My personal injury lawyer won't be straight with me on fees. What can I do?

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Question:

I was injured in a car accident last year. I hired a lawyer and asked him repeated direct questions that he always answered indirectly. So I got mad at him and told him I was fed up with his indirect answers, especially concerning fees. He told me that I could now find a new lawyer. I'm confused. What should I do?

Answer:

Find another lawyer as fast as your boots will carry you to one. For one thing, the clock may be ticking on the amount of time you have in which to sue -- called the statute of limitations. In some states it's as little as two years from the date of injury.

Any lawyer you consult should provide you with a written contract setting out all fees. If at first you are not handed such a document, insist on one. Most commonly, in cases like yours a lawyer will want one third of any eventual recovery, although this is negotiable.

Nolo's Lawyer Directory has a list of personal injury attorneys in your geographical area (click on the "Fees" tab to learn about a lawyer's fixed-price services and hourly rates).

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