The right car accident lawyer has the experience, resources, results, and reputation that give you the confidence you want to have with your case. If you were involved in a car accident where you suffered injuries or car damage, you may need a lawyer to assist you with filing a claim for compensation.
Before you dial the number of that attorney you saw in the commercials, you should know how to find the best car accident lawyer near you. Below, you’ll find some key criteria to evaluate whether a car accident attorney makes the right fit.
Selecting the Best Lawyer for Your Car Accident Claim
Often, it’s not about who’s the best lawyer but who’s the best lawyer for you. Every case has different factors, so the needs of each car accident victim often prove unique just as the skills, strategies, resources, and practices of each attorney. To help you make the right decision for your car accident case, review these key factors when searching for a lawyer to help you with your claim.
Focus Practice Area
While any lawyer could legally represent you in a car accident case, they do not all have familiarity with the same areas of law. For example, an attorney who runs a corporate litigation firm that settles disputes between businesses cannot provide the same type of representation and relevant experience as a lawyer who specifically handles personal injury claims.
Even within the personal injury practice area, an attorney who focuses on medical malpractice cases may not provide the same specialization as an injury lawyer who handles car accidents.
A car accident lawyer should have familiarity with:
- Applicable car insurance laws in the state
- State and local traffic laws
- Comparative negligence laws
- Practices of the primary insurance agencies in the state or local area
- Judges in the applicable courts of law
Ideally, the best lawyer should have an office somewhere near you. Therefore, you should search for a car accident law firm with a convenient location that suits your desires or doesn’t take you too far out of your way to visit. These days many firms offer consultations by phone or virtual meeting, but you may need to drop off documents, visit for in-person appointments, or swing by at the spur of the moment.
An office located nearby makes it easier to do these things. Further, it may make it harder to feel connected to your attorney if you can’t physically meet them because their office is three counties away.
Accessibility and Availability
Even if your law firm has a location nearby, if you can never actually reach your attorney or see them in person, it can prove difficult to carry on a working relationship. Feeling disconnected from your attorney often feels demoralizing for clients. Finding a law firm that prioritizes you and your case is important.
Many lawyers aggressively work to bring you results but don’t expend any effort to make themselves available to speak to you about updates in the case’s progress or answer your concerns. This problem often arises with large law firms prioritizing case volume over quality service. On the other hand, a boutique law firm may offer what you need if you value having personal rapport and easy access to your car accident attorney.
You should choose a lawyer backed by the resources necessary to succeed. Adequate financial resources and available human resources often prove crucial to litigating a car accident claim. When fighting for your compensation, you want a law firm with fewer financial limitations.
If a court battle proves necessary, they’ll need to go toe-to-toe with the insurance company, which costs money. You also want a law firm that can tap into its staff and a network of connections for support while building your claim.
Expected Payment for Legal Service
As you look for the best car accident lawyer, cost often ranks among the top concerns. You should never enter into a relationship with a lawyer without knowing the money they intend to charge and how they expect payment. Some attorneys work on a retainer. Others work for an hourly fee.
Many auto accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. Their payment depends upon whether or not they win your case often referred to as a “no-fee guarantee.” If the lawyer does not win you compensation, they won’t charge you for their services. This fee often comes as a percentage of the compensation they obtain on your behalf.
You should understand the pricing structure at the law firm before you sign any agreement to work with a car accident lawyer. The payment affects what you take home in compensation, and you don’t want surprises. Never work with a lawyer that does not provide transparency about the costs of their service.
Accolades and Reputation
Search for the awards and accolades the law firm or attorneys have earned. These accolades usually come from peer feedback from others in the legal community or from people in the local community they serve. As such, they denote a level of quality. Additionally, they may point to an area where the firm has a special experience.
A lack of these awards does not equate to a bad law firm. The firm may not have yet received those honors but having the accolades may make a difference to your assessment of the firm.
The first-hand reviews from clients who have utilized the lawyer’s services can prove even more useful. Both good and bad reviews provide important insight into the law firm’s practices and handling of client relationships. Look for common themes in the good reviews and common themes in the bad reviews to deduce the law firm’s strengths and weaknesses.
Reviews will also prove enlightening for some of the key points listed previously. In addition, clients may include information about a law firm’s accessibility and how much they paid for the service.
