One of the most important things to do after you have been injured in a car accident is to find a trustworthy attorney who can help you through the ordeal. It’s often a confusing and stressful time, and a lawyer can handle all your claim details while building your case and dealing with the insurance company – so you can focus on your recovery.
You want an attorney with a plan for what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and how to get it done while avoiding costly mistakes and unneeded delays. But it’s also key to find an attorney who will listen to you, answer your questions, and treat you with respect every step of the way. Simply put, you want someone who will put you and your needs first.
So how do you know which attorney is the right choice for you?
Consider These Five Factors When Looking for a Car Accident Attorney
If you are wondering how to find the right car accident lawyer for you, begin by reading a firm’s “Who We Are” or “About Us” page to get a feel for its values and what it considers important to communicate to clients.
Next, there are five easily researched criteria that you should investigate:
1) Solid Reputation Among Lawyers & Clients
Fortunately, people looking for attorneys can find a lot of relevant information on law firm websites. Look for information on the law firm’s credentials, including:
- Awards – One possible indicator that the firm and individual attorneys are well-regarded is if they have been selected for awards by their peers.For example, check to see if the firm has ever been listed on the U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list. Have any of the firm’s attorneys been named to Best Lawyers “Best Lawyers in America” list or as a “Lawyer of the Year?” Has Super Lawyers Magazine recognized any lawyers on one of its “Super Lawyers” list? The publishers of these lists perform rigorous, multiphase review processes which usually combine peer nominations with third-party research.
- Testimonials and Reviews – Perhaps one of the most valuable ways to gauge the performance of car accident lawyers is to listen to, read, or watch what their clients say about them.You can look at the testimonial page of a firm’s website, and you can (and should) search independent review sites. These sites can be general, such as Google, or lawyer-specific, such as Avvo and Martindale-Hubbell. In addition to reading reviews, you should also ask your friends and family members for their car accident lawyer recommendations.Listen to their experiences – and learn.
- Media Mentions – Do newspapers or TV programs seek out the firm you are considering? If an attorney is routinely and favorably mentioned in national and local media, it can indicate that they and their firm are considered to be a trustworthy source of legal information. Alternatively, any negative press mentions should also be taken seriously.
2) Experience Handling Car Accident Cases
When it comes to understanding how much experience a firm or a lawyer has handling car accidents, look for these key indicators on the firm’s website:
- Car Accident Practice – Does the firm specifically list a “car accidents” practice on its website? Does the attorney you are researching list “car accidents” as one of his or her practice areas? You want personal injury attorneys with a dedicated focus on car accidents.Many crucial decisions need to be made in car accident cases – things such as what evidence to include when building your case, what insurance policies can possibly be stacked to access additional coverage, what damages you can seek compensation for, and more. Look for an attorney who has specific car accident case experience and a firm that has dedicated attorneys and staff who focus on helping car accident victims.
- Case Results – Most firms will list these on their website. (If they don’t, consider why that may be.) Look closely to ensure that the case results being shared are for cases involving car accidents, and check to see if any settlement amounts are included.While each case is specific, a range of settlement amounts could indicate that the firm handles a variety of car accident cases. This can help you gauge if the firm has an active and successful car accident practice with a track record for obtaining settlements and judgments from insurance companies.
- Trial Experience – While most car accident cases are settled before going to trial, you want a firm with attorneys who are ready, willing, and able to take your case to court, if needed. And you want the insurance company to know that your attorney can and has done this for other clients.Look at the attorney bios on the firm’s website to see if they have an active litigation practice. Also search for information on how many of its cases go to trial and the success rate of those that do. If you can’t find it on the website, call and ask.
3) Clear, Constant Communication & Transparency
The American Bar Association reported that two of the top complaints filed against lawyers are lack of communication and misrepresentation/dishonesty. If online client reviews mention these issues, take note.
Also, read the firm’s website and any blogs written by the attorneys you are considering. Are the webpages and blogs easy-to-understand or are they full of confusing legal jargon? This could be an indication of what the tone of future communications with the attorney will be like.
Is responsiveness a priority for the firm and the lawyer? Check for reviews that applaud how a personal injury lawyer “always returned calls” or “always called when she said she would.” And don’t ignore it if too many reviews complain about “unanswered questions” or “lack of updates.”
4) Has a Plan of Attack
See if you can get a free case evaluation from the personal injury lawyers you are considering. Call the firm to provide information about your car accident and injuries, and feel free to ask about the firm’s procedures for handling car accident injury cases.
Ask them about their process – if they take your case, what are the next steps? How often will they communicate with you? How accessible will they be?
A large part of a car accident lawyer’s responsibilities involves dealing with the insurance company. And this often includes handling delay tactics and denials. Our car accident attorneys have a plan of attack for these disruptions.
5) Has Deep Resources
Look for a car accident attorney who has the following types of resources to help you seek maximum compensation for your harms and losses:
- accident investigators who can visit the accident site as needed and look for evidence that will help build your case
- attorneys and paralegals who can locate available insurance policies, obtain medical records, and conduct legal research on your behalf
- leading-edge technology and tested processes in place to streamline operations and help ensure that nothing gets missed
- team members with “other side” experience working for insurance companies who know how to counter their tactics and fight for maximum compensation for you
- the financial flexibility to work on a contingency fee basis so you do not have to pay upfront costs or hourly fees
- multiple local offices for your convenience
Get a Free Case Evaluation From a Lawyer Who Will Put Your Needs First
Keep the five factors described above in mind when looking for a car accident lawyer to handle your case. Hiring the right car accident attorney for you gives you peace of mind during a stressful time. The right attorney for you is the one you feel will handle all the details of your case while keeping you informed and updated.
If you’ve been injured in a car wreck through no fault of your own, you can contact my firm, the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys are recognized professionals in the personal injury field and many have taught seminars for other attorneys. We have helped 60,000+ injured people recover more than $1.6 billion in total compensation since our firm began in 1997.
Get the James Scott Farrin Advantage, and tell them you mean business!