Questions to Ask a Car Accident Attorney Before Hiring
If you're looking to take legal action after a car accident, you need the right car accident attorney on your side. Here are 7 questions to ask before hiring.
Have you or someone you know been in a car accident recently?
If so, you may need to hire a car accident attorney. This can make all the difference in getting you the compensation you need to help with medical bills, time off work, and more.
However, if you don't know the right questions to ask a car accident attorney, you might end up hiring the wrong attorney. Ask the right questions, and you can be confident that you've hired the right person for the job.
Wondering what those questions are? Keep reading to find out!
1. What's Your Contingency Fee?
Almost all personal injury lawyers, including car accident lawyers, charge based on contingency fees. This means you won't pay anything up front for their legal services, and if you aren't awarded any damages, you won't owe your lawyer any fees.
However, if you are awarded money damages, then you'll pay your lawyer's contingency fee, which will be a percentage of the award. The percentage usually ranges from 25 to 40 percent of the total award.
Although it's tempting to just hire the person with the lowest contingency fee, that isn't always the best idea. Pay attention to the attorney's qualifications. A better-qualified attorney with a higher fee is often a better choice than a less-qualified attorney with a low fee.
2. What Will I Pay if I Lose?
In addition to the contingency fee, you should find out if you'll owe anything if you lose the case.
Some car accident lawyers charge for out-of-pocket or case-related costs, too. It's important to find out if you'll be paying those costs in case you lose. Otherwise, you could get hit with a large bill that you weren't expecting.
3. Is This Your First Car Accident Case?
If you're hiring a personal injury lawyer, you'll want to be sure that they've handled car accident cases like yours before. However, your best bet is often to hire a car accident attorney who has lots of experience in the field.
Don't forget to ask about outcomes, as well as prior experience. All the experience in the world means nothing if they lose almost every case!
One of the best ways to find out about prior outcomes is to speak to past clients. Ask if you can have a conversation with references.
If they are reluctant to give you this information, it's not a good sign - they might not have had any successful prior cases at all.
4. How Much Time Will You Offer My Case?
As your car accident attorney for a realistic estimate of how much time they are willing to spend on your case.
You'll want to avoid lawyers that take on tons of cases at a time, and don't have much time to spend on each individual case.
When you've been in a car accident, it's important to get the case moving forward right away. You might be racking up medical bills, spending time away from work to recover, or struggling until you can get your car fixed or replaced.
A good car accident attorney will devote the time needed to get your case underway and start moving toward a successful outcome quickly.
5. How Long Before My Case is Resolved?
Legal cases are notoriously long affairs, and it can be hard to predict exactly how long a case will take.
However, an experienced attorney should be able to give you an estimate of how long it will take your case to be resolved. They can clue you in on the different factors that affect the time it will take.
They should also tell you what they'll do to move the case along faster. Although there are some factors they can't control, they should want to get it resolved as fast as they can.
6. How Successful Are You at Trial?
First, ask if they think your case will go to trial at all. If they are certain that it will settle instead, you might want to find a different attorney. A good car accident attorney preps for every case to go to trial.
This preparation will help in the settlement negotiations because you'll have racked up a lot of evidence on the chance that your case will be tried. Even if it doesn't go to trial, you'll likely get a larger settlement if your lawyer prepared with the possibility of a trial in mind.
7. What's the Value of My Case?
Experienced attorneys will also be able to give you a ballpark estimate of the value of your case. If they've done this many times before, they'll have a rough idea of how much each case is worth.
They'll likely give you a range of numbers. However, they should also be able to explain the various factors that can affect where your case falls along that range.
If the estimate sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't hire the lawyer that gives you the biggest number - hire the lawyer that gives you the most information to back it up.
8. Who Will Be My Contact on the Case?
Be sure to ask a law firm which specific attorney will be handling your case.
Sometimes, a firm will advertise their senior partner as the person in charge of your case, but hand the case off to someone less experience as soon as you've signed the agreement.
Make sure to get a clear answer on who will be your contact when you have questions or information about your case. If they tell you a less-experienced attorney will be in charge, ask who their supervisor is going to be.
Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney?
Being in a car accident can be a terrible thing. Your health, finances, and peace of mind are all on the line after such a disruptive event.
However, a good attorney can lift the weight of worry from your shoulders, giving you the confidence to move forward. As long as you ask these questions and know which answers to look for, you'll be able to make the right choice.
Need a great attorney on your side? Contact us today - we have the answers you want to hear.