A car accident can change your entire life in a moment. You may be left with severe injuries and mounting medical bills with the inability to work. Hiring a car accident attorney you trust to handle your injury claim can help you recover the compensation you deserve while you focus on your health.
Of course, choosing the right injury attorney can feel overwhelming, especially if you have never needed a lawyer before. Here are five critical things to consider when choosing a car accident lawyer to represent you.
1. Experience with Similar Car Accident Cases
One of the first things to assess is the lawyer’s experience with cases similar to yours. Most personal injury lawyers handle car accident cases, but do they specialize in or handle many auto accident claims?
While the legal principles are the same for most injury cases, extensive experience in a single area can be crucial. This experience helps an attorney in many ways:
- Anticipating insurance company tactics
- In-depth understanding of common policy clauses and exceptions
- Knowledge of what to expect from specific auto insurance companies
- Mitigating common jury misconceptions in accident cases
- Recognizing critical details in accident cases that are easy to overlook
A personal injury attorney who handles many car accident cases is also more likely to have developed a network of experts who can analyze substantial evidence and offer testimony.
2. Communication and Availability of Car Accident Lawyer
Legal experience is only one side of being an attorney. Effective communication is arguably just as important. After all, your car accident lawyer must negotiate effectively on your behalf and, if the case goes to court, present a persuasive case to a jury. How well a lawyer communicates with clients is also crucial, as they will be serving as your advocate and must be able to give you adequate advice.
During the consultation, consider how well the lawyer explains complicated legal issues, whether they seem like they are rushing you or genuinely listening, and how an insurance adjustor or jury might respond to them.
Availability is strongly related to communication. The right lawyer to represent you doesn’t just have the time available to take on your case; they are available to respond to your questions and concerns. If you are always left dealing with case managers or waiting days for a returned call, you may not be comfortable having the attorney handle your case.
3. Reputation and Track Record of a Car Accident Attorney
A good car accident lawyer should be well-respected within the legal community and with positive reviews from past clients. You can learn more about their reputation by checking with the state bar association and examining their disciplinary record.
Reviewing the lawyer’s past case results can also be very helpful. As you look at their past results, here are things to consider asking:
- Do they have a number of jury awards or only settlements?
- Have they achieved good results with similar cases?
- Have they had success with high-value or complex cases?
Past results do not guarantee future results, and every car accident injury case is unique. However, their track record can give further insight into their experience. These case results can demonstrate experience presenting a case to a jury, which is very different from negotiating with an insurer. They can also demonstrate the skill and resources needed for complicated or high-value cases that may be fiercely litigated for years.
4. Strategy for Your Car Accident Case
When choosing a car accident lawyer, you want to make sure you are confident in their ability to represent you and negotiate on your behalf. Listen carefully to their approach, how they plan to handle your claim, and anything they believe might be an issue. You should be comfortable with their strategy and expertise, yet not feel like you will be swept along without consideration for your concerns or input.
5. Car Accident Attorney’s Fee Structure
Finally, make sure you understand their billing structure and fees. Car accident lawyers typically work on a contingency fee basis. This means their fee is only paid if and when your case is successful. You should still understand what their fee will be, other expenses that will be deducted from your jury award or settlement, and whether you will be billed for filing fees or other costs.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Choosing a car accident lawyer is a big decision. You are putting your trust in them to negotiate for you, protect your best interests, and pursue the compensation you need for the potentially life-changing injuries you suffered. Keep this in mind during your initial consultation to make sure you’re choosing a car accident attorney you feel comfortable trusting with such an important job.