One of the most important factors in successful recovery is finding the right car accident lawyer to represent you or your business. The skills and experience of the lawyer you hire play a pivotal role in getting a favorable outcome. It can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time to require the services of a lawyer after an accident. What makes things worse is that good car accident lawyers charge the same amount of fees as inexperienced lawyers. You might end up hiring a lawyer with no record of success in the courtroom.
Finding a car accident lawyer to discuss your case
One thing you should remember is to avoid choosing a car accident lawyer based on ads alone. Because of the high-volume and quick turnover basis, some lawyers will immediately settle your case for whatever the insurance firm offers. So, what do you need to do to find a good lawyer after an injury to your or an employee?
Just like when you make big decisions in life, you need to do your homework – to get to know the lawyers in your community. There are several sources that rate lawyers based on the comments of their colleagues. You can check the rating systems below to help you decide which lawyer should represent you:
- The Best Lawyers in America (bestlawyers.com)
- The Martindale-Hubbell Bar Registry (martindale.com)
- Superlawyers (superlawyers.com)
If you’re going to meet with someone to discuss your case, then you have to ask several questions to check if they have a proven track record of success. The goal here is to get insights that many injury victims fail to learn about their lawyers. You have to ask the right questions if you want to win your case. Otherwise, just like most injury victims, you’ll end up going home with nothing or receive less than what you deserve. You also don’t want to have distractions from your recovery or tending to your business.
Questions you must ask before you hire a car accident lawyer
Do you need a car accident lawyer?
It’s normal to ask this question, especially after a car accident. The answer will most likely be a yes, but it will still depend on the impacts of the accident. What will your recovery be like? Despite the injuries, how soon can you or your employee return to work? The soonest you can hire a lawyer, the better. It will give your lawyer an advantage in resolving the case.
What percentage of the lawyer’s cases are referrals from other lawyers?
In any profession, professionals will know who excels in their craft and who doesn’t. One way to find the top-notch lawyers in your community is to ask the lawyers who work there. Does the lawyer’s caseload have a significant percentage coming from referrals from the other lawyers? If you know someone who practices law, then you can start from there. Even if they don’t handle car accident cases, they should have colleagues who are knowledgeable about car accidents. This will lead you to find a lawyer who is recognized by their colleagues as the best in the community.
Does the car accident lawyer send solicitation letters for potential clients?
There is news about car accident lawyers who hire people to check for any traffic accident reports. Once they obtained the reports, they will find the victims’ names and their addresses. Then, they will send a solicitation letter to the victims to inform them about their services and offer representation in a car accident case.
You may think this is a good idea, saving you the time and effort of looking for one yourself, but there might be a catch. Lawyers who send solicitation letters to car accident victims often run on a high-volume, quick-turnover basis. This means that they’re not concerned about you. Besides, sending a bunch of solicitation letters and waiting for a response means that they’re not getting any referrals from their peers or satisfied clients.
Does the car accident lawyer offer free consultations?
If you have seen any type of advertisement from law firms, you’d probably have noticed that they offer free consultations. This sounds brilliant, but it also says a lot about the car accident lawyer. Any lawyer who offers free consultations or tells you that there will be no fee unless there’s a contingent fee isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. After all, any lawyer specializing in car accident cases will offer the same thing.
What does “no recovery, no fee” mean?
Most car accident lawyers handle their cases on a contingent fee basis. Therefore, if there’s no recovery, then there’s no attorney fee. In most cases, you can compute the fees by multiplying the amount you recovered by 1/3. In this case, the lawyer won’t charge you unless there’s a recovery.
This is where car accident victims need to be extra careful. You don’t have to pay the lawyer if you lose the case. After all, 1/3 of nothing is equivalent to nothing. But then again, case expenses and attorney fees are two different things.
Every case will incur case expenses that you have to pay to prepare the case properly. You pay these expenses to third parties for the case to keep going. These expenses may include the following:
- Court reporter fees
- Expert witness fees
- Physician reports expenses
- Medical records expenses
- Filing fees
- Miscellaneous expenses that go into a car accident case
Different law firms handle case expenses differently. For example, in motor vehicle accidents, the settlement is less than $100,000, and the case expenses are around $5,000 or less. But in a car accident case, the litigation expenses can go from $50,000 or more.
What happens if you lose the case?
Different lawyers have different approaches if you lose the case. One car accident lawyer may follow a policy where they don’t ask the clients to reimburse the law firm for their out-of-pocket expenses. However, some car accident lawyers expect their clients to pay the law firm for all their expenses.
As someone who has choices, you have to determine the lawyer’s policy regarding expense reimbursement, especially if you lose the case. If the lawyer dodges the question and tells you not to worry about it, then make sure to ask again. Never accept that kind of response. Even the best car accident lawyer can lose a case now and then.