In the United States, there are around 6 million car accidents every year, and of those 6 million, there are about 2 million drivers who endure permanent injuries. There are over 143 million daily commuters, so there will always be accidents, no matter how rules there are on the road. In 2018, there were over 40,000 roadway deaths alone. But even if an accident isn’t fatal, it can be an emotionally and physically damaging experience. Plus, missed work and damaged vehicles result in lost income. If you’ve been in a car accident, you must hire an auto accident attorney to get the compensation you deserve.
Were you involved in a crash? Are you overwhelmed or unsure of what to do? Here are some of the most important questions to ask an auto accident attorney.
Before You Call an Attorney
Before you call your attorney, there are a few things you should do as soon as possible.
See a Doctor
Before you call an attorney, it’s vital to go to the doctor, especially if you’ve been injured.
Sometimes victims are in shock, and they don’t always feel the onset of injuries right away. The sooner you see a doctor, the better. Don’t worry about medical bills if you’re hurt.
Go see a doctor, and your lawyer will help you manage those bills later when it comes to getting you the compensation you deserve.
Document Your Accident
If you’re in a position to write anything down, write down the details of your accident. It’s best to get it out before you start to forget details.
Take note of cross streets, lights, what happened, and anything else that has to do with the accident. When you consult with an attorney, they’ll want as much information as you can provide.
As you document the accident, take as many photos as you can. Take photos of your vehicle from all angles and any other vehicles or property involved in the crash.
Remember that age-old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words?” Well, when it comes to car accidents, nothing could be closer to the truth.
Questions About Their Experience
When you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s crucial you find an experienced auto accident lawyer. Here are some questions to ask to get a sense of their background and experience.
How Long Have You Practiced Personal Injury Law?
Find out how long your potential hire has been practicing personal injury law, and ask about how many auto accident cases they handle per year.
Ask if they practice any other form of law, or if personal injury is their specialty. You want an accident attorney who is the best in that sector of the law.
How Many Lawsuits Do You Settle Each Year?
Ask your attorney not only how many lawsuits they settle each year, but how many of those cases go to trial.
Find out if they frequently handle cases like yours, and ask for examples of settlements for those cases. Any reputable attorney should have testimonials to show for their work.
Where Did You Go to School?
Find out where your attorney went to law school, and when they graduated. Ask if they belong to any professional organizations or bar associations.
Questions About Their Case Management
You’ll want to get a sense of your attorney’s style and the way they handle cases before you proceed forward. There are a few pertinent questions to ask with regard to their case management style.
Will Any Other Attorney Work on My Case?
Find out if your attorney will personally manage your case, or if someone else will play a role in it. Ask if they’ll be handling all negotiations and if your case goes to trial, will they represent you.
If someone else works on your case, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many firms work together to create a powerful team, with good reason. But there’s nothing wrong with you wanting to know exactly who will handle what.
Will You Provide Me with Progress Reports?
Ask how frequently your attorney will provide you with updates and progress reports, and what those updates will detail.
How Will We Communicate?
Communication is key. If you feel at all overlooked when you first speak with an attorney, they may not be the right person to represent you. It’s no secret that lawyers are busy.
But each time you communicate with yours, it’s fair to expect full attention and care.
Find out what your attorney’s preferred method of communication is and ask how often you can expect to hear from them.
Questions About Their Assessment of Your Case
An experienced accident lawyer should be able to gauge your case, based on prior experience. It’s important to note that they can’t make any guarantees, but it’s not unreasonable to ask for an assessment of your case.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Expect to Receive?
Ask an accident attorney what their honest assessment is. Follow that question by inquiring how much compensation they think you’ll get.
Sometimes it’s hard to gauge, especially when it comes to future medical visits and sustained injuries, but they can still give you an estimate.
What Factors Are in Our Favor?
Lawyers for auto accidents will recognize red flags immediately. Ask an accident attorney if there are any factors in your favor or against you. Ask what you can do to help you claim and case and whether or not they’ll be able to prove fault.
Is It Likely We’ll Go to Trial?
Find out how often your attorney goes to trial vs. settling outside of court. Do they think your case will go to trial?
It’s also a good idea to ask how long your case will take. Again, you’ll only get an estimate, but after years of handling cases like yours, they shouldn’t be far off.
Questions About Their Legal Fees
Never hang up the phone without discussing money. Lawyers are straight shooters and have no problem discussing fees and costs.
Do You Charge an Hourly Rate or Contingency Fee?
Many lawyers work on contingency for certain cases, so you might find peace of mind knowing you don’t have to fork over any cash unless you win.
Even if they work on contingency, you must still ask if they’ll charge you for their hard work and time, should you lose.
Will There Be Any Expenses?
While you may not have to pay your lawyer anything upfront, don’t forget to ask if you can expect any other expenses.
Find out what percentage your attorney takes home when you’re compensated. And don’t forget to ask if they’ll charge for the consultation, should you choose not to hire them.
Questions About Their Philosophy
While there are many competent accident lawyers, it’s still important to find one that you connect with.
What Is Your Approach When Handling Clients?
Ask what their approach is. Do they communicate clearly and regularly? Would they rather take charge and handle the whole thing?
When they present you with options, will they give you advice on what they think you should do, or let you make a decision entirely on your own?
What Is Your Approach for Handling Cases?
Find out to what lengths your attorney will go to prove your innocence or lack of fault. Will they pursue witnesses?
Will they gain access to any existing camera footage? Will they look into other drivers from your accident?
Questions About the Insurance Companies
You and your car accident lawyer must be on the same page, especially as it pertains to communicating with insurance companies.
Should I Talk to Insurance Companies?
Does your lawyer want you to stop communicating with any insurance companies representing you or others involved in the accident?
Ask your lawyer if you should make a statement. Ask them what happens if an insurance company makes you an offer. Should you take it?
What If They Make an Offer?
Many insurance companies will settle out of court before you ever have to sue them. Ask your lawyer about both options and what they think generates better results.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Your Auto Accident Attorney Questions
Don’t hold back. Car accidents are emotional, anxiety-ridden, detrimental, painful, and time-consuming.
Even if you weren’t badly hurt, if an accident wasn’t your fault, you could still be eligible for compensation. Accidents are emotionally damaging and stressful, especially if you miss work or can’t drive your car.
Ask your auto accident attorney all the right questions to ensure you have a reputable professional by your side.
Contact us today. You can speak with us for free. Call 904 LAW-1212 anytime, day or night.