Car accidents can be harrowing experiences—a moment in time that can cause damage to your vehicle and lasting physical and mental injuries. Sometimes, litigation is straightforward, but often, cases can run for months before the injured party receives rightful compensation.
Even worse, occasionally, someone who has been involved in a car accident that was not their fault may not receive any compensation. This is why it’s so important to hire an experienced car accident attorney—someone who can guide you through the sometimes-challenging litigation process and give you the best chance of receiving justice at the end of it.
But how do you choose a car accident attorney? This article will demystify this process, allowing you to find a car accident attorney who is right for you.
1. Go for a Free Consultation With Your Lawyer
Car accident attorneys often do not charge a fee for consultations. To start the process of finding the best attorney for your situation, schedule appointments with a few to find which will be a good fit for you.
2. Ask for a Contract
Car accident attorneys often retain a certain percentage of your settlement in the event that they win. This is called a contingency fee. You should ask for a contract that states the exact amount and keep a copy for yourself.
3. Ask What Cases They Have Previously Represented
Your attorney might claim that they are a litigation whiz, but do they really know the ins and outs of litigation when it relates to car accidents? Ask if they have a proven track record of successful car accident cases. If all of their experience is in litigation regarding other aspects of the law, such as family or real estate law, it might be time to check out a firm that can offer you more experience for your situation.
4. Ask How Long They Have Been Handling Car Accident Cases
Attorneys who handle car accident cases often charge victims the same fee, regardless of how much time they have been practicing. If a lawyer who has 2 years of experience will charge you the same as an attorney with 20 years of experience, then you should definitely consider going with the more experienced lawyer. The length of time that a lawyer has been practicing usually plays a part in determining their ability to successfully handle your litigation and, in turn, how likely you are to win your case.
5. Ask If They Regularly Try Cases in Court
People often believe that all car accident attorneys go to court regularly. This is not the case. Many attorneys actually have very little experience arguing a case in front of a jury. One of the first things you should ask your prospective attorney is whether they regularly try cases in court, and if so, how often. If they have not attended many trials, it’s time to walk away and find an attorney with more experience.
6. Find Out If They Communicate With Clients Regularly
Ever had a friend or business partner who takes their sweet time in getting back to you or sometimes doesn’t get back to you at all? Communication only goes in one direction, and it is often what sours the relationship.
The same can be said of communication with car accident attorneys. While of course, being an attorney involves a lot of work that keeps them busy, you should expect to have your calls and emails returned in a reasonable amount of time. Make sure that your attorney will get back to you regularly so that you have insight into what is going on in your case and you won’t feel as if your concerns are not being addressed.
7. Check Their Policy on Low-Ball Offers From Insurance Companies
Car insurance companies will often throw out the smallest offer that they think you will accept to reduce their costs. You may even receive a settlement offer before you have properly recovered from the accident.
When choosing someone to litigate for you, don’t sell yourself short. For this, you need a lawyer who will see these low-ball offers for what they are and press them for the compensation you deserve.
How Much Money Should I Expect From a Car Accident Claim?
Settlement amounts vary depending on the injuries and losses that were experienced. Usually, though, the more serious and long-lasting your injuries, the bigger a claim you should expect to receive.
An accident that has caused you very little in the way of injuries and does not require medical treatment afterward will result in a small settlement, but accidents that lead you to have permanent or long-term injuries and pain will result in a much larger settlement.
Juries also take into account whether you have been stopped from doing activities that you used to enjoy, the amount of earnings you have lost from work, as well as any emotional injuries you incurred through the accident.
What Evidence Do I Need for a Car Insurance Case?
The best car accident attorneys will inform you that to build a solid case it is ideal that you have:
- Contact information of any witnesses
- Details from the scene of the accident
- Photo or video documentation
- Records of damage
- Written accounts
- Proof of lost wages
- Proof of burden
- Medical records
- Proof of payment
Having as many of these as possible will give you the best chance possible of receiving a settlement.
By reading this article, you have likely gained some insight into how to best find a car accident attorney for your needs. At Warren Allen LLP in the Portland area, our team of litigators has years of experience dealing with car accident claims. We will make sure that your litigation has a high chance of success and will bring you the reimbursement you deserve for your ordeal.