If you’ve recently been injured or made ill by a defective consumer product, you may have already devoted some time to research your legal options. But choosing someone to represent you can be a monumental decision when it comes to preserving your rights and achieving a satisfactory result. You may need to interview several attorneys or law firms before you find the right fit. Read on for five questions you’ll want to ask when interviewing a product liability attorney for your case.
What’s Your Fee Structure?
In most cases, a product liability attorney will offer a contingency fee arrangement instead of an hourly rate. As the name implies, a contingency fee is contingent on winning or settling the case. And because your attorney won’t get paid if you lose your case, cases that are taken on contingency usually include those with high odds of success.
Some contingency fees are a flat percentage of the total recovery amount, while others may include additional fees or costs on top of this percentage. Asking how the fees are computed will give you the information you need when comparing the cost of legal services among several providers.
What’s Your Communication Style?
If you’re the hands-off type, you may prefer to communicate with your product liability attorney only when there’s been a major development in your case. Others may want weekly status updates, even when nothing has changed. Knowing your attorney’s communication style can help you decide whether this relationship is a good fit.
Do You Regularly Practice Where My Case Will Be Litigated?
It’s usually a good idea to choose an attorney who frequently practices in this section of law and has a positive relationship with the judges and other attorneys in the area. Someone with a poor reputation among the local bar or who hasn’t set foot inside the county courthouse in years may not be the ideal choice to advocate for your rights.
What Are My Case’s Likely Outcomes?
During your initial consultation or a follow-up meeting with your prospective attorney, you should be able to have a discussion about your case’s most likely outcomes. Some cases are more likely to settle than others, and some may involve a much longer, more drawn-out negotiation process.
Any promises of a specific result or settlement by a certain date should be looked on with suspicion, as even experienced attorneys aren’t able to definitively predict how a case will go. Once you have a better idea of the outcomes and timeline you can expect, you’ll be able to make an educated choice when it comes to legal representation.
What Strategies Are You Considering?
After you’ve discussed your case’s possible outcomes, you can delve further into this conversation to address litigation strategies. Your attorney should be able to outline each of the possible paths and the potential strategies (and outcomes) of each path. Some claims may require a straightforward “bulldog” approach and tight litigation timelines, while others may require a more conciliatory attitude to achieve the desired result.