If another driver hit and injured you in a car accident, you might wonder what you should do next. After seeking medical care, the most crucial step is to hire an excellent car accident lawyer. A good car accident lawyer can make the difference between recovering significant compensation for your injuries and getting nothing. However, most people do not know how to evaluate the quality of a car accident attorney.
What should you look for when choosing a lawyer? What resources should you use to search? How do you get started?
It’s okay if you are unfamiliar with how to find the right car accident lawyer for your case. Most people will never have to hire personal injury attorneys during their lives. This page aims to answer all your questions about finding the best car accident lawyer for your case.
Hire an attorney immediately after a car accident. A car accident lawyer can protect your rights and interests so that you can focus on healing from your injuries.
Why Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you’ve never hired a car accident lawyer, you may wonder why you need one. Here are some main reasons to hire a lawyer after a car accident.
Car Accident Cases Are Complex
After a car accident, you may find it challenging to figure out who is responsible for your injuries. Even when you do know, you may need help proving it. Car accidents often produce substantial evidence, but you need to know what you are looking for to find compelling evidence of fault. Furthermore, you must quantify your losses to seek commensurate compensation, which presents many challenges.
Medical bills are confusing enough, and you must also place a monetary value on your personal losses, such as pain and suffering. That’s why you need a car accident lawyer with experience gathering evidence and detailing losses.
You Need to Focus on Healing From Your Injuries
Dealing with a car accident can stress and overwhelm you, especially if it results in a devastating injury. A lawyer can alleviate the stress by handling the legal aspects of your case and allowing you to focus on healing. They can also help you determine the compensation you will need to pay for your medical expenses now and in the future.
You May Receive More Compensation With a Car Accident Lawyer
On average, car accident victims who hire a lawyer receive more compensation than those who don’t. That’s because car accident lawyers know how to go toe-to-toe with insurance companies.
Insurance companies often make low settlement offers to claimants who do not have lawyers or deny their claims altogether. The company may even blame the accident on you and decrease your payout by your supposed share of fault. An excellent car accident lawyer can stand up for your rights, negotiate aggressively with the insurance company, and pursue maximum compensation.
Five Essential Attributes to Look for in a Good Car Accident Lawyer
You must look for five essential attributes when hiring an attorney to handle your car accident case. A good car accident lawyer will have the following:
You should look for a car accident lawyer with experience handling cases like yours. For example, if the accident involved multiple vehicles, look for a lawyer who has dealt with multi-vehicle accidents. If the other driver was drunk, look for a lawyer with drunk driving accident experience. When you meet with them, ask them to share specific examples of other clients they helped through similar car accident cases.
Furthermore, a good car accident lawyer will have experience settling accident claims and taking cases to trial. It is essential to look for both. Lawyers who settle every accident case may be too afraid or meek to handle a trial case. Hiring a lawyer who is uncomfortable at trial could significantly jeopardize your case or limit your options. Ask them for examples of cases they have settled and tried in court.
A Successful Track Record
All the experience in the world cannot make up for a lawyer who consistently loses. A good car accident lawyer will feature past settlements and verdicts on their website with information about the type of case and amount recovered for the client. If they don’t, ask them about it when you meet with them. You should find a lawyer with a successful track record of winning the maximum compensation for clients.
Effective Communication Skills
When you hire a lawyer after a car accident, you want to know you can reach them when needed. What good is a lawyer who never answers their phone or returns your phone calls? Look for a car accident lawyer who sets a high bar for their availability and responsiveness.
A Strong Reputation in the Community
Your lawyer’s reputation matters. If other lawyers, judges, insurance companies, and former clients do not respect them, there is little chance they will secure you a significant win. If you know other legal professionals, ask for their opinion. Look for reviews online. Ask for references who can speak to their qualifications. Contact the state bar association to see if anyone has filed a complaint about the lawyer.
A firm must have sufficient resources to properly investigate, negotiate, and litigate. For example, a good car accident lawyer needs a capable staff with time, experience, and space to work. Look for a lawyer with a well-organized office and professional team.
Where Should I Go for Recommendations?
Finding the right car accident lawyer can significantly affect your future, so you must use rigorous research methods. While you might use television and Google to find a good restaurant, those methods will not suffice for finding a reputable, dependable car accident lawyer.
Watch television for a few minutes, and you will likely see a commercial for a personal injury attorney. However, television should be one of many sources for finding a good car accident lawyer.
