Motor vehicle crashes can be deadly. In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported more than 36,000 vehicle fatalities. This figure represents huge personal and financial losses for car accident victims. If your family member died in a car accident, or you were seriously injured, you may need legal representation. When choosing a lawyer, you want to make sure you are selecting a professional who you can trust to handle your case.
Finding a Good Car Accident Lawyer: What You Can Do
You probably have a lot to deal with after your accident, such as finding the right medical care, paying your bills, and sorting out transportation. Finding a lawyer might not be on the top of your list, but locating the right legal help is important. It could make a huge difference in your car accident case.
It might be tempting to simply take a friend’s recommendation or pick a name you recognize from an advertisement. However, lawyers are not one-size-fits-all, so you need to find the right representation for your needs. You want a lawyer who has handled car accident claims and knowledgeable about personal injury law.
As the American Bar Association (ABA) notes, you should ask the attorney you are considering about their caseload and special certifications they may hold. You want an attorney who specializes in your area of the law or whose practice handles a large percentage of car accident cases. If you speak with an attorney whose practice is 90 percent divorce cases, they probably are not the right lawyer for you.
Other Questions to Ask
While a lawyer’s practice area is important, it is by no means the only thing you should consider when determining how to find a good car accident lawyer.
Following your accident, you are likely facing bills related to your medical treatment and your vehicle. You might be out of work for an extended time. A lawyer can help you seek compensation for these costs, but it is important that you understand their fees before you hire them.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there are several ways a lawyer may structure their fees:
- Contingency fees. When a lawyer takes your case on contingency, it means he or she will take a portion of the money you win. If you do not win a settlement, your lawyer does not receive any fees. You want to make sure you and your lawyer negotiate and agree on what percentage of your settlement they will collect before they start work on your case.
- Flat fees. Some attorneys charge a flat rate for their services. If your lawyer charges a flat fee, make sure you understand what is included in the price.
- Hourly rates. Some lawyers bill by the hour. The hourly rate should reflect your attorney’s experience. You should ask your lawyer to provide you with an estimate of the number of hours they expect to spend on your case.
- Retainer. A lawyer may ask for a retainer, an upfront lump sum they will use to pay their fees and expenses. Make sure you know how your retainer is being used.
In addition to fees, you should ask any prospective attorney about how and when they will update you on your case. You should understand what your lawyer expects from you when it comes to your involvement and the information you will need to provide.
Above all, ask yourself how you feel about any lawyer you are considering. You need to have an open, trusting relationship with your attorney so that you feel comfortable sharing the details of your case.
Working with a Lawyer Could Improve the Outcome for You
You may be wondering why you need an attorney. Perhaps you have considered representing yourself. In simple, straightforward accidents with minor injuries and little damages, this might be possible. However, if your case involves serious injuries, expensive damages, and significant time lost at work, you may want to hire a lawyer.
A lawyer familiar with car accident laws can help you with seeking compensation through an insurance claim or a lawsuit. If you are attempting to resolve your claims through insurance, you can be sure the insurance company has a team of lawyers on their side. It is to their financial benefit to underpay or deny your claims. An attorney can fight for you and your interests, which may result in a more advantageous settlement for you.
If you need to take your case to court, an attorney can help you understand who may be liable for your injuries, the damages you are owed, and how you can prove your case. Finding a good car accident lawyer could ultimately mean more compensation for you.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Is Here to Help
The legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is here to answer any questions you may have about our services. If you would like to learn more about how we may represent you, call our office at (800) 223-5115 and schedule a free case evaluation today.