Following a personal injury accident, you need to prepare for the litigation that will follow. As you seek legal advice keep in mind some important questions you will need to ask your attorney. Answers to these questions may make a huge difference in how successful your case is, and how much you might end up paying to retain their services.
1. How Are You Paid?
If you decide to sue following an accident, you’ll need a lawyer. But it’s important to know exactly how he charges for his services. You will want an attorney who’s willing to work on a contingent-fee basis, meaning he’s paid a percentage of what you win in court. That’s much more affordable than a lawyer who charges by the hour, especially since you’ll have to pay whether you win or lose according to that pay structure.
2. What Legal Fees Will I Incur?
Even a lawyer who ‘s willing to work on a contingent-fee basis isn’t going to cover the court costs, nor the expense of the investigation necessary to bring your suit to court. Ask what expenses you will have to cover whether you win or lose your lawsuit. Does he charge court appearance fees? How about processing and paperwork fees? These can otherwise be hidden costs of retaining an attorney’s services.
3. Do I Have a Case?
Not all personal injuries mean you have a strong enough case to win in court. You’ll have to prove a breach of duty on the part of the person you’re suing. You’ll also have to prove you suffered actual damages due to this breach, or negligence. If your case cannot do this, you may not really have a case that can win in court.
4. Exactly Who Should I Sue?
In a car accident, obviously you’re going to litigate against the other driver. But he may not have enough insurance to cover your losses. In that case, you’ll want to find other parties who might share responsibility for your loss. For example, if your driver was on an errand for his employer, he could be considered the employer’s “agent.” As such, the employer could share in the responsibility for the damages you incurred. That means you’ll want to sue him as well.
5. What Can I Consider as Damages?
Usually medical bills and lost wages are considered damages, but they may not be all that can be considered in your case. You could collect on emotional distress, or pain and suffering, and other types of damages of which you might not be aware. Your lawyer can help you identify all that apply in your case. The Carrollton website would be an excellent resource in a such a situation.
6. Should I Sue, or Should I Settle?
Most cases never make it to court because it’s much easier and cheaper to settle out of court. This means that the defendant will offer you a lump sum to drop the suit. There are advantages to settling, and there are advantages to suing. Just remember, if you accept the settlement that’s all you’ll get; you waive your right to sue for that offense. Definitely discuss the merits of settling or suing with your attorney.
In personal injury cases, it’s vital that you speak with a professional. You need to know your rights and responsibilities if you’re to successful win a case. Can you think of any other questions that should be asked when considering a personal injury attorney?
Mark Harris is the author of the Young Adult novel, “Bewitched,” and the Middle Grade book, “Where’s Cherry Soda?” He lives in Northern Utah with is beautiful wife, his 5 adorable children and his 2 lazy house cats.