If you have been injured in an auto accident and are seeking legal representation for your claim, it's a good idea to meet with several different attorneys. Many auto accident attorneys offer free consultations, where you will meet with the attorney and discuss what occurred during the accident in detail. This initial consultation is very important for both you and the attorney — it allows you to ensure that the attorney is experienced with these types of cases and allows the attorney to judge the strength of your case. When you're meeting with an auto accident attorney to discuss your case, here are the most important questions to ask.
How Much Experience Does the Attorney Have Litigating Auto Accident Cases?
A lawyer that has fought and won many auto accident cases in court is preferable. Some lawyers take on all types of cases rather than focusing on a single field. In general, you should make sure that your attorney specializes in auto accident cases in order to give your claim the greatest chance of success. Auto accident attorneys are familiar with fighting these cases and know what tactics insurance companies employ. They may also have a solid working relationship with expert witnesses such as doctors and physical therapists that can help prove the extent of your injuries in court.
Another thing to look for is experience working in the insurance industry — some auto accident attorneys or members of their staff may have worked previously representing insurance companies in court cases, giving them an excellent idea of what an insurance company will do in order to fight your claim.
How Does the Attorney Feel About the Strength of Your Case?
You should ask prospective attorneys how they feel about your case — is it a solid case with a good chance of winning in court? As part of the initial consultation, you'll need to provide all the details of the accident, a description of your injuries, and information about all of the medical care you have received. Don't leave anything out, as a prospective auto accident attorney will need to hear every pertinent detail of your case in order to judge its suitability for court. For example, you need to inform your attorney if you were talking on a cellphone or texting when the accident occurred. Once an attorney has all of the details of your case, he or she will be able to judge its strength and give you an accurate description of your chances in court.
How Much Will the Attorney Charge for His or Her Services?
Many attorneys who take personal injury cases will work on a contingency basis, and this includes auto accident attorneys. This means that you're not typically not responsible for paying the attorney any of your own personal funds — his or her compensation for taking the case will be taken out of the settlement you receive. Attorneys differ in how much of a percentage they take, and some have sliding scale fees that result in them taking a larger percentage of the money from a small settlement in order to adequately cover the costs of working the case. When you talk with an attorney, ask how much you should expect to receive in a settlement or judgment based on his or her personal experience fighting auto accident cases, and then ask how much of that money will be paid to the attorney and how much you will receive.
While meeting with several auto accident attorneys to discuss your case may be difficult when you are recovering from the injuries caused by your accident, it's an important part of making sure that you get the legal representation you deserve. Schedule consultations with multiple attorneys, making sure that you give them every detail of your accident so they can accurately judge your case, and then select one with experience working auto accident cases who can get you all of the compensation you deserve from your claim.