Getting injured in an accident can cause panic and stress, especially after handling the insurance companies trying to get the coverage you need to pay for your medical bills.
However, if you have a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer by your side, they will advocate for you and your best interests. A qualified attorney can handle the insurance company and negotiate a maximum settlement on your behalf.
In most cases, reputable law firms do not take a penny for legal representation unless they win the case for you. But, with numerous law firms fighting for you, how do you find the best auto accident lawyer?
This guide will explore how to find the best car accident lawyer for your legal needs.
Finding the Best Car Accident Attorney for Your Claims
A car accident lawyer is a personal injury attorney specializing in car accidents.
Recently in the United States, attorneys and law firms are paying big bucks to have billboards, buses, and other advertisements around towns and cities looking to attract potential clients.
However, not all attorneys have the skills and experience to win complicated cases. Nor do all attorneys have the personality and charisma to help you get through the trauma you’re experiencing following a devastating car accident.
Looking for credentials and asking the right questions can help narrow the list of attorneys to just a few, helping you with your search to find the best attorney for your needs.
Let’s go over some questions that you should consider before hiring an attorney for legal representation.
What Experience Do They Have?
Not all personal injury attorneys are great car accident lawyers. Personal injury is a broad field of law, and many specializations exist. It would help if you had an attorney with substantial experience handling car accident claims and superior results in the past.
Look for a car accident attorney who has trial experience. When an insurance company refuses to settle a legitimate personal injury case, an auto accident attorney with trial experience can hold them accountable in court.
Most cases tend to settle outside of court, but having a trial attorney can increase your chances of maximum settlement. Insurers will instead pay than go to trial if they believe there is substantial ground for liability.
You also need to assess an attorney’s winnings before settling with one. Research the verdicts of their past cases to understand how much your auto accident attorney is capable of recovering. An attorney’s legal skill and negotiation ability can result in maximum settlements.
Great attorneys also have numerous awards; keep an eye out for those as well!
How Much Do They Charge?
Many car accident victims avoid seeking attorneys following their accident because they understand that the legal knowledge and experience an auto accident attorney bring to a case can cost them a pretty penny. However, most experienced personal injury attorneys offer their services on a contingency fee basis, meaning they don’t make any money until you get your settlement.
Discuss the financial arrangement with the attorney during your initial meeting. Competent lawyers working on a contingency fee basis mention the fee structure in their contracts to ensure transparency and avoid any problems later. In most cases, car accident lawyers charge 33% of the final amount awarded or settled. However, the percentage can go higher if the case goes to trial.
Make sure you read the lawyer’s retainer agreement before signing it. Look at the breakup, as there could be additional fees you might be responsible for, such as filing and expert witness fees, among others.
Many individuals mistake basing their decision to hire an attorney on the fees they charge. Remember, a qualified and experienced attorney with superior results may bill more than others, and it may be worth your while paying them the extra money.
Can They Communicate Clearly?
As an accident victim, you may have a lot of questions and concerns on your mind. An attorney who can speak to you at your level can provide you that comfort and confidence you’re looking for following an accident than an attorney who spews legal jargon, confusing you throughout the legal process. You need less stress in your life rather than add more with an attorney you clearly don’t understand.
A compassionate attorney will listen to your concerns, understand the pain and suffering you’re going through, and aggressively pursue the negligent party’s insurance company to get you the compensation you deserve.
Are There Attorney Testimonials?
Reading online client reviews can help you determine whether the attorney is the right fit for you. Client testimonials provide personal details about how an attorney catered to the client’s needs which can give you an insight into how they work, how they were able to resolve the client’s problem, and whether the attorney is the right fit.
However, there are other reviews that you should research that matter significantly. These are attorney testimonials and what other attorneys have to say about the auto accident lawyer you just met or are going to introduce yourself to. If the attorney has many referrals, other attorneys trust their knowledge and skills, which is why they risk their reputation on a recommendation.
