Time is of the essence when you’re injured in a car accident. Chances are your insurance company will try and settle as soon as possible, and while their initial offer may sound substantial, it may not be sufficient for covering your ongoing needs.
Working with a car accident lawyer can help you negotiate a better settlement to pay for your medical bills and income loss. Here are some helpful tips for finding a car accident lawyer.
Ask For Referrals And References
Rather than looking at advertisements and billboards, ask for first-hand referrals from your friends, family, and social network. A recommendation from someone who has worked with a car accident lawyer in the past is a valuable resource. They can give you a better idea of what to expect, who you should reach out to, and who you should avoid.
If you don’t receive first-hand feedback, don’t hesitate to ask for references from the attorney. You can also check online reviews to see if there are any red flags about the lawyer you’re vetting.
Check Your Attorney’s Trial Experience
Not all personal injury lawyers have trial experience. Finding a lawyer that is willing to go to trial if negotiations crumble is a must after a car accident. Insurance companies may know which lawyers will go to trial in their area. Therefore, they may be more inclined to offer a higher settlement when they know an attorney is willing to take the matter to court.
Look for a lawyer with trial experience, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about what happens if a case goes that route.
Look For A Specialist
Look for an attorney who specializes in car accident cases. Law is multifaceted and nuanced— don’t work with someone who takes a one-size-fits-all approach.
A lawyer who has experience in your type of case and in your area will have more knowledge about the subtleties of that field and local outcomes. For example, a specialized attorney would know that Houston has the nation’s highest red-light accident rates and could highlight if an accident took place in a known hotspot. An attorney who takes a broader approach may not know that there are options beyond the no-fault insurance rules.
The more specialized the attorney, the better your chances of a positive outcome.
Schedule An In-House Consultation
Some lawyers will offer to come to you or may want to meet at their office. It’s important to do an in-house consultation whenever possible, when vetting a car accident attorney. Visiting your lawyer’s office gives you a better idea about the practice as a whole and allows you to evaluate the firm’s atmosphere, size, and morale. Often, the success of the firm is represented in the quality of the office space it runs.
Contact The Bar Association
When you’ve found a lawyer that seems like a good fit, reach out to the Bar Association and ensure that your attorney is in good standing. Here you can view any disciplinary issues pending or concerns about the attorney’s integrity. This is an important step for your peace of mind and to ensure you’re getting what’s promised.
Prioritize Honesty And Communication
When talking to a lawyer, honesty and communication are a top priority. You want to work with someone who is realistic about what to expect from your case. Being optimistic is great; being idealistic is not.
Pay attention to how they communicate with you as well. A good attorney should be easily accessible and return your calls and answer questions within 24 hours.
Take Time To Understand The Fees
Before you sign anything, take the time to understand the fee structure. Some attorneys will charge a flat rate, while others will take a percentage of your settlement. Ask whether compensation is a true flat rate or works on a scale, depending on how long or involved the case becomes. This information will help you quantify and compare your options.
The right car accident lawyer can help you navigate a difficult situation and get the compensation you deserve.
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