Tough Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer Before Deciding to Hire One
Making sure you have the right personal injury solicitor to represent you in your accident compensation claim is vital. However, with so many people claiming to be accident compensation solicitors, how can you possibly know which accident claim solicitor is going to be the best one for you?
Simple, ask the following 5 questions:
1. Is The Personal Injury Specialist Qualified To Handle Your Accident Claim?
May sound rather like a silly question, but today most solicitors elect to specialise in particular areas of law. As such, you need to make sure your solicitor specialises in accident injury claims before you appoint them.
Keep in mind that if your chosen accident claim solicitor does not specialise in this particular area of law then they are unlikely to know what the current trends in the law are and this could end up costing you money. Moreover, the area of law dealing with accidents tends to be highly specialised requiring certain medical terminology skills.
Again, if your solicitor is not aware of these, it could end up costing you! So, before agreeing to hire an accident solicitor, make sure you ask if he/she has current experience in this area of law. You may even want to ask if their law firm has a specialised accident injury department. If they don't, you should possibly consider going to another law firm that does.
2. Is Your Personal Injury Solicitor Taking Any Charges From You?
When you and your accident claim solicitor sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) you want to make sure that in the agreement the solicitor is going to claim for all of their fees and expenses from the opponent and not from any accident compensation you receive.
If the solicitor gives you any problems here, don't hire them and remind them of the Access to Justice Act which permits them to claim all reasonable costs from the other party!
3. Out-Of-Pocket Expenses?
Most personal injury solicitors love to include a clause in the CFA that you are going to be responsible for all out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses can include any medical treatment you receive at the request of your accident compensation solicitor, any overtime incurred by the solicitor's staff, telephone and fax charges, etc.
The solicitor should be responsible for these costs which should be re-claimed from your opponent. However, be warned: the courts will only allow you to claim 'reasonable' costs and only on the basis of you winning your case.
4. Is The Accident Compensation Solicitor Aiming To Settle Or Go To Court?
Sometimes, though not always, solicitors don't listen to the wishes of their clients and instead go after what they believe the law entitles their client to claim. As such, if you want to settle the claim, rather than go to court, you should ask your accident claim solicitor whether they have any objection to such.
Conversely, if you want to go to court, but your solicitor is advising that you settle the claim, you should discuss this with them to see if there are any adverse effects for taking your injury claim to court.
5. What Happens If You Lose?
Solicitors are expensive, so what happens if you lose? You need to ask this question of your accident claim solicitor to see if he/she is willing to insure your claim against the chances that you may lose.
Keep in mind that if you do lose it is not your personal injury solicitor who is going to be reasonable for the fees and expenses that have accrued to-date, but you! And you don't want to be the victim of the same accident twice, so don't listen to any discussions about how you cannot lose and make sure you have adequate protection should the impossible actually happen!