injured in a car accident or other preventable incident involving someone else’s negligence, you should discuss your situation with a personal injury attorney.
Fortunately, most injury lawyers provide free consultations to new clients. These consultations allow you to learn about your legal options and discuss how the lawyer can help with your situation.
How Do Free Consultations Work?
Lawyers conduct free consultations without any obligation to hire them. You could — and, in many cases, should — speak to a few different lawyers about your case. For example, if a lawyer turns you down, you should speak to another lawyer about whether they can figure out how to assemble your case.
Most lawyers will offer to conduct a free consultation by phone or even at your home. These types of consultations allow accident victims with mobility issues to talk to a lawyer about their cases.
During your consultation, you will usually start by explaining what happened to you. You will describe your accident and the injuries you suffered. The lawyer may ask you some questions about who was involved and who saw you get injured.
You should give the lawyer a full and honest account of what occurred. Texas’s ethical rules require the lawyer to maintain the confidentiality of anything you discuss. And the lawyer can only assess your case if you provide all the facts.
6 Questions to Ask During a Free Consultation With a Fort Worth Personal Injury Attorney
Your goals during the free consultation will be to:
- Learn about your case
- Interview the lawyer so you know whether you want to hire them
To accomplish these goals, you need to ask the lawyer questions about your case and how they would handle it.
When you schedule your consultation, you should ask how much time you have. You should write down a few key questions so you can use your limited time efficiently.
Some of the questions you should consider asking include:
1. How Much Do You Charge?
You can avoid disputes with your lawyer over fees by discussing all of the lawyer’s charges during the consultation. Most injury lawyers charge a contingency fee. This type of fee is also called an “outcome-based fee” because the amount you pay depends on the outcome the lawyer obtains.
These fees are typically quoted as a percentage of the compensation you receive. Since you pay at the end of the case, you will not need to pay any upfront fees. And the lawyer will also advance the money needed to pay litigation expenses. You will pay the legal fees and reimburse the lawyer for litigation expenses at the end of the case.
2. Who Will Give Me Case Updates?
Many clients complain about a lack of communication with their lawyers. And lawyers have an obligation to keep clients reasonably informed about the status of their cases.
But lawyers do not always have time to respond immediately to emails and phone calls. You should find out who in the lawyer’s office can provide case updates when the lawyer is unavailable.
3. Do I Have Any Impending Deadlines?
Texas has a statute of limitations that determines how long you have to file a lawsuit. Accident victims must file most personal injury lawsuits within two years of their accidents. Similarly, survivors of deceased accident victims must file wrongful death lawsuits within two years of their loved one’s death.
Make sure you ask the lawyer about any impending deadlines. If your deadline has already passed, ask the lawyer if you fall into any of the exceptions to the statute of limitations that allow you to file after the statute expires.
4. What Kind of Experience Do You Have?
Ask the lawyer about any relevant experience they have with cases like yours. Remember that lawyers with decades of experience with one type of case might not have experience with other types of cases. For example, a lawyer who focuses on product liability class action lawsuits might not have any experience with car crashes.
This difference in experience can affect your case. An experienced lawyer knows how to deal with insurers in their field. They also know expert witnesses for the issues you will likely face in your case.
5. What Outcomes Can I Expect?
Most lawyers will not predict exactly how much you will receive in your claim. But they will often give you a range of outcomes you can expect, along with an opinion about the likelihood of those outcomes. These ranges will help you set your expectations.
You should also listen to the lawyer’s reasoning. The primary role of a lawyer is to communicate. They must explain your claim to the insurer. They must negotiate with a claims adjuster. And if they cannot settle your case, they must persuade a jury to award damages to you.
6. How Can I Help With My Case?
The attorney-client relationship involves both you and the lawyer. Most lawyers will have some ways you can assist with your case.
The lawyer will probably ask you to limit your communication about the case, including refraining from posting about the accident or your injuries on social media. The lawyer may need your assistance collecting medical records by signing a HIPAA release. And you may need to gather documents to prove how much pay you lost.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney in Fort Worth, TX
You should not feel pressured to hire a lawyer immediately after the consultation. Unless you have urgent deadlines in your case, you should take time to think about your decision and choose a lawyer who fits your needs.
Once you choose a lawyer, you will need to sign some documents. In Texas, contingency fee agreements must be written. You should review the fee agreement and ask any questions you have about it. If you are satisfied with the terms, you can sign the fee agreement and retain the lawyer.
You face a significant decision when you choose a lawyer for your case. Contact Anderson Injury Lawyers for a free consultation at (817) 294-1900 to discuss how we can help you pursue compensation for the injuries you suffered.