Preparation can be the key when it comes to meeting with a personal injury attorney for an initial consultation. Keep in mind that you are interviewing them when it comes to their qualifications, background and whether you feel the attorney and his or her firm can properly handle your case.
It can help to write questions down in advance and bring them with you to your free initial consultation. We have included some of the most important questions you should ask when ‘interviewing’ your attorney.
What Is Your Main Practice Area?
Like doctors, attorneys will often primarily focus in a certain area of law. General practitioners do exist, and many of them can be quite qualified. However, it helps a great deal if the firm specializes in the area of personal injury in Florida. Ask the attorney how much of his or her practice is dedicated to this specific area of the law. How many cases has the attorney handled? If this area of the law is one of specific focus for the attorney, does he or she regularly attend training to remain updated on current law? All of this information is helpful to know since you will want someone who is experienced and knowledgeable handling your case.
In addition, ask the attorney if he or she has handled similar cases to your specific case. While no one case is the same, it helps if he or she has experience in these types of cases. Ask the attorney how these cases turned out, whether they settled in the client’s favor or went to trial.
How Much Trial Experience Do You Have?
Not all cases go to trial. Most are settled well in advance with the insurance company. However, depending on the case and the payout that is expected, many cases do, indeed, go to court. Ask the attorney whether your case is one he or she anticipates going to trial. If the attorney can handle trial well and has litigation experience, this can be a major asset when choosing to retain that firm.
Will Other Attorneys Be Working on This Case?
Many times, when you hire an attorney you are actually hiring the firm. The attorney you initially meet with may be the lead attorney on the case, but he or she may also have a handful of associates or other attorneys assisting in the case preparation and work. A legal team is composed of not just the attorneys, but also the legal staff, as well. Paralegals and legal secretaries will be handling much of the major ‘grunt work’ in preparing your case, so it can help to know who you will be working with.
Who Is My Main Point of Contact and How Do I Reach This Person?
It can also help to know which person in the office will be your main point of contact. It could be the attorney’s paralegal, or it could be the attorney himself or herself. Ask how that person prefers to be contacted, whether it be by email or phone. Also, ask how long it will take the office to respond to a message or question you may have.
How Long Will This Case Take?
It can be nearly impossible for an attorney to give a definite answer on this, but if he or she regularly handles these types of cases, the attorney may be able to give the client an educated estimate of how long it will take based on previous cases, and whether the case will be settled or go to trial. Many factors can delay the case coming to closure so ask what the attorney anticipates these possible factors being, as well.
How Do Attorney’s Fees Work?
Most personal injury attorneys will be paid on a contingency fee basis meaning they will not charge the client for the services and will not take payment until either a settlement or a positive trial outcome is received. The client should not assume that is the case, however, so ask about costs upfront. If the attorney does charge an hourly rate at all, ask when he or she would charge the rate and how much it would be. Some attorneys do ask the clients pay certain fees, such as filing fees or deposition costs, so ask about any fixed or flat fees that may come up in the case.
Has the Attorney Ever Been Disciplined?
This information can normally be found through Internet research or by contacting the Florida Bar Association. Ask the attorney if he or she has ever been in trouble with any legal or ethics committees in the past. If he or she has, it is nice if the attorney is upfront with what happened. Beware of an attorney who will deny any ethical investigations that are later discovered by your research.
How Are Attorney/Client Disagreements Handled?
Periodically, the attorney and client may disagree. When these issues do come up, how does the attorney handle them? At what point does the relationship terminate if an agreement cannot be reached and what happens if that does happen? No one wants to think of that possibility but it can help to know how these situations are handled.
FREE CONSULTATION WITH A MIAMI AUTO ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Florida, it is very important to consult with an experienced Miami auto accident attorney immediately. Florida auto accident victims have only 14 days to seek initial medical attention to receive insurance benefits after an accident, so it is important you are seen by a doctor as soon as possible following the accident. Spencer Aronfeld is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer, and he and the lawyers at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers understand Florida’s complex personal injury laws and since 1991 we have fought hard to protect the legal rights of the injured and their families- and hold auto insurers like State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO and others accountable for the pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and other damages suffered by our clients. Contact us today and speak with an experienced Miami auto accident attorney toll free 1-866-597-4529, local 305-441-0440, or by email. We offer a free initial consultation at your home, office, hotel or hospital. Call us today, we are ready to help.