Transcription: Questions for a personal injury attorney
You want to ask that attorney, based on this preliminary information available to you, what’s your take on this case? What do you see as the issues? What do you think is the case’s potential? So that’s one question you might ask; get the attorney talking about your specific case. Ask the attorney, what do you think in terms of a strategy for this case? Then ask the attorney about his or her experience handling these kinds of cases. Have they ever been to trial? You’d be surprised how many attorneys have never tried a case, and there’s a good reason for that. It’s scary trying cases. There’s a lot of pressure. There’s a lot at stake.
But it’s really important that you know how to try your case. If you don’t have the confidence to go in and try your case, and if you’re not getting that case ready to try, you’re not going to be able to maximize the value of your case. So it is really critical that there be some willingness to go to trial and some experience in taking cases to trial. It commands the respect of your adversary, for one thing.
There’s one thing that I really caution you against and that is, just asking the attorney “how much is my case worth.” It’s not that simple. There’s a lot that goes into the value of a case, and attorneys cannot give you a good evaluation of the value of your case without really investigating. There’s all kinds of information that needs to be vetted before we can start to get a good handle on the value of a case. What’s the liability picture look like? Are we going to be able to prove our case? Who are we going to be able to prove our case against? How much coverage is there? What’s the insurance picture for this case? What are the damages going to be? That is very difficult to determine at the early stages of a case, and the valuation of the damages for your case is subject to tremendous variation, depending upon how well your attorney works up that case. There’s just a whole range of things that needs to be factored in, and it really doesn’t help very much to ask an attorney, “Hey, what do you think my case is worth?” at the beginning. I’m very reluctant to even ballpark a figure when I am in the early stages of evaluating a case. It should be a red flag to clients out there if they have an attorney that’s giving them a number. Whether it’s a large number or a small number, it’s a red flag.
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