Peterson & Associates, P.C.

Our Blog

Questions To Ask an Attorney During a Free Consultation

Categorized as Legal Updates

When you’ve been injured due to another person’s negligence, such as in a car accident, slip-and-fall case, medical malpractice claim, or another personal injury claim, it is important to have the wise counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. After an injury accident, you are likely dealing with medical expenses, employment issues, and changes to your lifestyle caused by your injuries. An attorney can help you file a claim for compensation.

Before choosing legal representation, you have the opportunity to schedule a free consultation with an attorney before hiring one. A free consultation provides the perfect opportunity for you to ask essential questions and for an attorney to explain the basics of your case and how they will help you and fight for your rights. Contact Peterson and Associates, P.C. by calling (816) 578-0580 to talk to a Kansas City car accident attorney for a free consultation.

This meeting will give you insight into the attorney’s skills and experience and help you determine if they will meet your needs. The following are some helpful questions to ask an attorney, which will help to make the most of your free consultation and decide if you want to hire them for your case.

1. How Are You Paid?

In the United States, most personal injury law firms, work on a contingency fee basis rather than an hourly or retainer fee schedule. This makes it so people who are injured and already dealing with increased expenses don’t have to pay out of pocket for an attorney. A contingency fee arrangement means the law firm does not receive payment unless they win your case and you get a settlement for your claim. This makes representation by a personal injury attorney accessible to all people, regardless of wealth and resources.

A typical contingency fee is a way attorneys recover compensation for their efforts to obtain a settlement for you, in which they receive a percentage of the settlement amount recovered for your case. Missouri law does not impose a maximum percentage an attorney can receive, however, according to the Missouri Supreme Court (Rule 4-1.5(c)), the contingency fee must be agreed upon in writing and signed by both parties. Contingency fees typically range from 33% to 40% of the compensation you are awarded.

When speaking with an attorney, ask about the contingent fee percentage they will charge and if there are any additional costs or fees that you may owe after your case.

2. How Much Contact Will We Have Throughout the Case? 

You want to be sure you have an attorney who is attentive and responsive to your needs and addresses your questions or issues as they arise throughout your case. Most attorney’s offices have many additional staff members, such as paralegals, case managers, and junior attorneys who will be working on your case and who may communicate with you about the progress of your case or answer your questions.

Ask your attorney about the people on their team they delegate responsibilities to, who you are to contact when you have questions, and how often they will contact you. You may meet some of these people in your initial consultation and gauge how responsive they will be, by how they interact with you during the initial consultation. If you have certain expectations of a personal injury attorney, it’s important to be upfront with communicating this to a potential attorney you meet with. Tell your potential attorney how often you expect updates and what you would like to know about the progress of your case so that they can meet your expectations.

Also, ask about their preferred communication methods, such as email, phone, or text, and communicate what your preferred communication methods are. Ask that your attorney use your preferred communication method at a frequency that suits you.

3. How Often Have Your Cases Gone to Trial?

In the majority of circumstances, personal injury claims are negotiated and settled with the insurance company, before the case goes to trial. A settlement is certainly the fastest way to handle a personal injury case. Many times, early in your case, the insurance company will offer you an amount to settle your claim. This amount is often a lowball offer and does not adequately compensate you for the full amount of the damages you’ll suffer long-term. However, although a settlement is the fastest way to handle a personal injury case, it isn’t always the best solution for the victims.

Sometimes, the insurance company simply doesn’t offer a fair amount of money to compensate their victims. You should ask your attorney how they determine a value for your case and how they determine when to settle.  Ask your attorney how often their cases go to trial and if they think your case has a chance of going to court. Although going to court isn’t common, you want an experienced trial attorney, should your case not settle. Your personal injury attorney shouldn’t hesitate to represent you in court to fight for the compensation you deserve.

4. How Many Cases Have You Handled Similar to Mine?

A law firm cannot guarantee you a specific outcome for your case based on similar cases they’ve handled in the past. Every personal injury case is unique, having its own set of challenges or complexities. There are many factors within each unique set of circumstances that can affect your claim’s outcome, including the severity of your injuries, the available evidence, and how much time has passed since the injury.

However, your attorney can tell you about their firm’s experience with cases similar to yours along with their overall track record, which you can use as a guide for choosing the best firm. It’s important to choose an experienced attorney with a proven track record of success, which may increase your chances of winning and receiving the compensation you deserve.

5. Can You Provide Me with References from Former Clients?

When you meet with a potential attorney, ask them if they can provide you with references from former clients. An experienced attorney should be able to connect you with clients they’ve served in similar cases.

You can also browse the firm’s website and other social media accounts for testimonials and reviews. Many firms place former client testimonials on their website to give prospective clients an idea of what it’s like to work with them.

Another advisable thing to do is to look at the firm’s Google reviews to gain insight into its reputation. Reading reviews online is helpful to see how past clients felt about working with this attorney and firm to determine if this lawyer and firm will be right for you.

Kansas City Car Accident Attorney

If you’re looking for a team of Kansas City attorneys to handle your personal injury case, contact Peterson & Associates, P.C. today. Our legal team has extensive experience and a track record of success handling numerous personal injury and wrongful death cases, from auto accidents to medical malpractice.

If you were injured in Kansas City and are wondering how to handle life and the new circumstances you find yourself in, contact a Kansas City lawyer who can explain the process, help you file a claim, and get you the compensation you deserve. Please contact a Kansas City personal injury lawyer at (816) 578-0580, who is standing by to help.