A car accident lawyer works under the umbrella of personal injury law, which involves such things as injuries and fatalities that arise from vehicle accidents, wrongful death and misuse of a product that lead to injury or death. If you’ve recently had a car accident that involves medical issues and a determination of who’s at fault, you’ll probably have to hire a car accident lawyer to help you navigate the treacherous waters. But even though there’s a number of lawyers available to you, make sure you hire the right one for your needs by checking off the following list before you decide.
No charge first consultation
Most personal injury firms and most general law firms for that matter will offer you a no-cost initial consultation just to see if they can meet your needs (and budget). Here’s the checklist:
- The consultation should be available at the lawyer’s office, or if circumstances dictate, on the phone or by some form of video conference.
- Avoid a car accident lawyer who charges you for that initial consultation, but also is aware that the free consultation isn’t a forum for you to try to get free legal advice. The purpose of that consultation is to determine if you’re comfortable with the lawyer and his basic strategy for your case.
Determine who will handle your case
The name partners of a firm tend to have the most experience and respect when it comes to practicing law, so target those names when evaluating who you want taking ‘first chair’ on your case. The checklist is:
- Ask the prospective accident attorney who will handle day to day matters on your case.
- If a partner isn’t handling your case, ask if you can turn to him for consultation if the case is not being conducted the way you want.
If you’re about to undergo delicate brain surgery, do you want a doctor who just finished his residency or a surgeon who’s done the procedure for ten years? It’s the same thing when you hire an attorney, experience counts. So here’s the things to tick off your checklist:
- Look for a car accident lawyer who has tried many of these types of cases in the past.
- Ask about the firm’s success rate when they go to court.
- Find out how many car injury/liability cases the firm has actually settled out of court.
When it comes to strategy, you need to have a goal in mind regarding your case. If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be seeking the largest amount of pain and suffering money you can get. If you’re a defendant, you’ll want a lawyer who can limit your liability. Here’s a checklist that can help you:
- If you’ve been injured and are not at fault, will the lawyer be aggressive in terms of settlement negotiations, or be willing to be patient to get what you want?
- What kind of experience has the lawyer had with the opposing insurance company?
- Is your case better off going to arbitration or is a trial necessary to achieve the result you want?
These are some of the more important things to consider as you vet a prospective car accident lawyer to represent you. Crossing off the items on this checklist can go a long way to getting you the best accident attorney for your situation.