We're confident that our attorneys have the experience and dedication to handle your Kansas City car accident claim with skill, and that we'll meet all of your expectations. However, we still encourage individuals considering our services to ask any questions up front so we can put their minds at ease. We offer this guide to interviewing personal injury attorneys to make the right choice for your particular case.
You may not have worked with an attorney in the past, but if you have, it may have been for a completely different legal matter. Many people have worked with family law attorneys when dealing with a divorce, or estate planning lawyers when writing a will. Other people may have had a criminal matter to contend with and have hired a criminal defense attorney.
Even if you developed a good relationship with these lawyers, they won't be able to adequately represent you in a car accident case.
Legal practice encompasses a massive set of laws and procedures, and you're best served by professionals with experience in the specific area regarding your case. Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents fall under personal injury law, so you want a firm with that expertise. Laws can also vary from state to state; thus you want an attorney who practices in the state where your accident occurred.
Gather Background Information
You won't have an unlimited amount of time in your first meeting, so do your research first. Read the law firm’s website to learn about practice areas, the education and experience of its lawyers, and to read testimonials from past clients. Doing this should answer many questions in advance of your meeting with an attorney.
Bring Details of the Accident
In order to get the potential lawyer’s assessment of the case, write down all the details you remember about the accident. If a friend or family member was in the car with you and is a reliable witness, you may want to bring him or her along to the meeting.
After describing the accident, ask the attorney the following questions:
- How much of a financial settlement can I expect to receive?
- What factors work in our favor? What factors could work against us?
- Will we have to go to trial?
- Can the case be settled by arbitration or mediation?
- How long will it take to complete my case?
Don’t expect the attorney to have definite answers to all of these questions, but he should be able to give you an idea of your chances.
Decide If You Can Work Well Together
An important reason for a face-to-face meeting is to determine if you think this is a person you can work with. Does the attorney listen attentively? Does he take your questions and concerns seriously? You may want someone authoritative and confident, or you may work better with someone who is sympathetic and willing to talk you through each step.
You also want to know how your case will be handled. Ask the following questions to determine the firm’s management system:
- Will you personally handle my case, or will other attorneys be involved?
- Who will handle negotiations and court appearances?
- Who will I talk to when I call with questions or concerns?
- Will you hire experts to work on my case? What will they do?
- Will I get progress reports? How will I know what’s going on?
- What is the best way to reach you and how quickly will you respond?
The answers to these questions may or may not be deal breakers for you, but they're important to know before hiring a firm.
Ask About Fees
Personal injury cases are almost always handled on a contingency fee basis. This means that rather than you paying any up-front costs, the attorney will take a percentage of your settlement upon conclusion of the case. This arrangement motivates the attorney to win on your behalf and ensures that you're not out any money if you lose. Be sure to find out what percentage the firm takes, and remember—cheaper is not always better. You want skilled representation more than you want to save a few dollars.
Have You Been Injured In A Kansas City Area Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.