7 Expert Tips for Hiring a Auto Accident Lawyer
Each year 20-50 million people get injured in car accidents. If you have experienced an auto accident and now have injuries, you are probably looking for some compensation.
You can seek financial compensation from the at-fault party by taking them to court. To do this, though, you need to find an experienced auto accident lawyer.
If you’ve never hired an attorney, you may feel at a loss for how the process works. Use this guide to help you know what to look for when selecting your attorney.
By using these 7 tips you will have the best chance at finding a lawyer you are happy with.
1. Use the Free Consultation
The majority of personal injury attorneys will give you a free consultation. This is a sort of interview between you and the lawyer.
During this first meeting, you will assess the lawyer to determine if you feel comfortable and confident with them. The lawyer will evaluate your case to determine if it is one they feel confident taking on.
Just because you meet, it doesn’t mean that they are your legal representation. You need to sign an agreement stating as such for an attorney/client relationship to begin.
2. Ask About Experience
Personal injury attorneys specialize in certain types of injuries. You don’t want to hire just any personal injury lawyer. You want to hire the one that specializes in auto accidents.
Ask the attorney what their specialty is. Then ask further how many cases they have handled that have facts similar to yours. Finally, ask what their outcome rates are for those cases.
While the lawyer can’t give you specifics due to confidentiality rules, they can provide you generalized facts about their overall caseload. Look for an attorney with a strong history in handling auto accident claims.
Ask the lawyer if they belong to any related organizations or have any certifications.
3. Ask About the Lawyer’s Fees
It is standard of personal injury lawyers to only require payment if they win. However, this is not a requirement, and attorneys are free to choose not to charge this way.
Ask the lawyer how they charge for their services. If they say you only pay when you win, ask how that payment is determined.
What is the percentage of your award that they will take? Ask how and when their rate is determined.
For instance, does the lawyer determine their percentage from the total award amount? Or do they use the total after court fees, deposition fees, and any other costs are taken out?
These two methods can create two very different contingency fees.
4. Ask Trusted Individuals
Before you start blindly searching for an accident lawyer on your own, ask trusted family and friends if they have any recommendations. If they have had a positive experience with an attorney, they may say these injury lawyers did a great job.
5. Find Out Their Preferred Communication Method
This didn’t use to be a concern, but with all of the different methods of communication today, it now is a legitimate issue. Consider this, do you prefer talking on your cell phone or texting?
Maybe you prefer to get everything in your email so you have a record you can go back to.
If you prefer one form of communication, and your attorney prefers another, you will struggle to communicate effectively. Ultimately both you and your attorney will feel frustrated.
6. Do You Click?
While you are in your consultation, pay attention to the feeling the lawyer gives you. While it is important to make sure the lawyer is legally qualified, you also want to make sure you two get along.
You and your lawyer will work together closely for long periods of time to win your case, so you’ll want to get along with them personality wise. Pay attention to your gut feeling on this one.
It is a red flag if your lawyer does any of these things:
- Cancels last minute repeatedly
- Is late for your meeting
- Doesn’t give you their full attention
- Doesn’t listen to your concerns
- Doesn’t answer your questions
- Hands you off to their employees
- Answers phone calls during your meeting
- Isn’t engaged in the conversation with you
It can help to have a consultation with a few different attorneys. This will let you compare them to have confidence in your decision.
7. What Is the Lawyer’s Intended Course of Action?
You don’t have to be a car enthusiast to be upset and want your car fixed right away after an accident. So ask the attorney what their plan will be to get you and your car patched up as quickly as possible.
An experienced and knowledgeable attorney will be able to give you a rough idea or outline of what their plan will be for your case. Obviously, they will need to do some research before they can give you a more detailed answer.
If they can’t give you any kind of answer, they may not have enough experience. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker for you if the firm is adequately staffed with more experienced attorneys that can provide guidance.
Hire Your Auto Accident Lawyer
Now that you know how to go about finding an auto accident lawyer, you are ready to start your search. Start by creating a list of the local attorneys and narrowing it down.
It’s good to start with meeting three for a consultation. Choose the one that makes you feel comfortable and satisfies the standards we have described here.
Check out these crazy UK laws for the lighter side of the legal system.