5 Things To Consider When Choosing a Car Accident Lawyer

The lawyer you choose could make the difference between a winning and losing outcome. Learn five things to consider when choosing a car accident lawyer.

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Gregg Hollander

January 13, 2023 12:00 AM

Which lawyer you choose for your car accident case could make a difference in the outcome. Experienced attorneys can often get better and faster results because of their knowledge of personal injury law and insurance company procedures.

The right car accident lawyer for your case will not necessarily have the biggest billboards or the most TV commercials. Instead, you should find an attorney who has the right combination of skills and knowledge to handle your car accident case.

What Your Car Accident Lawyer Will Do for You

When you get injured in a car accident, your rights depend on where you live. In no-fault insurance states like Florida, New York, and Massachusetts, you must start your injury claim with your auto insurer. You cannot pursue a claim against the at-fault driver unless you meet certain requirements.

In Florida, for example, your injury must be so serious that your medical expenses and lost income exceed your policy limits. Alternatively, you can pursue an injury claim if your accident caused significant, permanent disabilities or disfigurement.

If you live in a no-fault state and meet the injury threshold or live in a fault-based state, you can seek compensation from the at-fault driver. You start this process by filing a claim against the driver’s liability insurance policy.

The insurer assigns an adjuster to the claim. The adjuster investigates the claim to make sure it’s covered by the policy.

The insurance adjuster might deny the claim if:

  • The policyholder was not at fault for the crash
  • The crash did not cause your injuries
  • You received unnecessary treatment

Your lawyer’s job is to get the insurance company to pay. First, they will evaluate your case to determine its value. Then, they will file your claim and fight any claim denials. After the attorney investigates your claim, they will negotiate with the insurer to try to settle your case.

If the insurer does not offer a fair settlement, you must decide whether to sue the at-fault driver. If you do, your lawyer will prepare the pleadings and file the lawsuit.

After filing the personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer will continue to try to settle your case. But if the case does not settle before trial, they will present your case to a judge or jury.

Choosing the Right Car Accident Lawyer for Your Case

You can find information about lawyers from law firm websites, legal directories, and state bar websites. When you review this information, look for ethics complaints. You should be wary of any lawyer who has a disciplinary history.

After you narrow down the candidates, schedule some initial consultations. Most injury lawyers offer free consultations to prospective clients. A free consultation will give you a chance to ask questions.

Here are five things to consider as you interview car accident lawyers:

How Much the Lawyer Costs

Car accident lawyers charge for legal services. Most injury lawyers charge a contingency fee. This means you will pay them a percentage of the compensation they recover on your behalf.

For example, suppose the lawyer settles your case for $20,000 and charges a 35% contingency fee. The lawyer gets paid $7,000, and you receive $13,000. If the lawyer fails to win or settle the case, you pay nothing.

As you talk to lawyers, make sure you understand how much they charge. Also, ask about litigation costs. Many lawyers require you to reimburse expenses incurred during your case. Knowing your expected legal fees and litigation expenses will help you determine your total costs.

The Lawyer’s Experiences With Similar Cases

The same legal principles apply to all injury cases. But different types of cases have nuances that make them unique.

Pick someone who has experience handling cases similar to yours.

A lawyer who focuses on car accident claims has:

  • Connections with experts in accident reconstruction
  • Knowledge of common car accident injuries and how they happen
  • Experience in dealing with auto insurance companies

Bear in mind that a medical malpractice lawyer might have extraordinary success representing injured patients. But that does not necessarily mean they have the knowledge and skills to handle a car accident case.

How Well the Lawyer Communicates

A lawyer’s primary job is to communicate effectively. They must explain your legal options and provide advice to you. Additionally, they must advocate for your position and negotiate for the best settlement possible. And if your case reaches trial, they must present your evidence and persuade a jury to award you damages.

During your free consultation, think about how adjusters and jurors will respond to the lawyer. Listen to how they explain complex legal topics. Make sure you choose someone you can imagine standing before a judge and jury fighting for you.

The Law Firm’s Support for the Lawyer

Personal injury cases require organization. Make sure your lawyer has the staff to keep your file organized, track deadlines in your case, and prepare witnesses and exhibits for trial. This does not mean you should skip smaller firms. But you should ask each lawyer about their ability to handle your case.

The Lawyer’s Honesty

To get you the best possible outcome, the lawyer needs to believe in your case. However, this doesn’t mean you should choose someone who cheerleads for your case and paints the rosiest picture.

Instead, you want someone who can be brutally honest. This lawyer can identify potential problems and find ways to deal with them. They will also tell you when you have finally received a fair offer and can settle your case.

You might not always like what the lawyer has to say, but their honesty and objectivity will help you get the most out of your claim.

What Happens After You Hire a Car Accident Lawyer To Represent You?

After you choose a lawyer, you will sign a fee agreement. Since your lawyer will probably charge a contingency fee, you will not need to pay any upfront fees.

The lawyer will usually begin working on your case immediately by gathering records and accident reports. Injury claims take time to resolve, and patience will often result in a better outcome. Your case could take months or even longer, so make sure you hire someone with whom you can develop a long-term working relationship.

Gregg Hollander is the founding attorney at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers, a top rated personal injury law firm in Boca Raton, FL. He has over 28+ years of experience and over tens of millions of dollars recovered for injury victims across South Florida. Contact him to schedule a free consultation today.

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