Choosing the right personal injury attorney requires research, but you want to act as quickly as possible to expedite an insurance claim and file a lawsuit if recommended by your legal counsel. Answering the question, “How do I find an accident attorney near me” starts with considering the experience of an attorney.
Does the Attorney Have a Proven Record of Success?
Although you want to work with an attorney who has compiled a record that covers several years, you want the lawyer to demonstrate that the experience has led to the successful end of personal injury cases. Most personal injury lawyers mention experience on their websites, but when you sit down with a personal injury attorney, you want to ask the following questions.
- How long have you been in practice
- How long have you handled this type of accident case?
- What percentage of your practice involves managing personal injury cases?
- What is your record for winning civil lawsuits?
- Do you mostly represent plaintiffs or defendants?
- Do you have experience dealing with the insurance company that is involved in this case?
Knowing whether an attorney has a record of representing plaintiffs or defendants is an important question to answer. You want to hire a personal injury lawyer who has represented defendants and not plaintiffs such as businesses and insurance companies. An attorney who has established a professional relationship with the insurance company or even a specific insurance adjuster is a significant benefit.
What is the Fee Arrangement?
You can cross any personal injury attorney off your list of candidates if the lawyer charges for an initial consultation. If you sit down for a free initial consultation, ask the legal counsel about the fee arrangement. Paying by the hour can quickly rack up legal fees that run thousands of dollars. An attorney who charges on a contingency basis receives a percentage of the financial award given by an insurance company or the compensation ordered by a judge in a civil lawsuit. A contingency fee arrangement is also a good idea because your attorney will work as hard as necessary to get you a favorable lawsuit and/or insurance company ruling.
Who Will Represent You?
If you decide to hire a law firm to handle your accident claim, you can expect two or more attorneys to work together. Less experienced lawyers and paralegals take care of routine cases. You want to know which attorney is going to represent you when the time comes to file a claim with an insurance company and/or file a civil lawsuit. You want to work with a senior partner of a law firm that has built an impressive record that spans many years of successfully representing personal injury clients.
How Does a Lawyer Communicate?
Communication is one of the most important factors for establishing a strong relationship with a personal injury lawyer. An attorney who waits 24 hours to return an email or a phone call might not be the right fit for you. Timing is important for personal injury cases, as many types of accident claims need to be filed soon after the accident.
You should ask the following questions to determine how an attorney communicates.
- Does the lawyer listen to your concerns?
- Does the lawyer listen to your input?
- Do you receive prompt callbacks and responses to email messages?
- How well does a lawyer explain legal concepts?
- Do you feel like an attorney will keep you informed every step of the way?
You do not want to hire a personal injury attorney who tells you what you want to hear instead of laying out every possible scenario, good or bad, that pertains to your case. Finding legal counsel that has strong communication skills can make the entire accident claim and/or lawsuit process much less stressful.
Reading the online reviews posted about an attorney can provide you with confirmation for the research that you have already conducted. Sites such as Yelp and Google allow former clients to write summaries of their experiences working with a particular personal injury lawyer. A lawyer’s Facebook page can also provide you with insight into the litigation skills of a personal injury attorney near you. Another source of information comes from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Although the BBB addresses complaints filed by clients, the consumer advocacy agency also rates each attorney that is in its database.
You want to work with a personal injury lawyer who has earned an A+ rating from the BBB.
What is Your Settlement Goal?
As we arrive at the end of the criteria used to answer the question, “How to find an accident attorney near me,” working with legal counsel that pursues your settlement goal is an important factor to consider. Whether you refuse to budge on a dollar amount or you are willing to negotiate a settlement to the hassle of filing a civil lawsuit, your lawyer must be on board for you to achieve your settlement goal.