Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
When you or a loved one are injured in a car accident, you may instinctively know that the assistance of a knowledgeable car accident attorney could prove useful in obtaining compensation quickly. However, you may not know what type of attorney you should hire – or even if the attorney with whom you are speaking is the best lawyer to handle your case. How precisely does an injury victim – especially one who may be frightened, confused, and/or angry at his or her circumstances – find the best attorney to handle his or her case?
Most attorneys will want to sit down and meet with a potential client before agreeing to accept his or her case. During this initial meeting, the lawyer’s goal is to gather enough information about the case to enable the lawyer to determine if he or she wishes to take the case and, if so, upon what terms. Injury victims should also wisely use this opportunity to screen the lawyer and determine whether the lawyer is best suited to handle the injury victim’s case.
Asking the Right Questions Before Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer
In order to properly and effectively screen an attorney to determine if he or she is the best choice to handle your case, you need to ask the right questions of yourself and of the attorney. Some questions that might be helpful in determining whether a particular attorney is right for you include:
- How many car accident cases have you handled? Not all attorneys regularly handle car accident cases. As a result, these attorneys may be skilled in certain areas of the law (such as in handling divorce cases or in writing wills and estate plans) but may not be as familiar with developments in the law that impact car accident cases. While a car accident lawyer need not practice exclusively in this field in order to be effective and knowledgeable, you may find it advantageous to hire an attorney who handles more than one or two car accident cases a year.
- How many times have you gone to court in car accident cases? Being an intelligent attorney does not necessarily mean that the attorney is able to skillfully and effectively represent your interests in court. If you expect (or even suspect) that your case will proceed to trial, you will certainly want an attorney who has been in a courtroom recently and has kept his or her litigation skills sharp. While most car accident cases will settle before reaching trial, you may wish for your car accident lawyer to have experience in taking appropriate cases to court.
- How do you get paid? Money is important – lawyers understand this, and so potential clients should not be afraid to ask when and how the attorney expects to have his or her fees paid. Some attorneys will charge an hourly rate and regularly bill the client. The client is responsible for paying the attorney’s fees regardless of the outcome of the case. In other situations, the attorney may work on a contingency-fee basis. In this arrangement, the attorney gets paid if he or she is successful in recovering compensation for the injury victim (although the victim is usually still held responsible for the costs incurred in preparing and presenting the case, such as copying fees, medical records request fees, and filing fees). While money and paying for legal representation ought not necessarily be your only consideration in deciding whether or not to hire a particular attorney, taking the attorney’s fees and fee structure in account can prevent problems from developing later in the attorney-client relationship.
- What is my “gut feeling” about this attorney? Trust your gut. A successful attorney-client relationship requires open communication and trust between both the attorney and the client. The client should not be a passive participant in the recovery process, but the client will also need to trust the attorney to make strategical decisions that will help advance the victim’s case. If you do not feel as if you can trust the attorney to make good decisions about how your case ought to be advanced – or if you feel the attorney is trying to run roughshod over you and does not value your insights and opinions into your case, it may be better to seek out another attorney.
Stern Law, PLLC is a Good Choice for Car Accident Injury Victims
Attorney Ken Stern of Stern Law, PLLC knows the difficulties and challenges facing car accident injury victims. He has helped numerous victims successfully navigate the civil court system and obtain favorable results in their car accident cases. Attorney Ken Stern invites those injured in a car accident to meet with him and learn how his knowledgeable but compassionate approach can help give you peace of mind about your case and confidence about your future. Call Stern Law, PLLC and speak with Ken Stern by calling (800) 462-5772.