Selecting a personal injury attorney is one of the critical decisions of your case. So, it is in your best interest to do some sleuthing and ask the right questions and ensure you hire a reliable attorney. You may have noticed that the legal playing field is quite overcrowded. With so many lawyers available, it can be challenging to know the most reliable lawyer to hire. Here are the most important questions to ask and ensure you hire the right Portland personal injury attorney to handle your case.
1. What’s your experience in handling personal injury cases?
Before you ask this question, keep in mind that ‘personal injury’ is a big umbrella that covers a broad range of cases. These include car accidents, defamation, medical practice, slip & fall accidents, animal bites, assault, product liability, battery, and more. Most of these categories are further subdivided. For example, medical malpractice covers issues such as traumatic brain injuries, birth injuries, misdiagnosis, and surgical errors.
Most lawyers handle multiple categories under personal injury law. So, focus on finding out if the lawyer has experience in handling the specific type of case you’re facing. Experience refers to familiarity with the common legal issues and connections with experts, such as investigators who can help your case.
2. Who will handle my case?
Most lawyers don’t handle every aspect of their clients’ cases. They have paralegals or legal secretaries who help in the preparation of legal paperwork. If you choose to work with a senior lawyer, there is a good chance they have a junior associate to handle much of the legal work as your lawyer handles other complicated legal matters and overseeing the junior’s progress.
If your lawyer is outsourcing work to others, this might not work well for your case. However, this common practice helps keep legal fees down.
3. Will I win? If yes, how much will I get?
You shouldn’t expect a precise answer from the attorney. Lawyers may be ethically required to avoid giving you an exact answer. This prevents exaggeration of your case’s potential and the creation of unrealistic expectations. Note that most personal injury cases tend to be unpredictable, and you can expect different outcomes, even during the trial.
But your lawyer should be able to give you some predictions regarding the probability that you will win the case. The lawyer should work towards getting a reasonable settlement offer. But in a situation where the insurance company isn’t ready to settle, the lawyer should be ready to go to trial.
4. What if I lose the case?
What will happen if the case is lost? Will you be required to pay all the expenses incurred? In some jurisdictions, attorneys promise the clients that they will not be liable for the attorney’s out-of-pocket expenses. In other jurisdictions, this practice is prohibited, and it’s assumed that the client is responsible for all the expenses linked to the case.
All these questions will help you know what to expect from your attorney.