Being in a car accident can be a traumatizing experience. You may be injured, your car may be totaled, and you may not know what to do. Insurance companies you think will help you may end up being aggressive and pushing you to take a smaller settlement than is fair for your damages. You realize you need a car accident lawyer but don’t know where to find a “good” one. Making sure you get the absolute best help with your case will be critical to being reimbursed for all the costs associated with the car accident. When car wreck victims first start searching for a lawyer, they usually type “car accident lawyer near me” into their preferred search engine online. Search engines can spit out hundreds, if not thousands, of lawyers near you, but it is important to know what to look for when contacting a lawyer’s office. Below we list some important considerations to review when speaking with a potential lawyer for your claim.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Lawyer Near You
Will you be speaking to an actual lawyer in the practice?
When you call legal offices near you to schedule a consultation, ask the person on the phone if you will be speaking with the lawyer who will potentially be representing you in this case. Direct communication with the lawyer that will handle your specific claims can help you see if your personalities are the right fit and knowing that is who you will speak to regularly will help your case move forward faster and more efficiently.
Does the legal office offer a free case evaluation?
When speaking to a lawyer about a car accident, they should be able to take the time to explain their working process, how a lawsuit works, their experience with previous cases, and answer any questions you have about your car accident injury case. This initial conversation should be at no charge, as the case evaluation will only help you understand the process and who may be liable for the accident and it will help the lawyer decide whether or not they want to take your case. Lawyers should only collect their fees after the case has been completed.
Does the lawyer have experience with car accident cases?
Lawyers typically focus their practices in certain types of law, be it personal injury, environmental, family, real estate, or other areas. Finding a personal injury lawyer who focuses their practice on car accidents will be helpful to your case because they will have extensive experience handling cases similar to yours. Look for a lawyer who has many successful car accident injury lawsuits under their belt.
What is the lawyer’s reputation in the community?
Lawyers who are active in the community and take part in community service demonstrate that they have good ethics and care for the people they live near and work with. Knowing that the lawyer you are working with cares for others and sees their community as being full of actual people who matter to them can help you open up and trust them to help you with your case.
Does the lawyer want your case?
Some lawyers may not want your case. Sometimes a case may be outside of their practice area and they are thus not as familiar with the applicable laws. Other times, a lawyer may know that the case would be too small and the compensation may not be enough to cover the overhead costs associated with taking on a particular case. Car accident lawyers work on what is called a “contingency fee basis.” This means the lawyer’s fee is calculated as a certain percentage of the compensation the injured party client receives through negotiation and/or filing a lawsuit. If the amount you are expected to receive is too low to cover their costs, the lawyer may not take on the case.
Finding a Lawyer Through Word of Mouth
If using a search engine to find a lawyer near you is not your preferred method of finding legal representation, a good way to start the search is to ask friends and family if they know of a good lawyer. Some may have been represented by their own lawyer if they have been in a car accident or had a previous personal injury case. If a friend or family member sends you a name, put them on your list of candidates and start researching their office online. Ask the same questions you would of a lawyer you found online via search engine. You may be able to find a great lawyer that someone you already know has used successfully.
If you have previously been involved a lawsuit, possibly with a family law attorney who has helped with an adoption or divorce, a real estate lawyer who has helped with a property purchase, or even an employment lawyer who has helped with an employment contract, they can also likely recommend a good personal injury lawyer for your car accident case. Most lawyers have a good selection of referrals available and can recommend one to you; however, do not just take their recommendation as a sign you should hire the lawyer they referred. Take your time to research the recommended lawyer.
No matter who you decide to hire as legal representation, it is best to sit down in person with your lawyer to discuss your car accident claim. Bring all documentation related to the car accident, including a copy of the police report, pictures and videos from the scene of the crash, medical bills, lost income documents, and insurance company documents. This information will be critical to your case.