If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident or another type of vehicle accident and believe you have a case, it’s important to consult with a reputable car accident attorney to determine what types of compensation you’re eligible to receive. However, with so many attorneys out there, it may be overwhelming when you perform your search. Knowing what to look for can help you narrow down your selection and find the attorney who’s most compatible with you and your case.
What Should I Look for in an Auto Accident Lawyer?
Before you begin looking for the ideal attorney, it’s best to determine specifically what you want to look for, including the terms and certain qualities that you want in a car accident lawyer.
To help you identify the right attorney to represent you in a car accident case, consider taking the following steps:
- Figure out the experience, age, and overall size of the law firm, and look for any accolades and awards the firm’s attorneys have received.
- Review the entire team and evaluate them, but remember that the individual you initially speak to may not be the person you maintain correspondence with throughout your case.
- Determine if the firm contributes to various campaigns and is actively involved in the local bar association.
- Look for information about different settlements and judgments that the firm helped previous clients reach, including cases in your location that are similar to yours.
- Look to see if the firm has any offices located near where you live, but don’t make this a deal-breaker as many attorneys are willing to conduct consultations over the phone if you are unable to meet in person.
- Check to see if the firm advertises plenty of experience in car accidents specifically, along with other areas such as personal injury or wrongful death.
- Decide whether you feel personally comfortable with an attorney based on the language used and information displayed on the firm’s website, along with other media.
- Look for in-depth information around the specific settlements reached. If an attorney has managed to settle most cases out of court and makes these details available, this is indicative of good negotiating abilities.
- Check for any history of ethical or legal issues that the firm or individual attorneys faced.
- Try to find out how many car accident cases have gone to trial along with the subsequent success rate of those cases.
- See if you can get a general sense of how much time they have to dedicate resources to your case, which you can gauge to some degree by looking at how long their cases usually take.
- Review past client reviews to learn more about their reputation.
How Do I Decide on an Auto Accident Lawyer?
Once you’ve shortlisted your choices and want to confirm if the firm you’re considering is right for you, request a free consultation to discuss your case with a lawyer. Prior to meeting for your consultation, make sure you have all the necessary documentation to help strengthen your case, including any medical records, bills, and police reports, along with documents such as W-2s that prove loss of wages, and communications between you and your auto insurance carrier.
Your initial consultation with an auto accident attorney should always be free and come at absolutely no cost to you. If you find that an attorney wishes to charge you for a consultation, consider this a red flag and look for another attorney.
After discussing your case with the attorney, let your attorney know what you would like to get from your case. For instance, some are willing to settle for a lower amount if it means less time wasted and fewer overall costs. Others will want a higher settlement amount than the insurer’s offer within a short amount of time. You may even want to seek the highest amount possible regardless of how long the litigation process takes.
If you’ve decided on an attorney, you will also need to make sure the fee agreement is clearly understood. Most attorneys won’t charge a fee until after they’ve won a case, so if you face any unexpected upfront fees from the start that raise suspicion, look elsewhere for representation.
How Do I Find an Auto Accident Lawyer?
Now that you have some knowledge around what to look for in a good auto accident attorney to handle a car crash case, it’s important to know where to look for the right attorney to get you started on your search.
There are multiple ways to find a reputable and trustworthy attorney and law firm.
Request Referrals from Family, Friends, or Co-Workers
One place to start looking for an attorney is to speak with friends and family or people in the workplace who may have worked with a car accident attorney in the past. Ask them about what the experience was like and, if they give you a recommendation, add the attorney to your list to prepare for subsequent research.
Perform Local Searches for Attorneys in Your Area
You can also begin your search by going on Google or visiting lawyer directories to find an attorney near your location. From there, you can view their profiles on those directories, visit their websites, and look for information about their reputation based on past reviews and settlements. You can then compare different lawyers near you to further narrow down your selection.
Check Legal Referral Services for More Recommendations
A majority of local and state bar associations provide legal referral services that list all local licensed attorneys based on practice areas. However, keep in mind that the quality of these referral services can vary significantly, so make sure the service advertises a thorough screening of attorneys before including them on a list. A good referral service will only list qualified attorneys with high success rates and ample experience. You can see if the referral service looks for specific requirements before including attorneys on their lists, which may help you decide whether to trust that service.
Once you’ve found an attorney through a legal service, even if the service conducts careful screening, research each attorney individually to further confirm whether the attorney is right for you and your case. Referral services won’t discuss an attorney’s attitude, temperament, or philosophy, so continue your research and simply consider referral services as a good starting point.
Knowing what to look for in a car accident attorney will help you find the ideal representation for your case.