The car insurance industry estimates the average driver will file a claim for a collision about once every 18 years.
Whether you’ve recently been in an accident or want to be prepared if you do face that situation, it’s important to know what you should do next.
To help you be ready, we put together this list of seven key questions to ask a car accident attorney. Keep reading to learn how to find the right car attorney for you by asking the right questions.
Why Hire a Car Accident Attorney
While most minor accidents can be hired through your insurance company, there are situations in which hiring an attorney is the best route to take.
These include situations where there is:
- Major damage to vehicle or property
- A serious injury
- A fatality
If any laws were broken by the other party, you will also want to have an attorney on your side. This includes reckless driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and when any driving laws were broken.
Questions to Ask a Car Accident Attorney
Now that you know you’re in a situation in which you need the assistance of a car accident attorney, let’s get into the questions you should ask before hiring one.
It’s important to ask these questions so you know you’re working with an experienced lawyer who can help you get what you deserve and who you will get along with well.
Always ask first so you know you’re choosing the best lawyer for you.
1. What’s Your Experience?
There are three important things to specifically ask about when it comes to a lawyer’s experience.
The first is their experience with auto accidents. Because the auto accident and insurance laws are complicated, it’s crucial to get an attorney who knows these laws well. Any other type of attorney may not be able to help you.
Secondly, you’ll want to know their success rate. The reason for this is obvious. If someone has a long history of success, it’s a great person to work with. If not, then you may want to keep looking.
Last but not least, you need to ask about how long they’ve been working in this field. It’s not common, but some attorneys switch specialties so if someone has had their success in a different area of law, it’s not guaranteed they’ll have the same outcome in auto accident cases.
2. What is Your Opinion of My Case?
Most attorneys will review your case before sitting down to talk to you. Ask them what they think of your chances of winning and whether it would be better for you to sue or settle.
3. What Legal Fees Can I Expect to Pay?
It’s important to know from the beginning how much you can expect to pay to your lawyer and throughout the process. This will allow you to be prepared financially to cover any expenses.
Some lawyers will charge an hourly rate only while they’re actively working on your case. Others charge a set fee for the case as a whole no matter how much time they need to devote to it.
Either way, they should be able to give you a rough estimate of how much you’ll be paying them for their services.
The other thing to ask about are any court fees or other legal fees that you may face during this process. These can sometimes be reimbursed if you win a court case, but you’ll most likely have to pay them initially.
4. How Will You Communicate with Me?
This is vital to ensure you know what’s going on during every step of the process. If a lawyer exclusively makes phone calls but you can’t take outside calls during work, you may need to find someone else to represent you.
You will also want to ask about the expectations regarding communication. Do they expect you to immediately return emails or can you wait and respond at your convenience?
5. Who Will be Representing Me?
If going to a law firm where more than one attorney works, you’ll want to make sure you know exactly who you’ll be working with.
In some firms, each client is assigned to a specific attorney who exclusively works with them. Other firms may have different representatives contacting you and representing you depending on the situation.
This is a matter of personal preference. If you’d prefer to stick with one lawyer, find a law firm that operates that way. If you don’t mind working with different attorneys, then you’ll have more options.
6. How Will You Help Me Get Compensation?
Something else you need to know is the route your attorney will take to get you the compensation you deserve. They should also explain the process to you so you can go into each step well-informed.
7. What is Your Legal Style?
If you’re determined to settle a case out of court but the attorney you’re interviewing insists upon taking most of his cases through the courts, you’ll want to find someone else.
You want to make sure your philosophies and beliefs line up with those of your lawyer. Of course you don’t have to agree on everything, but you should at least agree on how your case should be handled.
Where to Find a Car Accident Attorney
The best place to start looking for a car accident attorney is online. You can find a long list of options and get help from a car accident attorney near you.
Another advantage of looking online is that you can check reviews from other people that have worked with that firm before. Read them to get an idea of what to expect and to know if most experiences have been bad or good.
Looking for More Law News and Tips?
Now you know seven questions to ask a car accident attorney. As you can see, it’s important to find the right one for your situation so you don’t make any costly mistakes following an accident.
If you’re looking for more news about laws and attorneys, check out the law section of our blog. We’ve got a ton of information that can help you in any legal situation.