If you have been involved in an auto accident, you may be feeling overwhelmed and confused about who you can turn to for help sorting through all the legal issues that have arisen from the incident. A good auto accident attorney can help you deal with the other driver’s insurance company quickly and efficiently and get the full suit that you are owed.
Choosing an attorney may seem like a decision you have to make very quickly after your accident, but in many cases it is worth taking a little extra time to find the right lawyer for you. A number of individual considerations have probably arisen from your particular case and these should be taken into account when choosing an attorney. Here are six questions you will want to ask every time to help you find the best legal representation for you.
1. DO YOU OFFER A FREE CONSULTATION?
A free initial consultation is standard practice for many accident and injury attorneys. This meeting is a chance for you to get to know your lawyer and ask any questions that you may have about your particular case. Though many auto accident layers have a high volume of cases come across their desks and cannot be expected to take an extreme personal interest in every case, the lawyer you meet with in your initial consultation ought to show compassion and invested in your individual situation. If they are not, or they display any other traits which make you doubt their ability to represent you to the best of their ability, then a free consultation means that you have not yet made a financial commitment and you are not obligated to retain their services.
2. WHAT ARE YOUR QUALIFICATIONS FOR THIS CASE?
Lawyers love to take on auto accident and other personal injury cases. Settlements from these cases often have very high returns, and lawyers can make a tidy profit on them with relatively little effort. Just because an attorney advertises him or herself as an auto accident lawyer, do not assume that they have experience with cases similar to yours. Before settling on an attorney, make sure that they have a high success rate with car accident cases. It is not worth losing part of the money that you are owed just so that your attorney can get experience or build up their resume.
3. WHAT ARE YOUR FEES AND HOW ARE THEY CALCULATED?
Most auto accident lawyers calculate their pay based upon contingency fees. This means that the lawyer does not get paid unless you receive your settlement. Their pay comes out of the money that you receive and not directly out of your pocket. A good attorney will be upfront about their fees, what percentage of your settlement they expect to receive. Though contingency fees are generally negotiable, they will usually be between 25% and 40%. If you have a strong case that you are likely to win, then your lawyer will be more open to negotiation.
4. HOW MUCH IS MY CASE WORTH?
This is a good follow up to a question about contingency fees. Even a good lawyer may not be able to give you an exact figure, but they ought to be able to give you a decent idea of what you can expect to walk away with if you win your case. Your attorney also should be able to tell you what your likelihood of winning your suit is.
5. WHAT WILL MY PARTICIPATION IN THE LAWSUIT BE?
Some lawyers prefer their clients to take a backseat in the proceedings, participating only when absolutely necessary. If you are passionate about your case, then this may not be a good fit for you. Alternately, if you are deeply stressed or troubled by the accident and subsequent injuries, then you may feel more comfortable leaving the bulk of the work to your attorney. It’s important to find out exactly what your attorney expects from you and if it is something you are willing to do in order to win your case.
6. WILL YOU BE PERSONALLY HANDLING THE CASE?
As mentioned above, lawyers are often very busy handling a number of cases at the same time. However, this is no excuse for passing your case off to an associate or assistant lawyer and never taking a personal interest in the proceedings. Find out if your attorney will be directly involved in your case and what tasks, if any, they will assign to other people at the firm. If you are comfortable with associates handling certain aspects of your case, then be sure to meet them and get their contact information.
These are just a few of the important questions you may want to ask a potential attorney. You may have other concerns or things that you are curious about; in that case, to not hesitate to bring these issues up to your lawyer. Remember, the most important and difficult questions are the ones you ask yourself about whether or not you think your attorney is qualified and if you can trust them with your case.