Whether you or a loved one was in a car accident, one of the first things you realize is that you’ll need a good attorney. The problem is that most of us have little to no experience in this area, so we don’t know what to look for when seeking professional legal advice. Here are three signs of a good auto accident attorney. We’ll also explain why they’re indications that you’ve found a good attorney.
Extensive, Relevant Experience
It isn’t enough to find someone with certifications and coursework related to car accident cases. They need to have experience in this area, as well. Car accident cases are complex, whether you’re dealing with negligent drivers, drunk drivers, or a professional driver whose vehicle failed due to insufficient maintenance.
Furthermore, you don’t want to hire a personal injury attorney who only occasionally handles the cases arising from car accidents. Good accident attorneys will be experts in this specialized niche, and they’ll have a track record of success. Go ahead and ask for this information. A good attorney will have no problem sharing that information with you. They should also be willing to give you a list of references. Any attorney who won’t provide references should be avoided.
Also, ask how often they’ll refer you to paralegals or other junior members of the team. Another thing to ask is whether the person you’re interviewing is the one who will be working on your case. You don’t want to hire an attorney based on the interview and find out someone who is less qualified is going to argue your case in court.
When you’re recovering from a car wreck, you don’t want to be dealing with debt collectors or government bureaucracy on top of your doctor’s appointments and arguments with the car mechanic and auto insurance company. Yet every decision you make and everything you say could end up costing you. The best way to avoid mistakes is to ask your attorney. This makes the attorney’s accessibility or how easy they are to reach essential.
If you’re calling them to schedule a consultation and can’t reach them, this is a warning that they may not be accessible when you need the right answer to give a third-party. When meeting with the attorney, ask when they will accept phone calls or emails. What is their response time?
It is important to ask an attorney how they’ll be paid. They may be paid on a contingent fee basis or percentage of the settlement, or they may be paid via an up-front retainer fee. Attorney’s fees can range from a quarter to two-fifths of your settlement, so ask how much they’d take before you agree to their help. Attorneys who ask for an up-front retainer may not have the same track record of success or may try to settle the case as quickly as possible to move on to the next one.
Note that you shouldn’t have to pay for your initial consultation even if the attorney is paid a retainer when they take your case. After all, this meeting allows you to explain your case, lets them sell themselves and their service, and gives both of you a chance to determine if you’re a good fit. If they don’t have clear communication or seem incompatible, strike them off your list and talk to someone else. And if they say they can’t or won’t handle your case, you won’t have wasted your money.
It is essential that you find the right attorney to handle your car accident case. This will be someone with the greatest odds of winning in addition to being supportive through this difficult time without costing you a fortune.