About three million people sustain injuries in the six million crashes that occur in the US each year. Another two million drivers develop permanent injuries that affect their quality of life.
About 6% of all crashes end in fatalities, with 27% causing non-fatal injuries. If you have an auto accident case, picking an auto accident attorney is essential. With their help, you can fight for compensation.
Not sure how to choose a lawyer? Read on to discover the 10 factors you should consider today.
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To build a list of options for attorneys, turn to people in your inner circle you trust. If you can, speak to anyone who sustained an auto accident injury in the past. Ask if they can refer you to an auto accident attorney.
Otherwise, check online directories like the Martindale-Hubbell law firm directory. Your local bar association website can provide you with a list as well.
When speaking to friends and family, ask about their time working alongside their attorney. Draft a list of questions to ask about their auto accident claim. For example:
- Was the lawyer experienced
- Did they thoroughly understand local laws
- What resources did they use
- Do they work for a large firm
- Did they keep you informed
- Would you hire them again
- Are their fees reasonable
- Did you experience issues
If you build a list of local attorneys using an online directory, check for online reviews. Asking these questions and reading reviews can help you find a reputable attorney. Look for an attorney with a glowing reputation that people don’t hesitate to recommend.
You might find a few complaints about the lawyer’s professionalism or responsiveness online. Remove these lawyers from your list of options.
Finding a lawyer who already has a glowing, five-star reputation can help you feel confident in their ability to handle your case.
Do not hire an attorney without double-checking their credentials.
First, look into their education. To become an auto accident lawyer, they should have:
- A Bachelor’s Degree
- Passed the Law School Admission Test
- Gotten admission to law school
- A Juris Doctor Law Degree
- Passed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination
- Passed the bar exam for your state
Confirm that each lawyer on your list is licensed to practice in the state by checking your local bar association website.
Determine if they have any other certifications or professional memberships. Look for members of the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Determine if they have Board Certification in Civil Trial Law.
You may find Certified Civil Pre-Trial Practice Advocates through the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. Look for a Certified Litigation Management Professional with the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys.
Lawyers with these credentials have additional qualifications and experience that can benefit your lawsuit.
Determine how long each attorney has practiced in your state. Consider how long they’ve specialized in personal injury and auto accident law.
A lawyer with years of experience is better equipped to navigate the complexities of your case. They’ll have a better understanding of the laws and regulations surrounding auto accidents in your area.
They’ll also have an easier time navigating the legal process efficiently or negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf.
A lawyer who lacks years of experience, on the other hand, might make mistakes that hurt your case.
You can click here for more information about auto accident claims.
Consider the specific details relevant to your case. Auto accident lawyers take on a mix of lawsuits, which can involve:
- Uber/Lyft rideshares
Perhaps you were in an auto accident that involved a drunk driver, speeding, or texting and driving scenario. Over 50% of the five million crashes that occur annually are caused by aggressive drivers. Speeding is the most prevalent contributor to these crashes.
About 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving. If you lost a loved one in such a crash, you might need a lawyer with wrongful death experience.
Determine if your auto accident case requires a lawyer with specific experience and expertise. A lawyer who specializes in cases like yours will have more in-depth knowledge about the laws involved. They might use their recent case experience to benefit your case as well.
If they only recently started specializing in auto accident claims, remove them from your list.
5. Case History
It’s not enough to find a lawyer who claims they’re experienced. Ask about their recent cases as well. Determine how often they take on auto accident cases like yours.
Then, ask how many of those cases they won versus lost. Determine how many of those wins were recent.
Look for an attorney with a long track record of wins behind them. Their case history can speak to their ability to win your case. Consider asking how much they were able to win for each client as well.
Ask each attorney on your list how many cases they’re currently handling. If they’re juggling too many cases at once, they might not dedicate time to your case. If they’re not handling any cases at all, they might have an issue finding clients.
Look for a lawyer who is easy to reach and able to dedicate time to your case. Make sure they don’t intend to hand your case off to a less experienced attorney.
Finding someone who is available to handle your case will ensure your lawsuit receives the attention it deserves. If the lawyer is always occupied and unable to answer your calls for a consultation, remove them from your list.
Determine how they intend to keep you informed as well. How often will you receive updates? If they don’t plan to keep you up-to-date, keep searching.
They likely won’t have time for your case when legal proceedings begin.
Determine what resources the lawyer has at their disposal and how those resources can benefit your case. A lawyer with access to resources is better equipped to strengthen your auto accident claim.
For example, they might rely on legal professionals, medical experts, and professionals.
Medical experts can discuss your auto accident injury and how it might affect your quality of life long term. Perhaps you’re no longer able to work or able to work but at a diminished capacity. You might start earning less money as a result.
Maybe you weren’t able to gather evidence while at the site of the crash. Your lawyer might call an investigator to gather evidence that proves the other driver was negligent. Proving the driver was negligent can help strengthen your claim.
Learn about the size of their law firm as well. Small firms will struggle to take on multiple cases. If they’re spread too thin, they might not build the strongest case on your behalf.
Look for lawyers with strong communication skills who exude confidence. These lawyers will have an easier time speaking on your behalf.
Try to find attorneys with strong analytical skills. They’ll have an easier time analyzing evidence in front of them to strengthen your case.
Ask each lawyer what legal strategy they intend to use for your lawsuit. They should adapt the strategy based on the details of your case.
Schedule a consultation appointment to meet with at least three local attorneys in person. Meeting them in person will help you determine if you’re comfortable working with them. Look for a lawyer who puts you at ease.
If for whatever reason you don’t trust the attorney, remove them from your list.
Look for someone who takes the time to actively listen to your concerns and goals. Try to find an attorney who can collaborate with you to accomplish those goals. These lawyers will work with your needs and best interests in mind.
Before selecting a lawyer, learn more about each attorney’s fee structure.
Some lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. They only anticipate a payment for their services if they win your case. If they do win your auto accident case, they’ll only request a percentage of your winnings.
If multiple lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, compare the winnings percentage they’re requesting.
Comparing attorney fees shouldn’t majorly affect your final decision. Instead, look for a lawyer who can fight on your behalf and maximize your claim.
Look for lawyers who are transparent about their charges, too. If they demand upfront fees, remove them from your list. Avoid lawyers who require payment before they obtain compensation from your case as well.
These lawyers aren’t fighting with your best interests in mind.
A lawyer who asks for payment after winning your case will feel obligated to fight harder to maximize your claim.
Simplify Picking an Auto Accident Attorney
Picking an auto accident attorney after a crash can feel exhausting and time-consuming. Simplify the process by searching for lawyers with these 10 qualities. Choosing an attorney based on these factors will ensure you find a lawyer with relevant experience and expertise.
With their help, you can fight for the compensation you rightfully deserve.
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