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Home » 10 Important Questions to Ask When Hiring a Minnesota Personal Injury Attorney

10 Important Questions to Ask When Hiring a Minnesota Personal Injury Attorney

Personal Injury Attorney in Alexandria, Minnesota

If you are looking to hire a personal injury lawyer, it likely means that something terrible has happened to you or a family member.  When tragedy strikes, you may need an experienced Minnesota personal injury lawyer to represent you to help navigate the legal process and obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries or for the loss of a loved one.  However, most people go their whole lives without ever needing a personal injury lawyer, and may be unfamiliar with how to find the right lawyer for their case.

Finding the right Minnesota personal injury attorney is crucial to the success of your case. But with so many personal injury attorneys to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you?

Here, we’ll outline 10 important questions you should ask when hiring a Minnesota personal injury attorney so that you can have the peace of mind with knowing that you have an experienced Minnesota injury lawyer on your side.

What is Your Experience Handling Personal Injury Cases?

When evaluating potential attorneys, it’s essential to ask about their experience handling personal injury cases.  Just as you want to go to the right doctor if you have a health issue, you want to find the right lawyer for your situation.  If you have a broken leg, you will want to go to an orthopedic doctor, not a cardiologist.  Similarly, if you have been injured, you want a lawyer who devotes their career to representing injured parties, and not a lawyer that handles business law, family law, or wills, trusts, and estates.

Ask how long they have been practicing law and what percentage of their practice is devoted to personal injury law.  If a lawyer just “dabbles” in personal injury law, you may not want to use them as your lawyer for your injury case.  You want a lawyer who is up to speed on all recent developments in Minnesota personal injury law, and knows the personal injury system, inside and out.   You will also want to ask if their practice involves representing injured parties and their families, or if they represent the interests of insurance companies.

Have You Handled Cases Similar to Mine?

Every personal injury case is unique, and it’s important to work with an attorney who has experience handling cases similar to yours.  Whether you were injured in a car accident, slip and fall, dog bite, or other type of accident, you will want to ask the attorney about their experience with similar cases and the outcomes they have achieved for their clients.

Will You Personally Handle My Case or Delegate it to Another Attorney?

Some personal injury law firms may assign cases to associates or paralegals, rather than having the attorney you speak with handle the case personally.  While this is not necessarily a red flag, it could be a product of a firm having too many cases for the lawyer to handle in an effective manner.  When a lawyer is stretched too thin, they may not have the capacity to communicate with you in a way that is required, and give your case the attention it needs and deserves.  It’s essential to clarify at the outset who will be responsible for managing and handling your case so that you feel comfortable with their level of experience and expertise.

How Do Your Fees Work?

Before hiring a personal injury attorney, it is absolutely critical to understand their fee structure and how they will be compensated for their services.  Do they work on a flat fee, hourly fee, or require a retainer?  Most Minnesota personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only collect a fee if they obtain a recovery on your behalf, either by verdict, settlement, arbitration award, or otherwise.  Typically, contingency fees range from 33% to 40% of the final settlement or award, but it’s essential to clarify the specific terms of the fee agreement upfront.  Contingency fees level the playing field with the insurance companies because it allows individuals to hire an excellent lawyer on their behalf to counterbalance the well compensated attorneys hired by the insurance company, without the injured party ever having to pay anything out of their pocket.

If a lawyer tries to hide how the fee is calculated or is not clear on what percentage their contingency fee is, then it may be a sign that you should speak with other attorneys.  Personal injury lawyers with integrity will make sure to explain in detail how the fees work and how they are calculated so that there are no misunderstandings.  Furthermore, the Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys in Minnesota require that all contingency fees be in writing, signed by the lawyer and the client.

How Do You Handle Your Communication With Clients?

The number one complaint about lawyers is usually, “they don’t return my calls,” and “I don’t know what is happening in my case.”  Clear and open communication is essential to quality legal representation in your personal injury case.  Throughout the life of your case, you should feel comfortable contacting your attorney with questions or concerns about anything having to do with your case or the process.  And likewise, your lawyers should understand that this is a new process for you, and you have likely never been through it before.  Because of this, an experienced Minnesota personal injury attorney with integrity will take the time to make sure you understand not only what they are doing, but why they are doing it.

You should ask at the outset about the attorney’s preferred methods of communication, how quickly they respond to client inquiries, and whether they provide regular updates on the status of your case.  If you have a preferred method of communication, such as text message, email, or phone call, you should make sure to discuss that with the lawyer to see if they are comfortable communicating with you in that fashion.

