According to 2019 statistics, about 39,000 Americans lost their lives in fatal car crashes, and nearly 4.5 million sustained severe injuries that demanded medical attention.
Being an auto accident victim, you know how devastating the experience can be, with the overbearing physical complications and financial expenses. A severe car mishap can impair your thought process for quite some time.
After seeking adequate medical help, hiring a car accident lawyer is the best way to get back on your feet financially. However, there are a few must-ask questions when hiring a personal injury lawyer after your car crash.
Begin your meeting by asking about the lawyer’s qualifications.
With a country having over 1.3 million lawyers, there will undoubtedly be frauds, conning potential customers seeking legal help.
An attorney’s qualification is a testament to their legitimacy to practice in the respective state’s court. Furthermore, knowing the bar associations they belong to can make them more trustable.
Years of Experience
Confirming the years of experience is a prerequisite while hiring a capable car accident attorney, to avoid a novice. The longer they have been practicing, the higher the chance for a positive outcome.
Ask them about the number of cases they have successfully represented an automobile accident victim and won a fair deal for their client. Check how many such suits the lawyer took to the trial and those settled outside court.
Legal Ideology and Style
It is ok to discuss the legal philosophy the lawyer believes in and their style of pursuing a car accident case. Clarify whether they expect you to make the decisions or follow what they ask you to do.
Handling Compensation for Damages
In states like New York, you can claim medical bills, property damages, and out-of-pocket expenses. Besides, there are intangible losses like emotional and physical impairment, pain, and suffering.
Check if the attorney can get you the maximum possible compensation. See if they will investigate personally to assess your losses to estimate the remuneration you deserve.
Ensure they include all types of damages, applicable in a car accident.
The majority of personal injury lawyers in New York, and other similar cities charge on contingency-fee-basis, giving the state’s residents equal access to the legal system.
It means you need not pay upfront for their legal services, and if you do not win compensation for your damages, you won’t owe your lawyer any fees. However, if you do win, then you will have to pay your lawyers’ contingency fee.
Pay attention to any hidden or miscellaneous charges apart from the fee, to avoid confusion in the future.
Time Dedicated for a Car Accident Case
Getting a realistic estimate of the time the car accident lawyer will spend on your case is a testament to the attorney’s diligence.
After your car mishap, you will have other aspects to focus on, like recovering from injuries and office work. All this while, you will require your attorney to handle the legal issues of your case.
A competent lawyer will start right away, devoting the time needed to move your case towards a successful outcome quickly.
Managing Your Case
When you approach a law firm, get the details of the car accident attorney, who will represent and defend you in the state’s court or help you negotiate outside the court.
If it’s a senior lawyer, then well and good. Else, in the case of a less-experienced attorney, confirm who will supervise them.
See if the lawyer is empathetic and reassures that they will be one phone call away to update you with the progress of your case. Check if they will promptly reply to your emails and resolve your queries as your case proceeds.
Assessing Your Case
Share your case details with the car accident attorney, and check with them the various aspects of your case.
Ask them what works in your favor and against your case. Check with the attorney for your eligibility for financial compensation and the possibility of arbitration or trial.
Seek information about how the lawyer would assess your fault ratio if you have a share of liability in the car accident.
Statute of Limitations
Every state has a maximum time limit to file a lawsuit. For instance, in New York, you can file a case within three years from the car crash.
As a layman, you might not be well-aware of your state’s statute of limitations. Ask your lawyer if you have sufficient time to file the case in the state court. Request them to brief you about the crucial milestones and the deadline for your suit, so that you win your entitled settlements.
Experience in Handling Similar Cases
The reputed law firm would look intimidating with its grand advertisements and marketing strategy. However, check with the car accident lawyer if they have prior experience in handling cases like yours.
If yes, ask them how many such cases they have won, with their clients winning the entire claim. If they sound confident and share the success stories with you, then your case is in the right hands.
In most states, the insurance coverage for a car crash is about $25,000. Moreover, places like New York follow the “no-fault” car insurance scheme, which removes small claims from the state courts. In the case of a car accident, hire a personal injury lawyer at the earliest to ensure you win a considerable compensation you deserve.