The free consultation is something most personal injury lawyers offer potential clients, to answer their questions and hear their concerns without cost or obligation. It is an opportunity for accident victims to receive honest answers from legal professionals without any out-of-pocket costs or risks. The information gleaned in a free consultation can determine how the victim proceeds with a case. Asking the right questions can help an accident victim make the most of his or her time with a personal injury lawyer in Bakersfield.
Does the Lawyer Have Experience with Similar Cases?
Experience is key to strong personal injury claim representation. Experience handling cases within a certain practice area can give a lawyer familiarity with the subject matter, as well as connections to related experts and investigators. It means the lawyer has experienced the potential pitfalls a victim may encounter along the way, and knows how to navigate your claim with the highest level of skill. Verify that the attorney has experience handling cases like yours before you hire.
What Kind of Success Rate Has the Firm Had?
You do not want an law firm handling your serious personal injury claim. You want a firm with a proven record of success. Although past results do not guarantee future ones, looking at a law firm’s victories for other clients can prove the firm has what it takes to secure maximum compensation. Take a look at case results on the firm’s website, or ask the lawyer for a list of top settlements and jury verdicts won in the last five years. Verifying wins in your practice area can help you have more confidence in your attorney’s abilities.
Does the Firm Have the Power to Take a Case to Court?
Most personal injury claims settle out of court, without the need for a trial. Hiring a lawyer to negotiate an insurance settlement on your behalf can improve your odds of securing a fair compensation offer without going to the expense or inconvenience of a trial. However, some cases require trials to achieve just results. Look for a firm with the capacity to take your case to court, if necessary. Otherwise, you may have to switch attorneys partway through your case, finding one with trial experience to continue negotiations.
Who Will Be Working on the Case?
Some law firms pass cases off to paralegals, junior attorneys, or assistants, rather than having lead attorneys work on the case. This can lead to communication lapses and lower-quality representation. As a victim, you need to gauge the skill and experience of the person who will actually be working on your case. A firm that uses more than one lawyer per case is fine; it means a well-coordinated group of professionals will handle different aspects of your claim. It is also acceptable for a firm to pass off routine processes, such as paperwork, to less-experienced lawyers.
What Is the Lawyer’s Evaluation of the Case?
One of the main goals of the free consultation is to come away with an idea of where you stand as an accident victim. The lawyer should be able to gather information from you about your accident and let you know if he or she thinks you have grounds for a case. If so, the lawyer should give you a few options you could take moving forward. Finally, the lawyer should be able to estimate the value of your claim, as well as how long it will probably take to settle. Get as much information about your case as you can during the free evaluation.
How Much Do Services Cost?
Many accident victims mistakenly believe they cannot afford the costs of hiring an attorney. However, this is not true if the lawyer operates on a contingency-fee basis. Contingent fees mean the victim will only pay attorney’s fees if the lawyer secures a financial award for the case. If the lawyer does win, he or she will take a percentage of the settlement or verdict as the legal fee. That way, an accident victim never has to pay out-of-pocket for services. Ask the lawyer about his or her fee arrangement, as well as the average percentage charged.