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Questions to Ask When Hiring Car Accident Lawyers
Being an automobile accident victim can be overwhelming, and if you're thinking about hiring an attorney, you may not know how to tell which lawyer is right for you. This article discusses how to screen potential automobile accident lawyers in an effort to find the best auto accident injury lawyer for your case.
There are three basic steps to hiring an car accident attorney or any kind of personal injury lawyer:
- Gather the names of qualified lawyers who could handle your case.
- Schedule a meeting, called an initial consultation, to discuss your case. This meeting is also your opportunity to learn more about the lawyer's experience, skills, education, style, strategy, and fees.
- Based on the information you gathered during your initial consultation, hire the car crash attorney you think is best qualified to handle your case.
Questions to Ask Car Accident Lawyers
Before your first initial consultation, you'll want to make some notes about things you'd like to discuss with the car accident lawyer and questions you want to ask.
You should outline the details of your automobile accident because the attorney needs that information to assess your case. Make written notes, so you don't forget any important details during the meeting.
You should also make a list of questions that you'd like to ask the lawyer. These questions are intended to help you learn more about the automobile accident lawyer and decide whether to hire him or her to handle your case. Ask questions that will help you make that decision.
Background & Experience
Begin the meeting by asking about the lawyer's education and professional experience. Suggested questions include:
- How long have you practiced personal injury law?
- Does your practice consist solely of representing auto accident victims, or do you do other types of legal work as well?
- On average, how many automobile accident victims do you represent each year?
- How many auto accident injury lawsuits do you settle each year? How many cases do you take to trial each year?
- Have you frequently handled cases similar to mine?
- Which law school did you attend, and when did you graduate?
- Do you belong to any bar associations or professional organizations? If so, which ones?
- Do you have any special experience representing victims of auto accident who have back injuries, neck injuries, or other injuries that may cause lifelong medical problems?
Assessment of Your Case
Take some time to describe your automobile accident and associated injuries, then ask the lawyer for his or her opinion of your case. Relevant questions to ask include:
- What is your assessment of my case?
- What kind of financial settlement or judgment can I realistically expect to receive?
- What factors work in our favor? What factors could work against us
- Is it likely that we'll have to go to trial?
- Is arbitration or mediation an option?
- How long do you expect it would take to complete my case?
Legal Philosophy & Style
Discuss the automobile accident lawyer's approach and style when it comes to practicing law. Among the questions to consider asking:
- How would you describe your philosophy or approach to practicing law?
- What is your approach to handling auto accident injury cases?
- What is your style when working with clients? Will you ask me to make decisions or will you to tell me what I should do?
Questions to ask about how your car crash injury lawsuit will be managed include:
- Will you personally manage my case, or will another attorney manage it?
- Will you handle negotiations and court appearances?
- Will you be my day-to-day contact?
- Will other attorneys in your firm or experts work on my case? What work will they do?
- Will you provide progress reports? How frequently? What will be included in those reports?
- What is the best way to reach you? How quickly do you typically respond?
Questions to ask about the estimated cost of your case include:
- Do you charge a contingency fee or hourly rate?
- If we do not get a settlement or win the case, will I have to pay you any money?
- Do you charge a retainer fee?
- What other expenses will I have to pay? Can you estimate their total?
- Can you do show me some examples of how much money I would take home after legal fees and expenses?
Finishing Your Meeting
Before the meeting ends, ask the car accident lawyer if there is anything important you didn't discuss. Is there anything you should know before deciding which attorney to hire? You can also ask the attorney for references from past clients.
After the meeting is complete but before too much time elapses, take some time to make some notes and record your impressions about the lawyer. What did you like and dislike? Did the attorney tell you anything particularly memorable? How much did the attorney estimate you could win and how much of that would you get to keep?
Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
Once you've met with all of the lawyers you're considering, then it's time to pick the one you want to hire. Reflect on your meetings, and think about whether there's one attorney who is the best person to handle your case. If there is, you'll have an easy time making up your mind. If you're torn between several, think about both the objective criteria-Does the attorney have the necessary skills and experience? How much does the attorney charge?-and the subjective criteria-Did you feel comfortable with the attorney? Do you trust the attorney's judgment?
Once you've found the best auto accident attorney for your case, you're ready to move forward.