After Your Crash: Tips for Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
From fender benders to head-on collisions, many of us experience car accidents at some point in our lives. Unfortunately, not everyone who experiences an accident knows how to navigate the legal system when we need to go beyond basic insurance compensation and into the territory of handling serious property damage or personal injury situations—many of which end up in front of a court of law.
Fortunately, though, a skilled attorney who specializes in car accidents and all related issues can steer you through the legal processes and provide the representation and, in some cases, get you the compensation you deserve.
Whether you are the injured party or have been accused of being responsible for the accident, you can benefit from these tips for hiring a car accident attorney.
1. Choose an Attorney Who Specializes in Car Accidents
First and foremost, choose an attorney who specializes in car accidents—including severe property damage and personal injury cases (check “Understand Property Damage and Personal Injury Attorneys,” below). After all, you have likely experienced one or both of these situations after an accident. Otherwise, you and the other party could handle the case through your auto insurance companies.
Understand that all attorneys have certain areas of the law in which they specialize. Some focus on family law; others concentrate on product liability cases. Some are more versatile and offer representation covering an array of legal areas including driving under the influence, unemployment, and criminal cases.
So, you wouldn’t want a divorce attorney negotiating with your insurance company about property damages and personal injuries after a car crash, would you?
Also Read : What Damages Can I Recover after a Car Accident?
We didn’t think so.
Make sure you choose an attorney who is skilled in car accident cases. Such a lawyer will be able to handle communications with auto insurance companies, law enforcement, and other involved parties—not to mention the court system, should your case require it.
Today’s technology makes it easy to weed out the attorneys who specialize in other areas of the law and focus on the ones who can help you after your car accident. By all means, utilize the Internet, but do some leg work, too. Ask your friends, family members, and even co-workers about car accident attorneys they’ve hired. How comfortable were they with the lawyer? Do they feel they were fairly represented? What about compensation—did it meet their expectations?
2. Understand Property Damage and Personal Injury Attorneys
Generally, drivers hire car accident attorneys when they’ve experienced severe property damage to their vehicles or other property or they’ve undergone personal injuries, sometimes referred to as bodily injury. Oftentimes, drivers can’t navigate these situations on their own with their auto insurance companies; they need the help of skilled car accident attorneys. These attorneys need to specialize in property damage and personal injury cases for the best possible outcome.
There’s often confusion about property damage and personal injury, so let’s clear that up.
Property damage during a car accident is when any type of property is damaged during a car accident. Such property can include everything from the obvious—such as a vehicle—to the less-than-obvious—such as a building, fence, or even a parking meter.
Basically, any form of inanimate property damaged during an accident is considered to have undergone property damage.
Personal injury (again, often referred to as bodily injury) is when a person’s body has experienced injury during a car accident. Personal injury can happen to you, the other driver, and anyone else involved in the accident including, but not limited to, passengers, pedestrians, and even bike riders.
Bodily injury can range in severity. Sometimes, a person experiences whiplash; sometimes, sprained body parts or broken bones. Imagine any type of injury you can sustain during a car accident, and file it away under personal injury.
Also Read : 3 Most Common Personal Injury Cases
3. Evaluate Your Car Accident Attorney Consultation
Most of us shop around for the best services possible, so it only makes sense to take some time to meet with a few different car accident attorneys and evaluate your consultations. Ask questions of both your potential lawyers and yourself.
For example, you might ask each attorney:
What are your legal fees? Do you charge up front, or only if I receive compensation?
What additional costs might I accrue during the process?
Do you specialize in car accidents?
What experience do you have with property damage and personal injury cases?
How long have you been practicing law related to car accidents, property damage, and personal injury?
Do you cover accidents beyond basic passenger vehicles? For example, what if I was involved in a motorcycle accident or crashed my big rig?
Generally, what is your success rate?
How much time do you have to dedicate to my case?
How often will we be in communication?
What is your current workload? Will it take long to make appointments with you?
- Will you outsource work such as research to any assistants, and if so, how much experience do they have?
Of course, you must ask yourself a few questions, too, such as:
Can I afford this attorney? Am I fine with paying for services upfront, or would I rather work with a lawyer who only gets paid if I am compensated?
Did I feel comfortable with his or her answers?
Does he or she have a high success rate? How is that likely to affect my case?
Am I willing to hire a fairly new attorney, or do I want someone more seasoned?
Does the attorney have too heavy a workload for my needs? Will I be able to meet or speak with him or her as often as I’d like?
Do I want the attorney to handle all the work, or is it alright if he or she utilizes his or her legal team?
- Did the attorney seem focused on me and my needs, or did I feel rushed through the consultation?
Likely, you will think of additional questions to ask both your potential car accident lawyer and yourself as the process moves forward. Don’t be afraid to make notes or even call the attorney after your consultation if other concerns arise.
Remember, a significant part of your future is at stake, and you want an attorney in whom you can place your utmost confidence.
Need a Car Accident Attorney?
If you need a car accident attorney in the Ormond Beach and surrounding areas, contact the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton at (386) 267-6372. You will receive a free consultation regarding your car accident, including information about how to handle any property damage or personal injury situations.
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