5 Questions You Need to Ask Before Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
When it comes to car accident claims, there are no guarantees. There is, however, an underlying truth that is almost ubiquitous; the knowledge and experience of the attorney preparing the claim can have a major impact on how the proceedings unfold.
If a drunk driving accident victim decides to take action, for example, they might be able to secure a sizable settlement or favorable verdict with help from a seasoned and resourceful lawyer. If they were to hire a less experienced attorney, though, there might be a greater chance that a critical mistake will be made such as overlooking important evidence of leaving certain damages out of the settlement calculations.
In other words, you shouldn’t hire just anyone if you were hurt in a wreck. To give your claim the best chance of success, you should seek representation from a lawyer who:
- Practices with integrity;
- Is well-versed in all statutes that might apply given the circumstances;
- Has the resources to conduct a thorough investigation and gather evidence;
- Has a track record of success resolving cases similar to yours; and
- Has trial experience.
How can you be sure you’ve found an attorney who possesses all of the above? It’s actually fairly easy; just ask the following questions during the initial consultation:
1. What Is Your Fee Structure?
Avoid firms that offer to take your case for a low, flat rate. When it comes to personal injury proceedings, disputes are likely, especially if the claimant is seeking a fairly significant settlement. Should you agree on a flat fee, the legal team won’t be inclined to devote any additional time to your case when issues arise.
Instead, look for a practice that will take your case for a contingency fee. Because contingency fees come out of the final settlement or verdict, your lawyer will have incentive to see your case through to the end.
2. Do You Think My Case Will Yield a Payout?
Since legal proceedings are inherently unpredictable, an honest attorney will never promise to achieve a particular payout for a client. However, they should be able to discuss the most likely outcome given the facts of the case and the limitations that may apply.
3. What Does Most of Your Casework Involve?
Not all personal injury attorneys are familiar with car accident claims. Some focus primarily on medical malpractice, for example, while others have only handled nursing home abuse. Make sure the practice you’re considering has resolved cases that are similar to yours. Otherwise, they may not actually know what it takes to prove liability and damages given the circumstances.
4. What Is Your Legal Network Like?
Proving fault for a motor-vehicle collision sometimes calls for deposition from a number of specialists. You might need to consult an accident reconstruction expert, for example, to determine what happened in the seconds leading up to the crash. If it turns out that a defective part was to blame, you may also need deposition from mechanical engineers and auto manufacturers.
During your first meeting, confirm that the lawyer has access to the resources you will need to build a strong case.
5. What If the Opposing Party Is Uncooperative?
Although most car accident claims are settled, there’s always the chance that yours ends up in court. If the insurer disputes liability (or refuses to offer a fair payout for some other reason), you will want a seasoned trial attorney by your side. As such, it’s important to confirm litigation experience before hiring a lawyer.
Call (605) 250-1242 for a Free Consultation with a Rapid City Car Accident Lawyer
At Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, PLLC, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that unanticipated injuries can take. If you were struck by a drunk, distracted, or otherwise reckless driver, we will handle the logistics of your claim so you can focus on more important matters.