Hiring an attorney is a cumbersome task. More likely than not, if you are looking for a car accident attorney, you are juggling many stressful tasks all at once. If you are in a car accident, your life probably revolves around recovery and visits to the doctor, which take away precious time from your normal life and family. We understand that finding the right attorney for you is just another task added on top of all of this, and so this article is for yours truly.
When hiring your attorney, it’s important that they check all the right boxes so you know that you are getting representation that will yield the best outcome for you. In this article, you will learn exactly what you need to look for in a personal injury attorney from their experience to the way they handle their cases. Choosing the right attorney is a big deal. Here are some questions to keep in mind.
1. What kind of cases do you handle?
Any lawyer can practice any type of law, but personal injury law is complicated and you want to make sure your lawyer knows what he/she is doing. There is a lot about car accident claims that an attorney only learns through years of practice and experience. In other words, you will do far better with an attorney who handles only personal injury law than with a lawyer who handles 90% criminal defense and DUI law and 10% personal injury law. You don’t want a lawyer who is learning about car accident claims while he/she is representing you!
Experience does matter. Even if a lawyer has been practicing for several years, it does not mean that lawyer is well versed in auto accidents. You don’t want an inexperienced lawyer miss something crucial with your claim that will negatively affect you in the future! A good car accident lawyer knows how to deal with insurance companies and adjusters, knows how to negotiate your claim from a position of strength, and also knows how to search out available insurance benefits available to you.
2. How do I know you will fight for my case?
One of the main reasons I chose to become a lawyer is because I am passionate about helping people. For the majority of my career, I have represented individuals. I was a public defender representing a marginalized population charged with crimes and today I represent individuals hurt in car accidents obtain justice from large insurance companies. In my career, I have been in countless jury trials, mediations, and arbitrations. If you want to fight your case in the courtroom, I am all for it. Although most cases settle outside of court, sometimes the only way to obtain a favorable settlement is to fight and win in court. It is important to have a lawyer with trial experience who is not afraid to stand up to insurance companies.
3. Who will be handling my case?
When you hire a lawyer, the common expectation is that the lawyer you hired will be the one you will be working with. However, in some firms, this is not always the case. It is common for clients to get passed off to paralegals or associates instead. In my office, I am personally involved in every single case I take on. If you have a question, I will be the one answering it. If you have a deposition or a court date, I will be the one by your side.
4. What kind of negotiation experience do you have?
Negotiating offers to settle is a learned skill and it comes with practice and experience. Insurance adjustors do this for a living and are sneaky good at minimizing losses for their company. Because of this, it is important that the attorney whom represents you is just as qualified in negotiating to get you exactly what you deserve.
Having worked as an insurance defense lawyer before, I have learned how insurance companies evaluate claims and how they defend these claims in court. From this experience, I have a unique advantage of knowing the defense’s tactics and strategies because I have once stood in their shoes.
5. Do we get along?
In addition to experience, an often-overlooked quality of an attorney is likeability. When hiring an attorney, it’s important that you actually like them as a person as well as an attorney. Ensure that their values and goals for you fall in line with your own. From the time that you hire your attorney, to the time you settle your case, you will have gone on a journey with your lawyer. Having the ability to freely communicate with your attorney and to have confidence in their ability to proficiently represent you should make the entire legal process much less of a burden for you.
We know that hiring an attorney can be stressful, especially in times where you have a million other things to juggle and worry about. We hope that this chapter will help you in your process of hiring the right attorney for you. Remember, the goal is for your attorney to handle the legal side of your case so that you can focus on recovering and getting back to your old self.