No matter how safe you play it on the road, there’s always the chance that an accident will happen to you. Now that the streets are more dangerous than they have been in a decade, it pays to know how to handle an accident settlement in case one ever happens to you.
If you’re looking for a car accident attorney, knowing what questions to ask is essential for finding the right person for the job. Below are seven questions you should ask a car accident lawyer before hiring them.
- How Much Car Accident Experience Do You Have?
Just like there are many law types out there, the same is true for accident cases. There are many ways to get injured, and each injury type has different elements to legal cases.
That means that finding an accident attorney who has worked on many accident cases before is essential. You don’t want someone that has never dealt with an auto accident before to handle your case. You want someone who has a proven track record of success in auto accidents.
Of course, you may not have only one lawyer working your case. If an inexperienced accident attorney is working with an experienced one to get a foothold in car accidents, that shouldn’t disqualify them from your case. As long as you have at least one experienced attorney leading the way, that should be enough.
- Who Will Work With Me on My Case?
If you work with a big law firm, there’s a chance that the person talking to you before you sign with them may not work with you doing your case. If they’re a partner at the firm, they may hand off your case to an associate.
The problem is that you won’t be able to vet the associate working your case before you sign if this happens. That’s why you need to ask the person you speak with if they’ll personally work on your accident case.
If not, you want to speak to the person that the boss will assign to your case. From there, you can ask them all your standard questions to determine if they’re a good fit for the job.
- What Are Fees?
Not all accident cases will take the same amount of work to handle. Open and shut cases might take a few days, while more complicated cases can last for months.
The question is, will your attorney charge hourly for more prolonged cases?
The last thing you want to happen is to use up all your settlement money on lawyer fees. Ask your attorney about your pricing options and what will work best for your case.
For shorter cases, an hourly or flat rate will likely work best. For more prolonged cases and larger settlement amounts, a contingency will likely work best. With a contingency, you’ll pay your attorney using a percentage of your settlement.
- Do You Have the Time for My Case?
While some attorneys give their clients as much time as possible for their cases, that isn’t always the case. Some lawyers try to cram as many clients as they can into small timeframes. Unfortunately, this leaves them little time to work on each case.
You don’t want to work with someone that doesn’t have the time to give your accident case the attention it deserves. If someone is spread too thin, there’s a bigger chance of missing a small detail that causes you to lose your settlement.
That’s why asking about a lawyer’s caseload is critical. Check to see how much time will go into your case and how many other cases they have to juggle alongside yours.
- Do You Have References?
Before you decide to work with an attorney, it’s essential to know how people they served in the past like their service. An attorney can talk a great game but then fail to deliver results on all fronts.
That’s why you should ask for references from an attorney when looking for a car accident attorney near me. Talking to someone’s past clients can give you insight into how an attorney works that you can’t always get by talking to them.
Past clients will also tell you about both the pros and cons of working with someone. An attorney will try to sell you their services, so they won’t always highlight their weak points. In many cases, past clients have no problem talking about issues they had with their attorney.
- How Does Communication Work?
Communication is one of the most critical factors you can consider with an attorney, especially for a case that you expect to last a while. You don’t want to wait weeks or months at a time without hearing from your attorney.
Check to see how an attorney handles communication before hiring them. Think about your ideal scenario and ask someone if they can meet your needs.
The next thing to consider is communication methods. Lawyers can pick between email, text messages, and phone calls. See if someone communicates with the method you prefer.
Another critical thing to consider is response time to your communications. Ideally, an attorney should respond to you within 24 hours of you reaching out.
- What Work Will You Expect From Me?
Not all attorneys require the same things from their clients. Some lawyers want to handle the heavy lifting themselves. If this is the case, you can sit back and relax through much of the process.
However, some attorneys want their clients to get involved with the process. If you’re someone who wants to be involved as much as you can in your case, this is an excellent choice for you.
Think about those options to determine which style of lawyer you want to hire. You don’t want to go into a relationship expecting your lawyer to handle most of the work and then get handed many things to do yourself.
Don’t Hire the First Car Accident Attorney You Find
Getting the results you need from a car accident isn’t something you should leave to chance. You need to find a car accident attorney that can help keep you informed and get you the settlement you deserve. Make sure you ask the questions above to an auto accident attorney so you can filter the bad lawyers from the good ones.
If you found this post helpful, head back to the blog to see more posts to help you navigate the legal system.