If you’ve gotten involved in an auto accident, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel flustered. You’re likely worried about your car, your health, and what the next steps are in getting the help you need.
With a qualified auto accident attorney, you’ll have someone on your side. Your attorney represents you in court, fights for your rights, and works to ensure you’re given what you’re entitled to.
But how do you know what attorney is right for you? We’ve outlined the top questions to ask and ensure you’re in good hands.
Read on and learn what you should find out from a potential attorney before you ask them to take your case.
1. Explain the Details of Your Case First to Ensure a Fit
It’s important to gather the details of your accident and present them to your potential auto accident attorney. When describing your case at your first meeting, it’s important not to leave anything out.
This allows your attorney to gain a better understanding of how difficult the case is, what you’re up against, and what your odds are of getting compensation. Even if you were at fault or your car is damaged beyond belief and you’re out of work, be honest with the attorney.
The details you provide in this first meeting have information that is useful and could put you at an advantage when your case gets presented.
No matter what, come prepared to discuss the case and ask the attorney questions, before you commit to anything.
2. Find Out What Kind of Experience the Auto Accident Attorney Has
One of the most important things to find out about at your first meeting with the attorney is what kind of experience they have in various auto cases. Compile a list of questions, and make sure to get a feel for previous work they’ve handled.
Questions to ask include:
- How long have you practiced personal injury law?
- Do you mainly handle auto accidents? If no, have you ever had an auto accident case before?
- How many of your cases get settled and how many go to trial?
- Do you have specific experience regarding helping victims dealing with medical problems not covered by health insurance as the result of an auto accident?
- What is your education, and do you belong to any organizations for your profession?
Knowing the details to these questions allows you to feel confident and make an informed decision. You’ll gain a better perspective of what your attorney dealt with in previous cases, and know if he or she can work with you on your case.
3. Learn What The Attorney Thinks of Your Case
After asking basic questions and relaying the details of your accident to the attorney, it’s important to find out what he or she thinks. Their opinion determines if you have a case, and what they believe it entails.
Your case might be something that could get settled out of court, thereby eliminating time, money and issues in relation to what you’ve already experienced. The auto accident attorney might believe that even though you have a case, it’s likely it’ll end up at trial.
By getting the attorney’s opinion of your case, you’ll know what to expect. This includes how long the case might go on for if you’d be entitled to compensation or other assistance, and your likelihood of winning the case overall.
Attorneys at The Brown Firm talk with potential clients and assess their needs, before determining what happens with a possible case.
4. Find Out How Cases Get Handled at This Attorney’s Law Firm
No matter what type of attorney you’ve had in the past, your auto accident attorney might handle things differently. Depending on how large the firm is, and if there is someone else better suited to your case, you’ll want to ask questions before you proceed with anything.
Questions to ask your lawyer before deciding if you want to work with them include:
- If the attorney will personally manage your case, or give it to someone else at the firm
- How they typically handle the negotiations process
- If you’ll be in touch with the attorney, or if they assign another point of contact to you
- If the auto accident attorney typically has anyone else assist them with the case
- How often you’ll get progress reports, and what type of information gets included
Much of this depends on your needs and what you’re looking for in an attorney. If you want someone hands on, you’ll value talking with the attorney and getting frequent updates from them.
If you’re looking for someone who touches bases with you only when needed, you’ll seek a lawyer with a laid-back style when it comes to working with clients.
There is no correct way to find an attorney based on this. What matters is that you find one with a management style you agree with.
5. Understand the Work Style the Auto Accident Attorney Operates In
Having an attorney is a valuable resource when you’re facing legal action because of an auto accident. Your attorney can provide words of advice and help you figure out what the next steps are in your case.
Given how closely you’ll work with the attorney throughout your case, it’s important to ask and find out how they handle court proceedings once you become a client. Doing so saves you frustration when things go differently than you expect.
Find out how the auto accident attorney plans on approaching the case, and how he or she handled cases similar to yours. Ask what their legal philosophy is and what sets them apart from the competition.
One important factor is how the attorney works with clients throughout the case as it changes. Does the attorney make decisions and tell you what to do, or do they ask for your thoughts before proceeding with something?
Knowing the answer to this question puts you at ease, and gives you confidence in the attorney you’ve chosen.
6. Get a Clear Definition of the Legal Fees Structure
Legal fees vary greatly depending on the attorney. Some factors that influence the fees include how long the attorney practiced, if they opera on their own or are part of a law firm, and how much experience they have with your type of case.
Find out if the auto accident attorney charges a retainer, or if fees are paid in another manner. Are you billed hourly, or does the attorney use a contingency fee to charge you for work performed?
It’s important to know if the attorney still requires payment if you don’t win the case. Many people hope for the best when going to court, especially if they stand to gain money from the other party.
If by chance you lose, it’s crucial to determine if you’ll still owe the attorney money for their time spent helping you with your case. This prevents any unwanted surprises, letting you know where your money goes when the case is over.
7. Ask For Previous References If You Feel Unsure
Asking for references might seem intimidating to some people. After all, your auto accident attorney is a person of power; would you really want to distrust their word?
Just like anyone else you’d hire, the attorney is a professional you’re paying to help you win your case. You deserve to know what kind of background they have in dealing with your clients, hence the importance of references.
Any decent attorney is happy to provide references, and usually has glowing reviews from clients about positive experiences with the attorney helping them in their court case, even if things didn’t go exactly as planned.
Getting the chance to talk with previous clients gives you a better idea of who you’re dealing with and helps you avoid instances where you’re caught off guard. You’ll get the chance to talk with someone else who’s been in your shoes, and not worry about taking up too much of the attorney’s time.
Seeking help from an auto accident attorney is difficult if you don’t know how to proceed. Make sure you’re aware of what questions to ask, and you’ll make the most of your time while finding an attorney who is the best fit for you and your case.
No matter what happens with your case, understand that you still have so much to be thankful for. Check out our blog on adopting an attitude of gratitude, and learn how you can live your best life.