By Pauline Nassif, Civil Litigation Paralegal
You’ve been injured in an auto accident and you are not sure what to do next. You have been advised by family or friends to consult a personal injury attorney. Before speaking with an attorney, you should gather as much detailed information and facts as possible. This information should include any injuries, property damage, and financial losses. You will want to also show your attorney relative documents such as your car insurance policy, information you exchanged at the scene of the accident, police reports, and medical records.
Once you have contacted a reputable personal injury attorney you should consider asking the following questions before hiring the attorney.
- What experience do you have with the specific type of injury in question?
- What percentage of your practice is devoted to car accident cases?
- What is a typical settlement range for cases similar to mine?
- How are your fees structured?
- What out-of-pocket expenses am I responsible for?
Most car accident cases are handled on a contingency basis. This means that if the attorney does not win or settle your case, the attorney will not collect a fee. On the other hand, if the attorney wins the case then he or she will get a percentage of the personal injury award plus costs. The attorney’s percentage can vary but in Massachusetts the standard percentage is 33% of the total award. Attorney costs are different from the fee percentage and you may be responsible for certain out-of-pocket expenses associated with your case.