It’s a good idea to enlist the assistance of an attorney after you’ve been in a car wreck. For instance, even if you think your injuries are minor, they could be types that commonly get worse after a few years. Or perhaps your insurance company or the other driver’s company is stonewalling on payment.
Not all lawyers are created equal, of course, and you should meet with at least three before picking one. Here are essential questions to ask any car wreck attorney you’re considering.
What Experience Do You Have in Car Wreck Cases?
Ideally, your attorney would have at least a few years of experience in car wreck cases, both settling them and taking them all the way to trial for judgments. Your case could go either way, so a background in both possible outcomes is good.
Experience in another area of the law, say, workers’ compensation, but not car wrecks, indicates an attorney might not be the best fit. Car wreck cases come with a specialized set of issues and considerations.
What Is Your Fee Structure?
Accident attorneys tend to work on contingency, meaning clients do not pay anything right away. Instead, they have their attorneys take a portion of the final judgment, settlement, or verdict. Carefully review fee structure agreements upfront.
Can You Help Me Recoup Medical Costs and Other Expenses and Damages?
Ask about current and future medical expenses, even if you think you are only dealing with minor whiplash. Many car accident injuries last for years or don’t show up until years later. Your medical expenses could be considerable if they are not already. Damages to seek could include lost wages, property damage, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
How Will We Communicate?
This question is essential since clients deserve to know what is going on with their case. For instance, will the attorney, paralegal, or assistant check in with you weekly? Which person? How? For example, in-person meetings, texts, emails, phone calls, etc.
To that effect, note how attorneys communicate with you during the consultation. Do they use jargon you don’t understand? Do they rush through explanations? Do they seem too busy? It’s not a good sign if the answer to any of these questions is, “Yes.”
Give attorneys the opportunity to explain why you should choose them over other attorneys. This question is also a good chance for candidates to present a step-by-step outline of what they envision doing with your case.
How Long Will My Case Take?
Knowing whether you’re looking at weeks, months, or years helps you set realistic expectations.
What Do You Need From Me?
Attorneys typically need photos, documents, witness names, medical reports, and more.
Don’t Settle for the First Attorney You Meet
Consult with at least three attorneys before you choose one. Even if you end up going with the first person you met, you know you are not settling and that you made the best decision for your situation. When you ask questions and listen to answers, note their communication styles and whether they truly answer the question.