A lawyer who seems impressive on television probably has a good advertising budget. Similarly, you should take internet search rankings with a grain of salt. Just because a lawyer’s website lands at the top of a Google search return doesn’t mean they are the best car accident lawyer for you.
Most people trust the advice of their family and friends. It’s OK to ask them for recommendations, but do your due diligence. Your sister or friend may rave about their lawyer, but their case may differ from yours substantially.
One excellent source for recommendations is other lawyers. If you hired a lawyer for a different type of situation in the past (for example, a real estate lawyer or family law attorney), ask them to recommend a car accident lawyer with the experience you need. Lawyers know how to spot a good lawyer.
How Many Car Accident Lawyers Should I Contact?
No hard and fast rule exists on how many car accident lawyers you should contact before choosing one. You should contact at least two to compare and contrast their qualifications, client service, and style. Beyond that, you can reach out to however many you need to feel confident in your decision.
Remember, you will work with this person during a challenging time. They should prove themselves trustworthy, dependable, compassionate, and wise. Finding the right lawyer for you may take three or four consultations.
However, your search should not be limitless. You have a narrow window of time to act after a car accident. If you wait too long to file a claim or pursue a lawsuit, you might jeopardize your right to compensation.
How To Prepare for a Car Accident Lawyer Consultation?
Once you have searched and identified a few car accident attorneys you would like to consider, contact them for a consultation. Most car accident lawyers will offer a free initial consultation. If they don’t, you should think twice about hiring them.
To make the most of your consultation:
- Gather your evidence. Gather all the accident-related information you have. This may include photos, medical bills, insurance company correspondence, contact information for the others involved, pay stubs, and any notes you’ve taken.
- Review your notes. Review your notes and prepare a narrative of how the accident occurred and how it has affected you. Make sure you include sufficient detail so the attorney can thoroughly evaluate your legal options.
- Prepare questions. Write down questions you want to ask the attorney, so you do not forget them.
- Do not speak to the insurance companies. If an insurer contacts you, tell them to talk to your lawyer. Do not give them any recorded statements. The insurance company could use what you say to deny or minimize your claim. Meeting with a car accident lawyer before communicating with insurers is best.
Questions to Ask When Considering Which Car Accident Lawyer to Hire
Before consulting with a car accident attorney you are considering hiring, prepare a list of questions you want to ask them. The following questions are important to ask.
Who Will Work on My Case?
You should ask whether the lawyer will handle your case personally or if they will hand it off to an associate or paralegal. Many big-name attorneys will try to impress you in an initial consultation with promises of personalized attention, but you ultimately work most closely with their support staff. Look for a car accident attorney who stays involved with your case from start to finish.
How Will You Get Paid?
Ask about the lawyer’s fee structure and any additional costs. Many car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means they only get paid if they succeed in winning your case, and their fee comes out of your settlement or verdict amount. Contingency fee structures highly incentivize a lawyer to win your case. You pay nothing upfront or out-of-pocket for their representation.
How Will You Communicate With Me?
You should ask how the lawyer would communicate about your case and how often. When can you call them, and how quickly can you expect a callback? Clear, consistent lines of communication are critical when working with a car accident lawyer. Make sure you fully understand how reliable and available they will be during your case.
Can You Provide Me With References or Testimonials?
Anyone applying for a new job understands that you must provide references to validate your qualifications. The same goes for hiring a lawyer. Ask the lawyer for references or testimonials from past clients. If they are honest about their services, they will not hesitate to connect you with happy and satisfied former clients.
How Do You Plan to Approach My Case?
Once they know more about your case, ask the lawyer how they plan to approach it. Do they aim to settle early? Will they push hard for maximum compensation, even if that means going to trial? Look for a car accident attorney who is not afraid to go to trial and will stand up firmly for your rights and interests. That aggressive attorney is likely to get insurance companies to settle on generous terms.
What Are the Potential Outcomes of My Case?
With enough knowledge of your case, an experienced car accident attorney should be able to advise you on the potential outcomes of your case. They may also provide you with an estimate of how much compensation you could recover.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you recently suffered an injury in a car accident, consulting a qualified, experienced attorney should be one of your first steps. Finding the right one can take time and effort. This blog provides you with a blueprint for how to do so strategically. Following this guidance, you can find the right personal injury law firm in Bakersfield for your case.
You must feel confident in your legal representation so that you can channel your energy and attention toward your healing. Get started today by contacting a car accident lawyer near you.