Whether you were injured in a car accident, suffered from medical malpractice, or were bitten by a stranger’s dog, a personal injury lawyer can mean the difference between receiving no settlement or being fully compensated for your injuries. As such, it’s important to choose a passionate and expert law firm that will work tirelessly to help you get justice for your injuries.
Your relationship with the attorney begins during the very first consultation, so it’s important to take the greatest advantage of these initial meetings by asking the right questions. Here’s a list of the most important things you need to know from your personal injury lawyer in Chicago.
“What can you handle for me?”
After an accident, you may be incredibly overwhelmed by communications from insurance agents, medical providers, and even professionals working for the defendant. This is the very last thing you need while recovering from a serious injury, but you might be surprised to know that, with permission, your attorney can manage many of these concerns on your behalf. Be sure to ask your lawyer what kinds of communications they can manage for you, as well as how you can give them clearance to discuss these matters with other parties.
“How many cases have you negotiated similar to mine?”
It’s important that you select a lawyer with the necessary experience to argue your case, which means you want a law firm specializing in personal injury. However, not every law firm has worked on cases similar to yours, so be sure to ask for information on previous personal injury cases like yours. For example, while any personal injury lawyer might be able to argue a medical malpractice case, you want to choose a lawyer with deep experience in this particular facet of personal injury law.
Some of this information may be available on their website so that you can take a look before even consulting with the lawyer, but if it’s not, don’t despair: when you visit for your consultation, ask them for information on previous cases that they might not have listed online. A great law firm will be happy to share their successes in hopes of reassuring you that they’re qualified for the job.
“What resources do you have to investigate?”
Great law firms have many resources at their disposal, including their own investigators, contracts with accident reconstruction agencies, and numerous paralegals who document and investigate cases. Beyond just the lawyer with whom you’ll be working, ask who else works with them and what their credentials are as well.
They may also have contacts in other fields, such as doctors and physical therapists, who they can recommend to you as you continue the recovery process. Excellent law firms have a wealth of resources and connections that can all be harnessed to get you justice for your accident or illness.
“What is your best estimate of the timeline?”
While every personal injury case is a little different, a good lawyer will be able to take a look at your case and compare it to previous cases they’ve worked to determine how long you might be waiting to receive your settlement. Based on the complexity of the situation and the severity of your injuries, the case may be handled in weeks, or it may take months or even years. Having an awareness of how long it will take can temper your expectations and help you plan out your life as you work toward getting justice.
“How will you be compensated?”
It can be uncomfortable to talk about money, but it’s important to discuss payment up front so that you’re not surprised when you receive a bill for legal services. Every law firm handles this differently, so ask about their process – as well as a basic estimate of what it might cost to retain their services. This can also differ depending on the complexity of your case, which is why understanding how long it might take to receive a judgment will help you and your lawyer work out a plan that’s right for you and your situation.
“What information do I need to provide you?”
After you’ve decided that this law firm is a good fit for your case, it’s time to begin investigating and documenting the evidence. Some information is mostly universal to a personal injury case – medical reports, insurance information, and witness statements – but some may be more specific to what kind of injury you’ve suffered. Your attorney may wish for you to get a second opinion on your injuries from a doctor they recommend, or they may need photographs from the time of the injury. Ask them to provide you with a full list of what they need from you so that you can gather all the evidence necessary to prove your case.
After an injury, being proactive and seeking legal help can mean the difference between drowning in bills and having the resources to recover. By making the most of your consultations with personal injury lawyers, you can kick start the legal process – and get back to focusing on your own recovery. Asking the right questions can give you peace of mind that your personal injury case is in excellent hands, and that assurance is invaluable when you’re in such a vulnerable state after an injury.