When do you know if someone’s the right injury lawyer to handle your case? Most people don’t regularly interact with attorneys — even if there’s one in their own family. Before you sign that retainer, you want to feel confident you’ve found the best lawyer to represent your claim. Below, we’ve listed a few helpful questions to ask your matched injury lawyer during your initial consultation. They should help you better understand this attorney’s experience, litigation background and qualifications.
1. What proof do I need to show in order to qualify for financial compensation?
This is the number-one question most people ask: Does my case qualify, and for how much money? Your drug injury lawyer should know exactly what evidence you’ll need to prove your case in court. There are some common things you’ll need in order to prove any injury case, including:
- Complete medical records as well as payment receipts
- Relevant dates (i.e., when your symptoms appeared, how long you took the drug, name-brand vs. generic, etc.)
- Photos, x-rays, diagnostic scans, lab results (if applicable)
- Contact information for all healthcare providers that treat you
In addition, the attorney may request additional tests or contact expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.
2. How many years of experience do you have handling similar injury cases?
You want a drug injury lawyer with several years’ experience handling other cases like yours. In addition, ask whether this attorney’s worked at any other firms besides this one. How many cases has this drug injury lawyer won in the past five years? What about any lawsuits that lost, or got dismissed? While each case is unique and no lawyer shares confidential information, a win/lose rate is fairly standard.
3. When’s the deadline to file my injury claim if I decide to move forward?
State law sets the time limits for filing your drug injury claim (a.k.a. the “statute of limitations”). So, where you live determines how much time you have left to make a decision. Wait too long, and it becomes legally impossible to qualify for a cash settlement. And if you cut it too close to your state’s filing deadline, and a judge could throw your case out. You want to make sure you submit all paperwork on time, including medical evidence, sworn statements, etc. Those support documents take time to put together. You can’t just wait and do everything last-minute or you risk making a critical mistake!
4. How much is your standard fee agreement for winning cases?
During your initial consultation, a drug injury lawyer asks several questions that help determine whether you have a case. Since these attorneys work on contingency, they won’t accept you as a client unless they believe you qualify for compensation. In other words, there’s zero chance that you’ll owe a drug injury lawyer money for reviewing your case. However, there are some standard forms you must review and sign to get the ball rolling on your claim. These forms always include a fee agreement and retainer that prevents you from hiring another attorney. Firms require that you sign both before any drug injury lawyer can start working on your case. The fee agreement should clearly state what percentage of your final settlement amount goes to the lawyer if you win. And if you don’t win a cash settlement, then you owe the attorney $0. Much like the statute of limitations, state law limits how much attorneys can charge in legal fees. However, this fee agreement means no attorney can include any surprise charges for settling your case.
5. If I agree to sign the retainer and fee agreement paperwork today, then what happens next?
Ask the lawyer what happens next once you’re ready to move forward with your claim. How much time does it usually take to prepare for cases like yours? What evidence does the lawyer need you to submit, and when? Will you have to travel, or testify in court? What formula does the drug injury lawyer use to calculate your settlement amount? An experienced attorney should provide a timeline as well as next steps to help prepare your claim for litigation.
What If You’re Still Not Sure This Is the Right Injury Lawyer to Handle Your Case?
A free initial consultation never obligates you to retain that same injury lawyer to handle your case. In fact, you can walk away and do nothing if you’re not ready to move forward with your claim. Whatever you decide to do next is entirely up to you. And if you do decide to move forward, maybe the next injury lawyer will be a better fit for you. Not sure how to find another qualified attorney in your area? We can match you with one today based on your ZIP code.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.