AppendicesI and II

"Absolutely Essential Questions To Ask Before You Pick A Lawyer Or Settle Your Case"


Appendix 1: Questions to Ask Before You Settle Your Case with the Insurance Company

  1. Is the insurance company looking out for you or itself?
  2. Are you completely done with your medical treatment? Have you reached your maximum medical improvement?
  3. Are you settling the case because you need the money or because it’s truly at full value of your claim?
  4. How should you negotiate?
  5. Do you know all the facts and have you fully investigated the case? Is the insurance company trying to settle cases at a discount because they say you are at fault? Or are they saying that they only have to pay some of your medical bills, and not all of them because your insurance paid? Are they trying to say that your car is worth less than it really is? Are they pushing you to settle the case quickly while you are still treating for your medical care?
  6. Do you know the full limits of your insurance?
  7. Have you consulted with a legal expert before signing a release so you can fully know your rights and the potential recovery you have?
  8. Do you know some of the false statements made by insurance agents to try to settle the case on the cheap?

Appendix 2: Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Lawyer

  1. Are you going to handle my case personally?
  2. I know you say ‘No Fee if No Recovery’ and I get a free consultation, but if you lose my case are you going to want me to pay at least your expenses? Or do I really have no obligation whatsoever if we do not win my case?
  3. Do you go to court, take depositions, and fight these cases or do you just sign these up and let your associates do the work?
  4. Do you file lawsuits and try cases, or are we just going to collect a bunch of documents, send them to the claims adjustor and settle this case cheaply?
  5. Have you actually litigated and tried these kinds of cases? Do you continue to train and keep up with your trial skills?
  6. Do you have a reputation in the legal community and with claim adjusters and defense lawyers that you will fight to the very end for a case to ensure that you get the full value of the settlement of the claim, rather than a reduced value?
  7. Do you have a packet of information (published articles, books, pamphlets, etc) to educate me about your firm so that I know that you will be able to strongly represent my interests?
  8. Are you going to look to try to get 50, 60, or 70% of my damages, or are you going to try your hardest to get 100% of my damages from the defendant?
  9. Do you have experience in winning difficult liability cases, pursuing claims where injuries are severe, finding additional insurance where no one else thought there was any, thinking outside the box, investigating claims and being aggressive to ensure that we get a fair recovery?
  10. How long have you been practicing in this field of law? Have you ever handled a case like mine before?

What are the possible outcomes of my case? Will you be able to assist me in finding good medical care? Will you be able to fight my liens for my insurance company or others who want to take money from my case? Do you charge additional money for fighting liens or if I have to get a loan or any other matter other than the percentage that you promised me? Are you willing to take my case for a lower percentage than what you have quoted? Are expenses included in your fees? Will you let me know what is going on with my case in a timely manner? Will you answer my phone calls and communicate with me? What style approach will you take--aggressive and zealous? Although I certainly want to settle my case, will you make sure I get all the money I can? Who else in your office will be working on my case? Can I have your personal cell phone number and email address so I can communicate with you about my case? What qualifications do you have to handle my case?

Do I even need a lawyer? Is my case so small because I don’t have much medical that I would put more money in my pocket if I call the insurance company directly? Will you give me some guidance on how to do that without having to pay you? Can you really add value to my case even if it is a smaller case? Is this is serious enough injury where I should get a lawyer? Does this lawyer have the right experience and resources? How is your firm’s track record? What kind of reputation do you have? Do you feel comfortable with this lawyer? Do you have any certifications or peer awards? Is the lawyer trying to hard-sell you or is it obvious that they a robust business and having them as a teammate to fight your claim would be beneficial? If I terminate my representation of you before the matter is resolved, do I have to pay you? Will you be responsible for my case or will I be assigned to another lawyer? Or will you work as a team with other lawyers? Who is my primary contact? What is the best way to communicate with you? How are you going to tell me about what is going on with my case? Why should I hire you? How strong is my case? What are its weaknesses? What is the likely outcome of my case and what should I do?

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