Data from the CDC reports that around 90 people pass away daily due to a motor vehicle accident in the U.S. While seat belts and advanced technology have helped keep people safe, the numbers remain too high.
If you or a loved one got hurt on the road, the chances are good that you’ll need a car accident attorney. Finding the best legal counsel for this type of case can be the difference between protecting your rights or losing in court.
When you’re preparing for a free consultation with a car accident lawyer, you should create a list of questions. Anyone in your situation needs to have a strict set of criteria to make this crucial decision.
But what do you need to know? Find out what other people like yourself have found helpful to ask in the following sections!
1. Do You Offer a Contingency Fee?
Car accident help from an attorney doesn’t come free, but you may find someone willing to work on contingency. In effect, this arrangement means that the firm waves its fees until you reach a settlement or win in court.
The American Bar Association asserts that most lawyers will take one-third to 40% of the damages. Some states also have laws that set a flat rate for contingency rates. However, if you do not win, you could be on the hook for thousands of dollars.
2. How Much Will I Pay if I Lose in Court?
Attorneys may take a case without billing an hourly rate if they have confidence that they can win. Unfortunately, if they turn out to be wrong, that can mean that you owe them for their time regardless of the result.
Like any other business, a car accident injury law firm needs to protect its bottom line. Most people forget to take this possibility into consideration, and you don’t want to find yourself caught flat-footed.
Asking this question might feel awkward, but you’re not going to be the first person to ask. Pay attention to how much effort and time they suggest the case will take. Comparing their estimates to their hourly rate will give you an idea of what to expect in a worst-case scenario.
3. What Type of Car Accidents Have You Handled in the Past?
As you listen to a lawyer’s car accident advice, pay close attention to the types of cases they describe. Many lawsuits depend on recent precedent to determine the strength of a plaintiff’s case, as well as the potential damages they can receive.
Having someone by your side with similar examples to your case also has reasonable expectations about how the court system may react. The defense attorney will seek out any loophole they can exploit, and having someone who can anticipate those moves can be critical.
4. Who Will Take the Lead for My Case?
Everyone wants to believe that their attorney dedicates a significant portion of their day to their case. In many cases, the heavy-lifting can get delegated to a junior attorney or paralegal in the office.
This dynamic can result in most of the communication about your case going between yourself and people who aren’t the lead attorney. For most firms, this is a standard way of doing business.
As long as they give you direct answers that make you feel that you’re in good hands, that’s what matters. If you’re not comfortable with the arrangement, don’t be afraid to speak up.
5. What Is the Precedent for Settlements in My Situation?
Each car accident may have its unique qualities, but a few notable commonalities can win a lawsuit. It’s always difficult for the law to ignore an aspect of your case that went favorably for a plaintiff previously.
You can also say the same when considering what has worked for a defendant. To fully understand the risks, consider talking about this aspect of the lawsuit with an attorney also.
6. How Long Do You Expect My Case Will Take to Resolve?
Part of the reason for asking this question is to see if your attorney is ready for the long haul. Many people or companies settle after a car accident, making it tempting to always go for a deal. Even so, you should feel that your legal counsel isn’t taking the easy way out to finally get paid.
This question can also help you and your family plan for what happens next. If you can expect your lawsuit to take months or even years to resolve, you’ll need a financial plan to get through those times.
7. What Do You Expect from Me While I Deal with the Car Accident Aftermath?
First and foremost, do not show up to a free consultation empty-handed. The more evidence you can provide in this first conversation, the better you can evaluate your odds.
Dealing with the appointments, bills, and other nuisances to follow is hard enough. You don’t want to find yourself caught off guard by request from your attorney during this time.
Want to Know More About Hiring a Car Accident Attorney?
Asking questions like the ones you’ve read above will go a long way toward success. Anyone who takes the time to evaluate which car accident attorney to hire can benefit from asking them. However, there’s always more you can understand to make an informed and reasonable decision.
This blog contains even more articles with car accident advice anyone in the U.S. can use. Discover what else we have to offer today, and add more questions to your attorney interview list before you start making calls.