What to Look For in an Accident Attorney

Every year in America, more than 5 million car crashes get reported to the police. Even the best drivers can end up in a car accident and in need of an injury lawyer. However, it’s important to know that not every accident attorney gets the same results in court. You’ll find plenty of options when it’s time to hire an attorney, but selecting the right one can be challenging. If you’ve been in an ident, the following guide will explain what factors to consider before you hire a lawyer.

What an Accident Attorney Does

An accident attorney for car crashes is a type of personal injury lawyer. Most likely, you’ll find a lot of choices for this type of attorney where you live. Their goal is to help you receive the medical attention you need, quickly repair or replace your vehicle, and ensure that you receive compensation. Things like injuries and damage resulting from a car crash call for compensation.

The Need For an Accident Attorney

Sure, you can take on a personal injury case by yourself without hiring an attorney. But your chances of successfully winning your case would go down drastically. If you don’t hire an accident attorney, you will most likely only receive a minimum amount of compensation from an insurance company. That’s because insurance companies care more about making a profit than your best interest.

To make those profits, they try to keep the costs of claims as low as possible. Also, you might not know specific legal rights and how they can increase compensation for something such as emotional trauma.

Hiring an injury lawyer that knows the process like the back of their hand makes the most sense. Their job is to get you the absolute most compensation possible.

What Experience Do They Have?

Oftentimes, accident attorneys only focus on a particular type of case. Examples include compensation cases and class action cases against auto manufacturers. However, you’ll want to make sure that your attorney has a specific history of handling car accident cases. Seek out an attorney who has brought accident cases all the way to trial. That way, they’re prepared if your case doesn’t settle before a trial.

You want a specialist instead of a generalist so that your attorney understands the exact laws surrounding your case. In addition, an experienced accident attorney usually has the help of extra resources such as experts and medical professionals. Extra resources help you build a good case and get treatment for any injuries you suffer.

Don’t hold back; directly ask attorneys how long they’ve practiced personal injury law. Get as specific as possible and consider the exact type of accident you were in. For example, if your crash involved a motorcycle, find an attorney who has handled a similar case. You can learn more from Alpha Accident Lawyers regarding specialized attorneys.

Ask About Fees Upfront

Most people expect to pay quite a lot for the services of an attorney, but there are ways to make it more affordable. First, make sure you find an accident attorney who works on contingency.

Contingency means they only receive payment once you receive your settlement or a final judgment. Typically, accident attorneys work for a part of the final payment amount.

Expect to pay about 33% of the total amount upfront and maybe more if the case goes all the way to trial. You should also expect to pay for costs involving things like witness fees and filing fees. If you win the case, the attorney will take their portion from your settlement. Qualified attorneys usually factor legal fees into the final settlement amount to get you the most money for your claim.

Always double-check the attorney’s fee agreement to comprehend the costs you’re responsible for. However, don’t make a rash decision if you find high fees. It might be worth spending more money in the long run if they’re the best attorney in your area.

What to Look For in an Accident Attorney

Clear Communication

Throughout the duration of your case, you’ll have many important questions to ask your accident attorney. That’s why it’s crucial to have an attorney that clearly communicates information so that you always know what’s going on.

Some lawyers tend to only speak in legal terms to seem more knowledgeable. However, that usually leaves their clients confused and uninformed. Avoid attorneys that talk a big game but fail to speak to clients using basic terms.

Reputation Amongst Peers

Before selecting an attorney, do some online research to see what their peers have to say about their work. Feel free to ask candidates what amount of their clients come from referrals by other attorneys.

If they get a high percentage of referrals, that’s usually a great sign. Getting referrals shows that other lawyers respect them enough to put their own reputations on the line. Also, a qualified attorney typically gives references that showcase their abilities.

It’s always a good idea to contact the state bar before hiring an attorney. Doing so lets you determine if your potential attorney ever received any disciplinary measures.

What’s Their Office Like?

You want to select an attorney with adequate resources to manage your case professionally. So, make sure they have a staff qualified to do investigative work and tackle problems as they come up.

Most likely, you’ll engage with some of their staff members as your case goes on. Make sure they work in an organized office space because that indicates professionalism. You don’t want your attorney to sort through files frantically trying to locate your case during meetings.

What to Look For in an Accident Attorney

When Should You Look for an Auto Accident Lawyer?

You can hire an attorney for your case any time prior to the insurance company closing the settlement. However, it’s always better to bring in an attorney very quickly after an injury.

