There are as many as 135,000 personal injury lawyers in the United States. Many of these handle car accident cases.
If you’re at the point where you need an attorney to file a car accident lawsuit, you need to make sure you have the best car accident lawyer in your area.
The first one that appears in your online search might not be the best one for your case. You’ll want to research attorneys and interview a few that seem like they’d be a good fit.
Hiring a lawyer for your car wreck just got a little easier. There are essential questions you need to ask an attorney, and we’re about to tell you what they are.
Keep reading to discover the questions you need to ask a car accident attorney before hiring them.
1. What Is Your Experience With Car Accident Cases?
Personal injury law is a broad section of the legal system. It covers many different types of cases, from animal bites to medical malpractice.
While they know personal injury law, they might not know much about car accident cases. An attorney experienced in car accidents can make a case about injuries caused by a vehicle wreck.
The attorney knows which expert witnesses to call, how to negotiate with insurance companies and interpret evidence to make your case.
A personal injury attorney that works on a lot of worker’s compensation cases does have personal injury experience, but not car accident experience.
Most cases settle out of court, but there are cases that go to trial. Ask your attorney how much trial experience they have.
2. Have You Handled Cases Similar to Mine?
A car accident lawyer that has experience with cases similar to yours is a valuable asset. They’ll know what documentation and details the insurance company needs to reach a settlement.
There are follow-up questions to ask when you learn about the attorney’s specific experience. Ask them what kind of results they achieved in these cases.
Some law firms have this information on their website. Visit this website to see an example.
Also, ask what they think the value of your case is and if that figure includes future medical expenses.
3. Do I Have a Case That’s Worth Pursuing?
The car accident attorney makes this determination based on the information you present. It is critical to bring as much documentation to the initial consultation as possible.
Documentation such as police reports, insurance policies, and medical bills from the accident is a start. If you missed work because of injuries sustained in the car accident, bring pay stubs and documentation that shows you missed work.
Write down everything you remember about the accident. There isn’t a detail that’s too small or insignificant.
The attorney will review your information and make a preliminary judgment about your case. They’ll know if you have a case or not.
If one attorney tells you that you don’t have a case, don’t get alarmed. Another attorney may find that your case is winnable.
4. What Steps Do I Handle?
This is important to ask because you need to know what your responsibilities are when hiring a lawyer. An attorney will do most of the work, but it’s best for you and the car accident lawyer to have clear expectations.
Your attorney may need more documentation. They will work with the insurance adjuster on your behalf.
Just know that the faster you can do your part, the faster your case will get resolved.
5. Who Will I Work With and Contact?
Personal injury attorneys work on several cases at once. You might interview a law firm with a team of attorneys. They might hand work off to paralegals.
You could end up talking to the paralegal or office assistant more than the attorney. Ask the attorney who your point of contact is and how long you should expect to receive a response if you have questions.
Tell the attorney your preferred method of communication, whether it’s text, phone, or email.
If your point of contact is the office assistant or paralegal, ask the attorney how much time they’ll spend on your case.
6. How Much Does This Cost?
This question usually lurks in the back of the mind when you’re talking about hiring a lawyer. It should be a consideration considering that attorneys charge around $250 an hour.
You’ll want to know how much you can expect the case to cost. You can do the math in your head and panic when you learn how much the attorney could bill you.
Don’t let the cost of the attorney get to you. A car accident lawyer doesn’t usually charge until the case is settled. They charge on a contingency basis, which means your payment is contingent upon receiving a settlement.
This is why attorneys may say no to your case. If they don’t think it’s winnable, they won’t take it because they won’t get paid for their work.
Car accident attorneys will take a percentage of the settlement amount. This is usually between 30% and 50% and is negotiable.
Ask the attorney if you owe money if they don’t win a settlement. You could be responsible for administration costs that the attorney paid upfront.
7. How Long Until I Receive a Settlement?
A car accident case can take anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years. It depends on the amount the attorney thinks they can get and the circumstances surrounding the vehicle accident.
If they’re trying to win a large settlement, you can expect insurance companies to fight hard against it. That makes the settlement process longer.
Hire the Best Car Accident Lawyer
Do you feel more confident about hiring a lawyer for your car accident case? You should after learning what questions to ask a car accident lawyer during your consultation.
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