How to Choose a Car Accident Lawyer
When you have been involved in a car accident it is important to know how to choose an attorney. Very different results can occur in your case based on your choice of attorney. Therefore, when choosing an accident attorney you will want to spend some time researching who will be the best representative for your car accident claim.
Once you have a list of attorneys with experience in car accident or personal injury claims, you should find out their record of success in overseeing cases like yours. A strong record of success demonstrates expertise and experience in handling accident claims. If a car accident attorney has won numerous other cases like yours, it is a good indicator that he or she will have the experience necessary to handle your case.
Another thing you want to know about your potential car accident attorney is if they have experience trying cases like yours. It is important to have a lawyer with a good reputation as a trial lawyer even if you are planning on settling your claim outside of court; you may need to go to trial to receive fair compensation for your damages and/or injuries. Also, insurance companies tend to offer larger settlements if your attorney has a reputation as a good trial lawyer as insurance companies generally want to avoid going to court. A good trial lawyer will give you the type of attention that your case deserves and help you obtain the recovery you are entitled to.
You also want to know if your potential lawyer charges a contingency fee or an hourly rate. Most car accident lawyers use a contingency fee, where you do not have to pay the attorney upfront. Rather, they receive a percentage of your award or settlement (usually 1/3) as compensation for their work. That means the attorney has to be successful to be paid for his or her services. While it is common practice for car accident lawyers to charge a contingency fee for their services, never assume this to be true. If the attorney will work for you on a contingency basis, ask what percentage of the recovery they will take and how additional costs of litigation will be calculated. Always ask how the attorney will be compensated for their work.
It is also good to know if your potential accident lawyer belongs to their state’s Trial Lawyers Association and/or the American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America). Involvement in these organizations shows a commitment to promoting fair and effective justice. Other things to consider are years of experience, what law school the attorney attended and any additional training they may have.
Once you have gathered all of this information about your potential car accident lawyer, compare the qualifications of all the accident attorneys you researched and select the attorney who has the most experience handling your type of claim and has the best record, the best trial experience, and the best character. Often times, the money recovered for you may be directly correlated to the quality of the lawyer you choose.