10 Questions to Ask a Michigan Auto Accident Lawyer
January 27, 2020
Hiring a Michigan auto accident lawyer if you are injured in a crash is a wise decision. Research shows plaintiffs represented by attorneys receive larger settlements than those who handle their own claims. However, choosing the right lawyer can be difficult if you don’t have enough information. Therefore, before you sign any paperwork, schedule a meeting with the lawyer(s) you are considering. And remember, a reputable lawyer will not mind answering questions, so don’t hold back!
Here is a list of questions to ask during your initial consultation:
Do you have experience with cases like mine?
You would not go to a gastroenterologist to treat a sprained wrist. Like medicine, law is a specialized field. If you are injured in a car crash, you need a lawyer who specializes in auto accidents. Ask the lawyer you are interviewing how many years of experience they have with cases like yours. Ask your Michigan auto accident lawyer how many similar cases they have handled in the past year, or in the past several years.
How much will I have to pay up-front?
Reputable personal injury attorneys rarely, if ever, ask for an up-front payment. Accident lawyers generally work on a contingency basis, which means they take a percentage, usually one-third, of the settlement or trial verdict.
What kind of settlement can I expect?
Experienced car accident lawyers can often provide a broad estimate of how much your case is worth. However, if the extent of your injuries and/or the care you will require haven’t been determined, this may not be possible.
What kinds of verdicts and settlements have you obtained for clients in similar situations?
While reputable lawyers won’t reveal details about their clients, they can disclose how much they recovered in cases with comparable circumstances. An experienced lawyer with a strong winning record should be able to provide many examples of large settlements and verdicts.
Who will be working on my case?
This is an important question. In some large firms, the lawyer you meet with initially is not necessarily the one who will handle your case. Often, a team will be assigned to your case. Members may include one or more attorneys in addition to a paralegal and other support staff. Some firms use case managers, who may or may not be lawyers. Before you decide, make sure you’re comfortable with the way a firm handles and supervises its cases.
How much will I owe when my case is resolved?
The answer to this question can vary from one Michigan auto accident lawyer to another. In contingency cases, the firm takes its cut from the amount they have won for you and then issue you a check for the remainder. Most lawyers will also deduct case-related expenses for documents, investigators or expert testimony at this time. However, it is a good idea to ask so you will know exactly what to expect when the case is over.
What happens if I lose my case?
Again, this depends on the policy of the individual lawyer or firm. Many firms do not charge a client if they fail to recover any compensation. However, some firms require clients to pay for out-of-pocket expenses such as filing fees, expert witnesses or court costs. Make sure you find out your lawyer’s policy at the beginning to avoid costly surprises.
Am I entitled to damages for pain and suffering?
A qualified Michigan auto accident lawyer will usually know the answer after hearing the facts of your case. However, sometimes a lawyer will need more information before giving a definitive answer. For example, if you were more than 50% at fault for the accident, you are not allowed to sue the other driver for non-economic damages.
How long will it take to resolve my case?
Many factors can determine how long a case takes once a claim is filed. However, experienced car accident lawyers should be able to provide an educated guess about the timeline. At the least, your lawyer should know the statute of limitations for cases like yours and be committed to meeting the filing deadlines.
What happens if my case goes to trial?
While many accident cases do settle out of court, you want a lawyer who has courtroom experience and is familiar with trial procedures. What is more, a lawyer who is prepared to go to court if necessary is usually a stronger negotiator. Ask how many cases the lawyer has tried and what the results were.
“When you interview a lawyer, don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions,” says Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “At our firm, we want you to be completely comfortable with your decision. We’re happy to answer your questions and address your concerns.”
Michigan car accident law is complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.