There are dangers all around you in the world. Even if you’re generally safe, you never know when someone will make a mistake and injure you.
And when there were 55.4 million injuries in 2020 alone, it’s not uncommon for this to happen to you. The question is, will you be able to get the help you deserve after it happens?
Finding the right accident law firm can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful accident case. Consider the nine factors below when hiring a lawyer to ensure you get the right help to win your settlement.
1. Accident Experience
There are a lot of differences between the different types of accidents. These differences make each type of case special and require unique expertise to understand all the little details.
That’s why it’s not wise to work with an injury attorney without specific experience with the type of accident you’re dealing with.
Take a malpractice case, for instance. You have to collect evidence that proves the healthcare professionals in charge of your care were negligent and contributed to a bad outcome. This is much different than collecting evidence for a car accident.
Ask about the case history of the lawyers you speak with. They should be able to demonstrate a history of successful cases like yours. Otherwise, they won’t have enough experience to handle your case correctly.
Check out more about Alpha Accident Lawyers to learn more about lawyer specialties.
2. Lawyer Workload
Unfortunately, some attorneys take on more work than they can handle. They don’t want to turn away any clients, so they continue accepting cases — even though they don’t have the time to give them all the proper attention.
The problem is that it’s easy to make minor mistakes when you do this. If this happens during your accident case, getting a bad settlement offer or losing your case entirely is possible.
Ask about a lawyer’s current caseload before you hire them. It’s fine to have other cases. But at the same time, you don’t want them to be too occupied with other work.
You can also estimate an attorney’s resources to see how much staff they have. Associates can take a lot of the burden off a lawyer’s shoulders, which means they can take on more work.
3. Board Certifications
The biggest thing to look out for when hiring an accident lawyer is board certification with your state. Lawyers who want to work legally in a location must be bar members and have up-to-date credentials.
You can check your state bar’s website to see if this is the case. You should see a list of bar members there and see if the lawyers you’re considering have any problems.
There are also other organizations that specialize in different types of law. Look for associations that deal with your specific type of injury or related ones. Once you do, see if the lawyers in your area are members of those organizations.
4. Trial Experience
You won’t need to go to court for your case in most situations. Experienced lawyers are good at dealing with insurance companies and other parties to get reasonable settlements for their clients.
But you can’t always avoid a trial when filing a lawsuit. If a person or company believes they can save money by going to court, you should expect to take your case to trial.
However, not every accident attorney wants to go through this. It complicates cases and is more work.
That’s why you must look for trial experience when looking for lawyers. You need someone willing to go the distance to get the settlement you deserve.
Another added benefit of a lawyer’s trial experience is the risk to the other party. If a lawyer has a history of winning in court, it makes the other party more likely to settle to reduce risk.
Excellent communication is a must for accident cases. You’re already dealing with enough to get medical treatment and recover from your injuries. You don’t want the added stress of not hearing from your attorney and not knowing what’s happening with your case.
The first thing to look for is a lawyer who responds to your questions promptly. You may not immediately reach an attorney when you call — and that’s fine. Lawyers are busy and may not always have access to their phones.
But that doesn’t mean you should wait forever for a response. Ideally, find a lawyer that guarantees a 24-hour turnaround time for responses.
You should also consider the way a lawyer communicates. You might prefer phone calls when speaking with your lawyer, but your lawyer may not feel the same way. They may want to work through email and text messages.
It’s also possible that a lawyer may need to come to talk to you in person. If you’re stuck in the hospital, you may be unable to use the phone or other communication methods. You need a lawyer willing to make the trip to talk about your case in person.
Determine your lawyer’s communication to determine if they work for you.
6. Payment Structure
The price you pay for legal services for your accident case can vary greatly. If you need help filling out a few forms, you may be able to hire a service-based lawyer for a fixed fee. You can also hire a lawyer hourly if you need more help in a short case.
However, things change a lot when your case gets more serious. Accident cases for severe injuries and death can be difficult and take some time. You don’t want to pay a lawyer hourly in this situation — especially if you don’t have much money.
Your other payment option is a contingency payment. Instead of paying a lawyer for every hour they work, you only pay your lawyer if they win your case.
As a result, you don’t need to worry about any upfront costs. You’ll pay your fee with a portion of your settlement amount.
Accreditation with your state isn’t just important for the bar association. Local laws can vary a lot. What impacts an accident case in your area may not do the same in another part of your state.
You need to hire a lawyer who has a local presence and regularly works on cases in your area. When you do this, you’ll find a partner who can successfully help you navigate your local system.
Although attorneys from outside the area can help, they may struggle with local rules. It’s usually better not to take chances and stick to someone local.
A quick search on Google will provide you with a list of options close to you. Start your search there, and you’ll find plenty of choices.
8. Your Responsibility
Different lawyers require different things from their clients. Some want their clients to take a hands-off approach. They will handle the bulk of the work and only contact you when they need something specific.
However, other attorneys want their clients to be more active in their cases. They believe they can get better results when their clients are involved and can offer input at every step.
Determine how much of a role you want to take before you look for lawyers. Once you do, find a lawyer to take on the amount of work you expect. This is especially important if you’re still recovering and don’t have the energy to handle much work.
One final thing to check before hiring a lawyer is references. You don’t want to count on only the information you get from a lawyer. A lousy lawyer may not always be truthful about their ability, and you won’t learn this until after you hire them.
Check references online before you make your choice. Most online directories have review sections allowing clients to discuss their experiences.
You may also know someone who has hired an accident attorney before. Reach out to friends and family to hear what they have to say.
Choose an Accident Law Firm Carefully
Having the right help is critical when you have trouble getting a settlement for your accident. Insurance companies and other parties won’t have your best interests in mind. And with how complex insurance and accident laws are, you may not have the expertise to handle the claim process yourself.
But working with an experienced accident law firm can make a massive difference in the settlement amount you receive. Remember the factors above when hiring an attorney to find an experienced lawyer to help you win.
Are you interested in more advice that will help you work through other challenging life situations? Head back to the blog to read the latest posts.