How to Find the Best Lawyer for Car Accidents
A car accident can cause a lot of stress for a long time after it happens. Serious injuries can make it hard for you and your family to pay for things like medical bills, possible lost income, and damage to your vehicle. You don’t want the added stress of having to fight with insurance companies on your own to get paid for your losses. An auto accident lawyer can help you fight the insurance company and make sure you get the right amount of money.
After a bad car accident, it can be hard to find an experienced and reliable auto accident lawyer, but it doesn’t have to be that way. This guide will help you find the best car accident lawyer to help you figure out how much you’ve lost and deal with your insurance company to get that money back.
How to find the best lawyer for a car accident
For a car accident, you need to find a personal injury lawyer, but not just the first one you find online. You need someone who knows how to deal with auto insurance companies and cases involving car accidents. There are probably a lot of lawyers in your area who say they have experience with auto accident injuries and claims. If you know what to look for, it will be easier to find the best lawyer for you.
Find lawyers with a lot of experience
Some lawyers don’t focus on one area of law, but instead, handle everything from divorces to real estate deals to lawsuits for wrongful death to claims for personal injuries. Even though these lawyers may be good at all kinds of cases, you should find a lawyer or law office with years of experience in personal injury cases, especially auto injury cases.
You want that experience to include at least a couple of cases that went to court. You should have an attorney who is ready to go to court if that’s what it takes and isn’t just looking for the first settlement offer. Instead, they should be focused on getting you the best possible outcome. Most injury cases from car accidents don’t go to trial, but you don’t want yours to be the first one your lawyer argues in court.
Keep in mind that auto insurance companies have a lot of experience dealing with claims made by accident victims. Most of the time, insurance adjusters try to settle a car accident claim as quickly and for as little as possible. A skilled lawyer will make sure that you don’t have to take whatever the insurance company is willing to offer. They’ll know how the insurance company works and how to negotiate the best deal for you.
Research their track record
You need to do research and be willing to ask questions to find the right lawyer. First, go to the site of your State Bar Association. There, you should be able to find a list of personal injury lawyers in your area. Write down the contact information of the people you want to learn more about. Almost every law firm or lawyer has a website these days where you can find out more.
After you’ve narrowed down your list, you’ll need to get in touch with each candidate to set up a phone or in-person meeting. Most lawyers will give you a free consultation where you can ask about the types of cases they have worked on, but they won’t give you legal advice or an evaluation of your case. You will be able to tell the lawyer about your case so he or she can decide if you have a case. A reliable lawyer will have no problem telling you how many auto accident victims they have helped and what percentage of those cases led to their clients get paid.
You might also want to find out about clients from the past. There are a lot of independent review sites with testimonials that can help you choose.
Think about using a company that specializes in dealing with car crashes
Firms with legal teams that focus on auto accidents usually have more resources to put toward your case than a lawyer who works alone. Firms often have one or more investigators who know how to read police reports and figure out who is at fault or not.
Something like a driver who was distracted or unusual circumstances at the accident scene could have made the crash happen, which could help your case but wouldn’t be found without the right tools. Sometimes, more than just the other driver could be to blame.
The lawyers in a firm may also have more experience working with insurance companies than a single lawyer. Finding a law firm that has already taken on the insurance company you are going up against can only help your case. Just make sure the firm isn’t so big that you feel like your case won’t get the attention it needs.
Ask family and friends
Unfortunately, car accidents, even ones that hurt people, happen too often. You probably know someone who has used a law firm or attorney after a car accident, and they might be able to give you a recommendation. Ask them about their experience with the lawyer or law firm, how they found them, and if they would hire them again.
Even if someone recommends a lawyer, you should still look into other options and talk to them before hiring them. But if you talk to someone else who has been in a car accident and they tell you what happened, you may feel better.
Things to think about when looking for personal injury lawyers
Think about other things you’ve done that might help you make a good choice. Here are some important things to keep in mind as you look for the best lawyer for your car accident.
Costs of legal work
You may already be out of pocket because of the accident and the injury it caused. Now, you’ll also have to pay an attorney. Many personal injury lawyers and firms work on contingency, which means that you don’t have to pay them until you get your settlement.
Some lawyers say in their ads that they don’t get paid unless you do. Even though those promises sound good, keep in mind that when there are injuries and property damage in an auto accident claim, the insurance company almost always pays out some money. You don’t want an attorney who is only interested in getting a cut of any settlement you get. You need a lawyer who is willing to help you get fair payment for your injuries.