Are They Operating from a Physical Law Office?
A law firm with qualified attorneys and resources has enough firepower to deal with even the most complicated car accident cases. They have the staff to handle the paperwork, investigations, and gathering evidence to bolster a client’s case.
An organized law firm tells a lot about an attorney and how they conduct their business. If you reach an attorney’s law firm for a meeting and you find them flipping through files trying to find your case, that should ring some bells.
Experienced attorneys don’t have time to waste, so whenever you walk into their office for a meeting, you’ll always find them ready to cater to your concerns.
Who Will Work on Your Case?
Knowing who will be working on your case is essential. Often, clients complain that they had a consultation with a lead attorney only to find that they gave their case to a junior lawyer. Ask them who will handle your case when you’re having a first consultation with an attorney.
Small law firms may not have the resources a large legal firm has, but they may offer you a better client experience. Small cases don’t get priority at large firms, and you may find yourself dealing with paralegals and other staff rather than the lead attorney.
Can Personal Injury Lawyers Reject Cases?
We’ve gone over some parameters to help you determine whether an attorney is a right fit for you. However, it is crucial to remember that not all attorneys would want your case because of several reasons.
Too Small of a Case
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, and if the attorney feels that the recovery amount for your case could be small, they may reject it. An attorney must think about accident victims and run the office, paying overheads for the cases they take. Minor cases are just not economical for some attorneys.
If you find yourself in a situation where the attorney believes the case is too small for them, you can hire their services hourly to get the legal advice you need on the challenging parts of the claim.
Lower Winning Odds
Another reason an attorney could decline the case is if they believe the odds of winning are low. An attorney works hard to earn a good reputation and wouldn’t risk it unless they’re sure they can handle the case.
For example, there may not be sufficient evidence to determine the other party’s fault or that the negligent person does not have insurance coverage, which can make it difficult to recover compensation.
Possible Personality Clashes
An attorney may also reject a case for the same reason you might move on to another lawyer; they’re just not comfortable. Personality clashes are a strong enough reason for an attorney to reject a case as they might feel it’s just not worth their time and effort.
How to Find Experienced Car Accident Attorneys?
Now that you know what you’re looking for in an attorney, you should start listing potential attorneys from the research you conduct.
Here are some ways to find experienced personal injury attorneys for your car accident.
Friends and Family
Start your search for a good car accident lawyer by reaching out to your personal and work network. If anyone you know and trust recommends you a car accident attorney, add the name to your list. However, make sure you don’t base your decision to settle with a particular attorney on someone else’s word. Avail of the free consultation session to know more about that attorney before making an informed decision.
Many legal directories online can help you find a skilled car crash attorney experienced in handling personal injury claims. These include Enjuris, Justia, FindLaw, and Avvo, among many others.
Legal directories are an easy way to help you get an attorney suitable for you. You can filter through the list of attorneys available in your state and review their profiles before contacting them.
Reach out to Other Attorneys
If you know of an attorney or an attorney friend specializing in other fields, ask them for a recommendation. Most experienced attorneys have a great network, and they may be able to recommend you to a good lawyer capable of handling your case. Remember, an experienced personal injury attorney will never recommend another lawyer if they don’t believe in their skills and capabilities.
Don’t be shy in asking for recommendations, as it is pretty standard for attorneys to refer business to each other.
Legal Referral Service
Most state bar associations have a legal referral service that lists details of their licensed attorneys, listed by their specialty. However, the quality of services can vary as some state bars list all their licensed attorneys while others conduct a screening to only list experienced ones.
Review the attorney’s qualifications, experience, and other relevant information before selecting a personal injury lawyer for your auto accident claim.
Having the right personal injury lawyer on your side can make a lot of difference to a case. The best car accident attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and personality to make you feel comfortable, understand your pain, and discuss the best possible legal options to help you make an informed decision. These types of attorneys are the ones you want to represent you, whether outside or inside of court.