If you don’t believe that the attorney is going to be able to communicate with you in a reliable manner, you may want to find a lawyer who will.

What is Your Approach To Handling Personal Injury Cases?

Understanding a personal injury attorney’s approach to handling cases will help give you insight into how they will advocate for your rights and interests as your case progresses.  Ask questions about how the process of personal injury cases works, and what potential claims you may have.

A true, experienced personal injury lawyer, will lay the case process out from start to finish and ensure you understand each and every potential claim you may have, and the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  You will want to ask about the lawyer’s strategy for investigating and building your case, how they will overcome obstacles in your case, and how they negotiate with insurance companies.  It is also important to find out in what circumstances would they be willing to start a lawsuit and take your case to trial, if necessary.

Are There Client Reviews Or Testimonials Available To Read?

One way to help evaluate a personal injury attorney’s reputation and the quality of their service is by trying to learn what past client’s experiences are with that lawyer.  The best way to do that is through past client reviews and/or testimonials about their experiences with the lawyer.  These reviews or testimonials may be on the lawyer’s website or other online review platforms, such as through Google reviews.  If you are unaware of where or how to find these, ask the lawyer to direct them to you.  Look for common themes in the reviews, and look for things that may be important to you, such as how well the lawyer communicates, or respond to your questions, for example.

How Do You Evaluate The Value of My Case?

Assessing the value of a personal injury case requires a thorough understanding of the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident, as well as knowledge of applicable Minnesota law.  Ask the attorney how they will evaluate the value of your case and what factors they will consider when determining the amount of compensation you may be entitled to receive.

Remember, it is not about how much a lawyer says they can get for you.  Any lawyer can say that they will get you “a million dollars,” but that doesn’t make it reality.  A lawyer who tells you how much they can get for you early on in the case before all the facts are known is not being honest.  Instead of focusing on how much the lawyer thinks they can get for you, focus on how the lawyer evaluates the different aspects of your case that affect value, such as liability and damages.

What Is Your Experience With Lawsuits And How Many Of Your Cases Settle Without The Need For A Lawsuit

While the vast majority of personal injury cases are resolved through settlement negotiations, some cases may require litigation, also known as a lawsuit, to achieve a favorable outcome.  This is often the case for those situations where there are questions or disputes as to fault or liability.  An important question for a potential client is to ask about what the lawyer’s experience is with lawsuits, and whether they have experience and are comfortable pushing a case into a lawsuit if the need arises.  It is also important that the lawyer ask you questions about your goals and desires for the case so that they know what your comfort level is with the lawsuit process.  An experienced personal injury lawyer will lay out the entire process for you and talk with you in depth about the lawsuit process so that you can make an informed decision.

How Long Will My Case Take to Resolve?

Another important question is to ask the attorney for an estimate of how long they expect your case to take to resolve.  While no lawyer can give an exact time period for how long your specific personal injury case will take, an experienced personal injury attorney can provide estimates based on their knowledge of similar cases and the factors that may affect your case’s timeline.

However, lawyers should be honest in their answers, and they may have to give you answers that you may not want to hear, which is that your case may take anywhere from many months to years to resolve if a lawsuit becomes necessary.  There are many pieces of information that the lawyer may not have at the time of answering the question, so they may tell you that their answer could change as new information presents itself.   A personal injury attorney with integrity will be sure to share the truth with you, even if it is a hard truth.  However, that is the sign that the lawyer takes their job and their role as your advocate and counselor seriously.


Hiring the right Minnesota personal injury attorney is an important decision that can significantly impact the outcome of your case.  As you go through the process of hiring a lawyer, ask questions to try to get a feel for the lawyer and the way they operate.  You may be working with that lawyer for many months, or even years, so it is important that you find an experienced and knowledgeable Minnesota personal injury attorney who communicates well, and who you feel comfortable with.  By asking the questions listed above, you can ensure that you have done your due diligence to make an informed decision in what lawyer to hire.

Matthew Nelson has been practicing personal injury law in Minnesota since 2010.  He focuses his entire practice on representing individuals in Minnesota who have been injured or killed in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, dog bites, slip and falls, and other types of personal injury claims.  He has taught continuing legal education classes to other Minnesota lawyers on personal injury topics.  His firm, Nelson Personal Injury, represents individuals and families across the state of Minnesota, and provides free consultations.

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