After a car accident, most people know they should report the crash to the police and their insurance company. But what about after that? At what point does it make sense to get a car accident attorney?
Not every car accident justifies having a personal injury attorney. For example, if the accident is a minor fender bender with less than $1000 in damages and no injuries, the case can typically be handled by the insurance companies for the drivers involved. Consider looking for a lawyer if:
- You’ve suffered severe injuries. Any incident that involves going to the hospital, loss of work, staying overnight in the hospital or paying expensive medical bills is worth legal action.
- There’s a dispute about fault. It’s not always immediately clear who is responsible for damage in a car wreck. In many states, your potential settlement or verdict award could be reduced by your percentage of blame for the crash. Your compensation could easily be cut in half or more if you are found partially at fault for the accident.
- The settlement offer is low. People injured in a crash are often in financial distress and are willing to settle for very low amounts. Most insurance adjusters will make an initial low offer to see if you will settle for much less than you are owed.
Should you find yourself in one of these circumstances, you’ll want to consult with a lawyer. Finding the proper attorney for your lawsuit could be one of the most important decisions you ever make. Conduct careful research and choose an attorney who has years of experience handling a car accident case like yours. Follow these tips to select the attorney that is right for you:
Know What You Are Looking For
Before you start looking for a lawyer, it’s important to understand what is most important to you as a potential client. What you are looking for can vary based upon the type of case, your own personality, and region of the country. When you find a firm that interests you, consider the following:
First, look at the entire law firm and not just the most well-known partner in the firm. Remember that the people that you interact with most may not be the big name attorney in the organization. You could be working with junior attorneys and paralegals more than anyone else. Understand the firm’s age, size, and experience in personal injury law. If the law firm has awards and leadership awards, these can be good signs.
Next, consider the firm’s judicial connections. Determine if attorneys in the firm are active in your local bar association and whether they contribute to political campaigns. It’s also worth asking how often they go to trial. Most cases settle out of court, but if yours goes to trial, you want an attorney with a strong track record of verdicts.
Of course, your personal rapport with the attorney can be one of the most important factors. You need to be able to communicate well with your lawyer to get the results you want. Note your comfort level during the initial consultation appointment and consider how you feel about the attorney taking up your fight for justice.
Talk with Friends and Family
Car accidents happen all too often. Chances are good, someone close to you has been involved in one locally. Chat with friends and loved ones about their experiences with area car accident attorneys. While it’s good to seek their advice, it’s important to make your own decision about hiring an attorney. Don’t select a law firm solely based on the advice of someone you know. Instead, use their insight to help inform your search and narrow the field.
If you or someone you know is friendly with an area attorney, it may be worth asking for their recommendation for a local personal injury lawyer. Even if the mutual friend doesn’t practice law in that field, they may know a trustworthy attorney they can recommend. This kind of networking can really pay off!
Consult a Legal Referral Service
State and local bar associations have legal referral services where the names of lawyers that are licensed in the state are listed by specialty. You still should try to get reviews from consumers of any attorneys that you get through this method. These services can help you start your search, but it’s important not to just select the first one from a list. Research pays off.
Check with Lawsuit Info Center
Our website can help you to find a good personal injury attorney in your part of the country or state. The attorneys in our database are all highly qualified and experienced in personal injury law in their state.