Personal injury law firms and attorneys usually get a cut of the final judgment amount, usually around a third, instead of billing you for the hours they’ve worked. If the case goes to court, the contingency fee, which is the percentage, can go up.
A lawyer will give you a fee agreement so you know what fees you’ll have to pay, no matter what happens with your case. Fees should be a big part of how you choose an attorney, but they shouldn’t be the only thing you think about. “You get what you pay for” is a saying that you should never forget. There are times when a more expensive lawyer or law firm is well worth the extra money.
The law says that a law firm has to do what is best for its clients, but not all of them do. If you’re looking for more than just your medical bills, a personal injury firm with a reputation for quick settlements might not be the best choice. If you need to make up for lost wages or a doctor told you that you might have health problems in the future because of the accident, you need a law firm that will fight for a fair settlement instead of just giving you a quick check. A law firm that tries to settle cases as quickly and cheaply as possible is no better than the insurance company you’re fighting.
Remember that not every case is worth more than an insurance company is willing to pay, even if someone gets hurt. If you don’t have a legal right to compensation, an honest lawyer will tell you.
Even if it seems like all you need is a good, cheap lawyer, you shouldn’t forget about how well they can talk to you. You’re starting a relationship that will need you to talk to each other and trust each other. There will be a lot to ask about your case and the legal process, and you want to work with someone who is not only willing to answer any questions you have but who can also talk to you like a regular person and not another lawyer.
On the other hand, be wary of a lawyer who wants to meet with you too often. Most likely, they’re going to charge you for that extra time. Few lawyers try to get more money out of their clients in this way, but it does happen. Having an attorney who is clear about their fees and when they will bill you can help you avoid this.
You want a lawyer who is clear and who keeps the lines of communication open. Choose a company that answers the phone right away and gets back to you, no matter how simple your questions are. During the first meeting, you should get a sense of how well an attorney or law firm communicates.
Why hiring an experienced car accident lawyer is a good idea
Most of the time, you need to hire an auto accident lawyer if you want to get more money than what your insurer’s personal injury protection (PIP) covers. A lawyer can help you get money in the following ways if they think the law says you should get it.
After a car accident, you are usually entitled to money to cover the total cost of fixing your car and paying for medical bills related to your injuries. It’s pretty easy to figure out how much the damage to your car is worth. Auto insurers look at things like the value and condition of your car before the accident and how much it will cost to fix. But figuring out how much money you should get for your injuries is much harder, which is why hiring a lawyer can be so helpful.
Damages for injuries are based on the type and amount of medical care that was given. A lawyer or law firm with a lot of experience will know that they need to get all relevant medical records and other proof to show how bad the injuries were.
Personal injury lawyers will also figure out how much money the client has lost now and in the future. If you can’t go back to work, they’ll pay for any occupational therapy you might need or any training that can help you get a less physically demanding job.
Your lawyer will also think about the pain and suffering you’ve been through. Trauma can hurt you emotionally as well as physically, especially if your injury makes your life hard in a big way. Maybe the accident has left you with long-term pain or even PTSD. Your lawyer will do everything they can to help you get money for all of these things.
Medical bills are paid for
The PIP part of auto insurance is designed to cover a lot of the medical costs that come up after an accident. Still, neither your insurance nor the insurance of the other driver may pay for your medical costs. PIP usually pays for the following medical costs:
- Hospital or doctor visits
- Aids for health, like crutches or a wheelchair
- Therapy for the body
- Chiropractic care
- Counseling for mental health
Other medical costs that might not be covered include making changes to your home, like adding a ramp for a wheelchair. If you have hurt your back, you might need a different kind of bed.
Your lawyer will also think about any medical costs that will come up in the future because of the accident. For example, you might need to keep going to physical therapy or have more surgeries. Again, a lawyer can help you get a settlement that pays for your current and future medical bills.
Find the lawyer you need to help you with your car accident
The best lawyer for a car accident is one who has fought auto insurance companies in and out of court a lot. Make sure you take the time to learn about your options and choose an attorney or firm with reasonable fees and a good reputation. A serious injury from an auto accident can hurt you physically and financially for years, so you want to hire someone you can trust to help you get all the money you deserve.
The information on this page is only for educational purposes. It is not meant to be legal advice, and it does not create a relationship between an attorney and a client. Money is not a law firm or a service that helps people find lawyers. The results are not a given. The choice of which lawyer to hire can be important, and you shouldn’t just use the information on this page to make your choice. For specific legal advice, you should talk to a lawyer.