When something as stressful as a car accident occurs, it is a good idea to consider consulting a legal professional to help ease your fears about just how to handle the multitude of problems that can arise. You want only the best legal advice, so you must ask yourself five important questions before you choose the best car accident lawyer:
1.) How much experience do they have with car accident cases?
You want to know if the lawyer you choose has a track record of winning these type of cases already. So, ask how long they have been a practicing attorney and if car accidents are their area of expertise. If they have other specialties in their practice, then find out, on average, how many car accident cases they have each year and their success rate in settling and how many usually go to trial.
2.) How well did they assess my case?
Give them a thorough description of the incident and the injuries that you sustained in the accident. Then, ask them to give their best assessment of your chances for a positive outcome if you were to hire their services. Also, ask them if they have handled many cases that are similar to yours, specifically related to the injuries that you sustained like back injury cases, neck injury cases, and other types of long-term disability cases. Listen for specifics pertaining to the types of financial settlements that occurred and what factors were in the victim’s favor. Make sure the details seem to be realistic and not exaggerated to just get you to sign on the dotted line. They should also be able to tell you, realistically, if you will be able to settle the case or have to go to trial.
3.) What is their style of legal representation?
Just because a car accident lawyer sounds good on paper doesn’t mean you will like the way they approach your case, so ask them some important questions about how they actually practice law and assess if it will work for you. Let them describe to you how they would typically handle a professional relationship with a client in terms of contacting them on a regular basis or more of a hands-off approach and letting their assistants or paralegals handle most communications. Also, ask them if they will leave most decisions up to you or will they just tell you what to do?
4.) What is their organizational approach to a case?
No one wants a case to be unnecessarily dragged on for months or even years. So, it is important to know up front how the car accident lawyer you will choose manages their cases. Find out if they will only be handling the case or if several lawyers will be responsible for the workload–this includes court appearances, depositions, and negotiating settlements. Also, find out if you will get a progress report from them on a regular basis and what that report will include.
5.) What types of legal fees do they charge?
There are legal costs that can be incurred before a lawyer even begins to work for you, so you need to know all of the pertinent questions to ask regarding several types of fees. First, find out if there is a fee to retain the services before work begins and how many lawyers that retainer fee covers. Second, ask if the fees are an hourly rate or on a contingency basis. It is also important to know if there are any costs associated with other types of expenses beyond paper filing and lawyers. This might be hiring a third party to investigate something who does not work directly for the law office. Finally, determine if there will be any costs incurred if the case is not a successful one. Some lawyers do have a minimum estimated cost no matter the outcome of a case, so find out in advance.
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