Getting injured in a car accident is not something you plan for, but it happens. Your priority, of course, should be to recover from your injuries. However, accidents also have a legal aspect that you have to deal with. For this, you will need the services of a personal injury lawyer.
Questions to ask your car accident attorney
Finding the most suitable person to represent you in negotiations and the courtroom is challenging. You will probably have to talk to several lawyers before finally deciding on someone.
In your search, asking the right questions will help you identify that attorney to handle your car accident case. Before showing up for an initial consultation, take note of these questions to guide you.
What kind of cases do you handle?
Ask them directly what types of cases they handle. You are going to need someone who specializes in personal injury law, not a general practice attorney who is not well-versed on the litigation process that involves compensating victims of car accidents.
When going against the lawyers of insurance companies who defend car accident cases day in and day out, they will be at a disadvantage. This is why you want an equally seasoned Legacy Auto Accident Lawyer on your side when your day in court comes.
How long have you been handling cases on personal injury?
Attorneys who have practicing their profession for many years will be very familiar with how the system works and will have developed contacts who can help them win your case. The more experienced your lawyer is, the greater your chances are of having favorable results.
Do you have court experience?
When negotiations fail to arrive at a fair settlement, a trial may be necessary. For this reason, it’s advisable to opt for attorneys who has jury trial experience. During the initial consultation, be sure to ask how often they try cases.
Insurance companies usually have an idea which injury lawyers actually try cases, to better assess risks on their end. If they find that the person representing you is ready to defend your case in court, you’ll likely get a favorable settlement. Conversely, a lawyer who prefers to negotiate will probably get their client a lower compensation.
What is your assessment of my case?
As the legal expert on automobile accidents, the lawyer should be able to tell you how good or bad your prospects are. But then, you also need to provide them with enough information to make a realistic assessment. Be ready to tell the case history and present all the necessary documents like accident reports and medical records.
Afterwards, you can ask him about:
- Damages. The kinds of damages you can seek in court and the likelihood of getting them.
- Chances of success. The level of certainty or uncertainty of getting a reasonable settlement, or if a court trial is needed.
- Timeline. Estimated time to reach a resolution and the options you have to resolve the case sooner. This information is critical if the accident caused serious injuries and you have medical bills to pay.
- Factors contributing to success. Elements of the case that can work to your advantage or disadvantage, and how you can use them to improve your odds of winning.
How will my case be managed?
Don’t be among the disappointed clients who carefully vetted and chose an attorney, only to find out that their case has been assigned to another lawyer in the firm. Even if the designated person is competent and qualified, you still deserve to know, at the outset, who will be handling your case and how it’s going to be managed.
Law firms have various ways of managing cases. Some have teams handling different cases while others assign a single lawyer to a particular case from start to finish. Make sure you are agreeable with the arrangement suggested to you.
How much will you charge for your services?
Although the lawyer won’t be able to give you an exact amount during your first meeting, he can provide an estimate of how much you’re going to spend.
Most personal injury lawyers accept cases on a contingency basis. They will agree to charge legal fees only after winning your case by claiming a certain percentage of the settlement amount. A contingency arrangement is an option if you can’t afford to hire them on an hourly basis.
You have to be clear with what you have to shoulder, such as administrative costs for postage and document copying, or expenses incurred from investigating and gathering information. Some lawyers may absorb these costs and ask for reimbursement when the case has won, but there are also those who will bill you monthly for the amount you have to pay.
Don’t add to the stress of your accident by wallowing in confusion. With the right legal expert to help you, you can be more prepared for the days ahead. Asking these questions makes you a better-informed client, and enable you to choose the lawyer that you’re confident and comfortable working with.