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9 Questions to ask a slip and fall lawyer

These are the key questions to ask if you are considering hiring a medical malpractice lawyer.

evident Editorial Team
published
June 27, 2021
Stethoscope and judge's gavel

If you are considering whether to hire an attorney for your slip and fall case, you want to be sure to make the right choice for you. But many people don’t know where to start their search or how to evaluate their options.  

Our platform is designed to help streamline your process and make it easier to find and evaluate your choices. So whether on our platform or in your first conversation with a personal injury lawyer, these are some of the key questions you’ll want answered as you consider your options.

Key Takeaways

Do you specialize in slip and fall cases?

  • There are many different types of personal injury cases, ranging from slip and fall cases to medical malpractice. Personal injury lawyers regularly handle a variety of these different types of cases, but they often focus on a few particular types.  
  • Slip and fall cases may not be the attorney’s only focus, but you are hiring a lawyer for their expertise. Even if their law practice includes other types of cases, it is important to understand how experienced the personal injury attorney is with cases like yours.  

How many cases have you taken to trial, and what were the results?

  • Despite what TV and movies would have you think, most legal cases aren’t decided by a dramatic jury verdict. In fact, many cases - including slip and fall cases - end in settlements.  
  • Settlements can be desirable for both sides to a dispute. For the defendant, it can be a way to manage their risk. And for you, it can mean locking in a guaranteed recovery and putting that compensation in your pocket more quickly.  
  • That being said, some slip and fall cases do still go to trial. It is important to know how much trial experience the personal injury lawyer has so you have a realistic expectation about their ability to handle your case if it reaches that point.  

Is there a statute of limitations or any other time limit on my case?

  • A key issue in all personal injury cases is that you must bring your claim within a certain period of time from when your injury occurred (or was first discovered) based on the relevant statute of limitations in your state. It is crucial to understand what your time limits are, because even the strongest case could be worthless if you miss your window to act. An experienced personal injury lawyer can advise you on what time limits you need to be aware of.

Does it matter if my accident happened at work?

  • If your accident happened on the job - whether at your place of work or some other location while you were on the clock - your claim might fall under your state’s workers’ compensation program. Sometimes a person can have both workers’ comp and personal injury claims, but most workplace accidents are handled exclusively through workers’ compensation programs.  
  • If your accident happened on the job or you have questions about which program your claim falls under, you should bring this up with the personal injury lawyer so they can guide you to the right avenue for pursuing your claim.

How much will you charge me?

  • As with hiring any lawyer, you should understand the potential costs at the outset. Lawyers handling slip and fall cases generally work on a contingency basis. This means they do not require any money upfront and only get paid if your claim is successful.  
  • All things considered, this can be a great deal and often allows people to file claims they may not otherwise have been financially able to pursue. The size and structure of contingency fees can still vary based upon your agreement with the lawyer, though. The personal injury attorney should be able to explain whether they offer contingency fees and what the size and structure of that fee would be.  

What legal costs will I be responsible for?

  • Separate from the lawyer’s fees, though, there could be some costs associated with your case. For instance, your lawyer may need to request certain types of records that support your claim, such as medical records from a hospital or doctor’s office.  
  • Many personal injury lawyers do not ask clients to pay for legal costs in advance and will instead ask you to reimburse them at the end of the case. If your claim is successful, the costs will be taken out of your award. But some lawyers may ask you to pay for these costs even if you lose.
  • Your fee agreement will address who is responsible for paying legal costs, and whether these costs are to be deducted from your award before or after calculating the lawyer’s fees.  

How will we communicate?

  • Personal injury lawyers, like you, have different communication preferences. Some will prefer email while others might prefer speaking over the phone or by video. There is no right answer, and you should consider your own preferences between email, phone, and video. But whatever the answer may be, it is important to know how to contact your lawyer if any issues or questions arise.

How often should I expect to hear from you?

  • Again, there is no right or wrong answer here. Some people only want to hear from their personal injury attorney if there is a major update or a deadline approaching, while others prefer periodic check-ins. The key here is to make sure you are comfortable with your personal injury lawyer’s standard practices, and that at a minimum you know what to expect going into the representation.

What do you need from me?

  • If the conversation goes well and you hire the personal injury lawyer, you will need to sign a retainer agreement and address other formalities. More broadly, though, your personal injury attorney will also need your help in order to achieve the best possible outcome. So whether it is your assistance obtaining medical records or your availability for meetings, it is important to make sure you are also doing what you can to put your personal injury lawyer in a position to succeed.  

The bottom line

There are several factors to consider when hiring a personal injury lawyer for your slip and fall case, including fee structure, experience level, and your comfort level with the attorney. These questions should help you evaluate whether a personal injury lawyer is the right fit for you and what to expect if you choose to hire them.