The law firm’s level of community involvement can help determine if a car accident lawyer near you offers the best fit. How the attorney engages with the community reveals their priorities and their level of care and compassion for others. A car accident lawyer willing to go above and beyond for the community may also do so for their clients.
Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Car Accident Lawyer
Much of the above information comes from preliminary research that you do more or less independently of the lawyer or law firm. However, a wealth of information is available when you speak with the law firm. Therefore, when you call for a consultation, you should ask several important questions.
The consultation allows you to get to know your attorney and ask questions about their background, strategies, and results. During this call, you can find out how an auto accident lawyer can meet your specific needs. The answers to your legal questions can also reveal information that may make a difference in selecting a personal injury lawyer. You should come with a list of questions relevant to your search, including:
Does the Law Firm Have Experience Dealing With Car Accident Cases Like Yours?
All car accidents come with unique details and variables. Therefore, you want a car accident lawyer who has experience handling cases with similar circumstances to yours. Some attorneys may not feel confident taking your case if it’s something they have never dealt with. You may not want an attorney who has not handled similar cases, as you may not feel confident in the firm’s abilities with your legal needs.
The right lawyer for you ideally has experience with the same type of injuries or liability issues. For instance, if you suffered soft tissue injuries but the lawyer has only dealt with catastrophic injuries, they may not be equipped to build cases for less serious injuries.
After a rideshare accident, you’ll want a lawyer who understands the complexities of liability issues.
How Does the Law Firm Handle Cases Similar to Yours?
If the car accident attorney has dealt with claims similar to yours, find out how they handle these cases. What is their typical process? How do these cases play out in their experience? What strategy might your firm take when dealing with insurance companies? Again, you need to understand how your case might progress.
What Kind of Results Has the Law Firm Achieved for Car Accident Victims?
The case results in a law firm have obtained for its clients often prove an important point of research when trying to find the best car crash lawyer near you. Indeed, these case victories do not guarantee your car accident claim results. Still, their history of settlements and court awards can tell you how aggressively they fight for clients and the type of cases they generally win.
How Much Money Does the Attorney Believe You Can Recover for Your Damages?
Car accidents can result in extensive medical bills, time off from work, damage to your vehicle, and other related expenses. Moreover, you may suffer from non-economic hardships due to the crash. Reduced quality of life or temporary disability can result. It’s a good idea to ask any potential legal counsel how much money they believe you can recover from these losses.
An answer to this question can determine their honesty and ability to set realistic expectations. Further, you want to find a lawyer who can see the value in your case.
How Often Do the Law Firm’s Car Accident Cases Go to Court?
Every personal injury lawyer has their style of litigation. Some don’t litigate at all. You should know whether your attorney tends to settle cases or take them to trial and under what circumstances either resolution seems likely. Do they file lawsuits from the beginning or will a lawsuit only function as a last resort?
A trial can prove costly and may decrease your compensation since the litigation costs will probably take away from it. But, at the same time, a trial could bring more compensation if the insurance company isn’t offering the amount you believe you deserve.
Once they have information about your car accident, ask the attorney about the odds of your case moving to trial and what it means for you if that happens.
Who Will Handle Your Case?
Often, the person completing the consultation isn’t the attorney who ultimately handles the car accident claim. This can leave you feeling disconnected and uncertain of the service you’ll receive. It’s important to know the attorney you’ll work with and who will handle the different aspects of your case. Sometimes a paralegal handles the legwork while the attorney takes care of the negotiations and trial litigation. Sometimes multiple attorneys partner on a case.
Knowing who will take care of your car accident claim makes you feel more confident because you can contact the right person to get answers and updates. You can also develop a relationship that fosters success and peace of mind.
How Is Communication Handled?
You should know how your lawyer communicates. Many law firms communicate primarily by email to give you updates. Others prefer calling directly as a more personable way to check in with their clients. You must also find out what avenues of communication they prefer you to use to contact them.
In today’s age, the law firm should have multiple options that suit your needs. Many law firms embrace calls, texts, emails, in-person visits, and virtual meetings. Clients often want accessibility. If you can’t reach your lawyer except by calling their office on a particular day of the week, it’s a red flag.
With the number of attorneys offering services to a single location, it’s important to know how to choose the right one. Finding the best car accident lawyer near you can prove overwhelming, but knowing the questions to ask and the criteria to evaluate can make the process less stressful.