What to Ask Car Accident Attorneys Before Hiring Legal Counsel
Car accidents can be overwhelming for the victim and then to add to the distress of injuries and property damage is the issue of hiring an attorney. Often the person harmed does not know how to distinguish the right lawyer for their claim. Having the right information to understand how to select an automobile attorney that will best represent your needs is important and educational in the event a motor vehicle accident happens.
The first three basic things to understand about hiring a car accident lawyer or for that matter any personal injury lawyer if you have suffered harm and need to obtain legal representation.
- Obtain the names of qualified and reputable lawyers from family, friends or co-workers to handle your type of case. If that is not possible then telephone listings and Internet sites listing lawyers with reviews from past clients can be used.
- When contacting personal injury attorney make certain they offer a free consultation, which is where your case is discussed and it is also a time when you can learn about the lawyers education, accomplishments, if they have represented the same type of case, their fees, strategy, record of successful cases and the overall feeling of whether you feel comfortable.
- After consulting the car accident lawyers on the list and gathering information about each it is then possible to make an informed choice of who can represent your case best.
Preparing for a Car Accident Lawyer’s Consultation
Before consulting with an attorney it is wise to make some notes about what to discuss and questions you have about your case and the quality of representation they will provide. The notes should include the basics of the car accident and any facts you deem important, this will help the lawyer be able to evaluate your case.
In doing this it will help when you have the consultation from forgetting important details or questions. The questions may include seeking information about the attorney and his record of representing clients successfully.
- Attorney Questions
One of the important parts of a legal consultation is to gather facts about the lawyer to make an informed decision if they can provide the best legal representation for your case. They can be simple questions, and also the more complicated ones, including:
- Where did the lawyer attend law school and when did he graduate?
- Does the attorney or law firm belong to the bar associations and other professional organizations?
- How long they have practiced personal injury law and if they specialize in car accidents.
- Do they only practice personal injury law or do they practice another type of law also.
- Have they handled automobile accident cases similar to yours?
- How many motor vehicle cases and victims to they represent annually?
- How many of the auto accident lawsuits are settled and how many end up going to trial?
Have they represented car crash clients that have neck, back or other injuries including long term medical issues?
The strategy and style the lawyer uses should be questioned so it is not a surprise when they are handling your case or handle it in a way you may object too. There are some questions that can be asked in this area including:
- What type of legal style do you have, such as working with clients and asking before making a decision or making the decisions and then tell the client?
- How do you handle accident cases, including car accidents?
- What is your approach to practicing law?
- Case Evaluation
When consulting a legal expert to discuss a car accident claim and injuries they will be assessing the case and there are questions you can ask to help determine if they are the right lawyer for your case.
- What do you believe the value of my case is worth from the information provided?
- What facts of the case are going to help to obtain a settlement?
- What facts could lower the settlement amount?
- How long will you work on my case?
- How many other people will be working on my case or will I only speak with you?
- How long might it take to reach a conclusion in the case?
- Will arbitration or mediation be used if necessary?
- Is it possible the case may go to trial?
- Managing Cases
This may be a deal breaker depending on the attorney approach and the client’s feelings about how their case is handled or by whom. These questions are important if you want to know before hiring an attorney how the case will be managed.
- Who will be handling my case, will it be just you personally or will another attorney be managing it?
- Who will I contact daily, if I want to be updated on my case, remember something or have questions?
- What is the best form of contact?
- How soon can I expect a response after contacting you if I don’t reach you immediately?
- Do you provide progress reports and how often can I expect a report?
- What is included in the progress reports?
- If you are not personally managing my case who will appear at negotiations or court appearances?
- If any other attorneys work on my case are they experts in this area of the law?
- What kind of work on my case would these other lawyers do?
- Legal Fees
Legal fees are something that should be questioned. After all, providing legal representation is a service that should be compensated, but personal injury lawyers it is not always clear how they charge without questioning the legal cost of their representation.
Do you work on a contingency fee basis or an hourly rate?
- Do you charge a retainer fee?
- What other expenses will I incur?
- Is it possible to estimate the extra expenses that could be incurred?
Many Personal Injury Lawyers work on a “contingency fee” basis.
Can you show what I would receive in compensation after legal fees and expenses? No. All a lawyer can do is get a gross recovery that is negotiated later on down the road, typically after you have undergone medical care. The lawyer then takes his fee from that gross amount, as well as any expenses the lawyer has paid for like filing fees, for example.
Before the Consultation Ends
Prior to the end of the consultation it is important to ask the car accident attorney any other questions you may have and it is at this time you can ask for references from past clients. You can ask if there is anything else you need to know about their evaluation of your case before you make a decision about hiring them.
Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
After consulting an attorney before too much time has passed it is essential to make notes about what you did like about the lawyer and what you might not have been impressed with by them. Included in this should be what the legal professional said about what they thought your case was worth and how much you would walk away with after legal expenses and fees.
After meeting with the attorneys on your list it is time to look over your notes and consider your impression about the legal professionals. What may have made one stand out more than the others for your car accident and injuries. If one stands out then it will be an easy choice who may provide the best legal representation.
If it happens you are still unsure of just one attorney then it may come down to whose skills have proven to be better in getting results and if you felt the lawyers were trustworthy. Feeling comfortable is important when dealing with an attorney especially in a car accident case that may be emotional. It is also important to determine if you believe their judgment and assessment of your case was something you could trust, not just the trustworthiness of their demeanor.
This information and questions should be able to help the person who has suffered harm in a car accident or other personal injury mishap to narrow down the legal professional who can provide the best quality representation in your case.