An accident attorney can suggest specialist doctors to help analyze the case and provide the best care for your injuries. Hiring an attorney quickly also reduces the chance that you’ll hurt your case by saying the wrong thing to an insurance company. In addition, clients often end up with a better settlement based on how early they bring an attorney on board.

Interview Multiple Attorneys

Even if the first attorney you find seems like a good fit, make sure to interview multiple attorneys. Doing so can help you find the best option possible and gain valuable information about your case.

Compare the experience, costs, and office environments of different attorneys. Some attorneys tend to be more direct than others, which might help you adjust your expectations.

Every attorney you speak with gives you a better idea of the challenges around your case. However, you don’t want to choose an attorney that seems too overconfident or lacks confidence. Instead, find an attorney with realistic goals and a way to back up what they say.

Choose an Attorney You Gel With

It might take a long time for you to recover from an injury and to receive a fair settlement in your case. The process will likely have many ups and downs and require a lot of conversations with your attorney.

Selecting an accident attorney you gel with is a good idea. Your attorney should be a good listener and always answer your questions so that you stay informed.

Ultimately, you want a lawyer that you believe has your best interest in mind. If you don’t have a good connection or feel that they’re just in it for the money, there are better choices for your case.

What to Look For in an Accident Attorney

Past Successes

It’s not enough for your attorney to have experience with personal injury cases. That’s because most personal injury claims get settled before a lawsuit and trial anyway.

You want to find an attorney who has negotiated many successful settlements in the past. They also need to show that they’ve litigated accident cases all the way to a verdict by a jury.

Don’t be afraid to directly ask an attorney about their rate of success in court. If they don’t have examples for you, they likely don’t have a great history of successful outcomes.

What to Look For in an Accident Attorney

Firm Specialization

Besides the attorney, you also need to ensure their overall firm specializes in auto accidents. That way, they’ll have more resources to use when handling your case than an attorney that practices alone.

Law firms usually have several investigators with knowledge of police reports to identify any faults or negligence. Examples include distracted driving or unique occurrences at the scene of the accident that might have caused the crash.

Finding faults like those might bolster your case, but only if you have the resources to uncover them. In some cases, the other driver might not be the only one at fault.

Law firms may also have more knowledge of insurance companies than attorneys who work alone. Look for a firm that has already battled against the specific insurers you’re dealing with to improve your case.

Just remember that choosing a firm that’s too big might become an issue. You want them to give your case the attention it deserves, and you want to avoid getting lost in the shuffle.

What to Look For in an Accident Attorney

Personal References

Car crashes happen all the time, and you probably know someone personally who has hired an accident attorney before. They might be able to offer you a referral from a settlement they won.

Ask friends and family about their experience with a particular attorney or law firm. They can tell you how they came to their selection and if they would use the attorney again in the future.

Settlement Expectations

You’re entitled to compensation after an accident if the other party was at fault. Economic and non-economic damages are the primary types of compensation.

Economic damage includes anything that costs you money, such as medical bills. If you had to take days off work for medical treatment or recovery, that’s economic damage, too. Other examples include ambulances, doctor’s visits, surgeries, hospitalization, therapy, and medications. Of course, the damages to your vehicle also fall under economic damages.

Non-economic damages involve the emotional elements of a car crash and injuries. Examples include pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, and PTSD. In addition, if the accident affected a personal relationship, that’s also non-economic damage.

Non-economic losses tend to be overwhelming and destructive after a car accident, sometimes more than economic damages. A skilled attorney can identify these losses and ensure they’re reflected in your settlement.

What to Look For in an Accident Attorney

Average Car Accident Settlements

Personal injury settlements have a wide range depending on many factors. The value of your settlement hinges on things like property damages, medical bills, lost wages, and the previously mentioned non-economic damages.

An injury case settlement might only amount to a few thousand dollars on the low end. However, many personal injury cases have much larger settlements if a skilled attorney gets involved.

An average personal injury settlement amount usually falls somewhere between $3,000 and $75,000. You can use a settlement calculator to get an exact number. Still, each case is so specific that guaranteeing accuracy is challenging.

The best way to narrow down a realistic settlement amount is to consult a professional lawyer. Remember that some cases end up with settlements well below or above average settlement amounts.

While uncommon, some settlements venture into the range of millions of dollars. Moreover, those cases likely involve very unusual events, including punitive damages or other unique damages.

Hiring an Accident Attorney

Remember this guide and use it as a checklist to find the absolute best accident attorney for your case. Remember, they must have great resources and a solid reputation to earn your consideration.

Take a look around the rest of our website for more helpful advice and tips to navigate common legal issues.