When Do You Need A Lawyer For Your Car Accident Claim?
Getting into an auto accident can be a very scary and intimidating experience, especially if you’ve been injured in the accident. You may not know who to turn to and you may feel like the insurance company is not looking out for your best interest. To add to the problems medical bills start to pile up, and your injures may be causing you significant pain, and a change in lifestyle.
The insurance claims adjuster may seem like he or she has your best interest at heart but the fact is that these people are hired by the insurance companies to minimize the payouts the insurance company has to give. Of course this doesn't mean that you don’t have a good case, and a chance to get the highest payout possible.
The problem is that insurance companies are experts at negotiating payouts and handling auto accidents, and chances are this is your first time getting into an accident like this. For example, claims adjusters generally record every conversation with you, asking questions about the accident. If you’re not careful, the answers you give could actually imply the opposite of what you’re trying to say. Lawyers experienced with accident claims are familiar with how to speak with claims adjusters, and through their counsel will help you avoid any verbal missteps by handling all negotiating, increasing your chances of a just settlement.
With so many lawyers out there it’s hard to decide who is looking out for your best interest. Here are a few tips that will help you decide who to choose to represent you, and how to insure that you’re getting the best representation possible.
1. Hire a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases
When you’re hiring a lawyer you want to make sure that the firm that you are contacting specializes in personal injury. The legal profession is vast and complicated. A good lawyer will specialize in one particular field and master the ins and outs of that industry. There are a lot of general lawyers who say they can help with everything from bankruptcies, child custody. and personal injuries. You want to make sure you avoid these lawyers because they will not have the experience and expertise to help you win your case against the insurance companies.
2. Check Yelp and other review sites
Google, Yelp, Judy’s Book, and Superpages are great ways of finding highly rated personal injury lawyers. Make sure to thoroughly read the reviews and see if the people reviewing have a similar situation as yours. A good lawyer will have mostly positive reviews and testimonials.
3. Properly assess lawyer fees
Most personal injury lawyers will work for your case pro bono if they feel like you have a strong case. This is a good option for most people because they can help you pay for your medical bills and other expenses before the insurance company has given you any settlement money. Typical lawyers fees will range from 33%-40% plus medical bill expenses depending on the case and the lawyer. You want to make sure you read all of the fine print before you hire a lawyer. Also, remember that you get what you pay for. If a lawyers fees seem low compared to what you’ve been researching then chances are it’s to good to be true.
4. Make sure you feel comfortable with your lawyer
Don’t let any lawyer pressure or intimidate you into working with them. A good lawyer will have compassion, and empathy with your situation. If the lawyer you speak with makes you feel like your just a dollar sign to them, then it’s probably best you don’t work with them. Remember, that this person is going to be representing you, and needs to have good bedside manner when working around your situation.
5. Review their recent settlements
Take a look at the recent cases they won. Take note of the average settlement amount and most importantly what kind of cases they’ve been winning. Make sure that the cases they have recently settled are applicable to your situation. If you notice that most of their cases they won are motorcycle injury cases and you were not driving a motorcycle then perhaps you should look for a lawyer who has won more auto accident cases. Even within the personal injury field there are various specialties, like trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, boating accidents, accidental death, and so on. That’s why it’s important to take special attention the what the law firm you want to represent you has success in.
The fact is the legal system can be very intimidating if you try to take it on yourself. The insurance claims adjustors are going to offer you a mere fraction of what you really deserve, and the medical bills may larger and more ongoing than your originally anticipated. There are plenty of good auto accident lawyers out there, but there are just as many bad lawyers out there as well. Make sure to take your time and do your research before you sign any contract or make any type of commitment.
How to Interview a California Car Accident Lawyer
So, you’ve combed through all of the personal injury lawyers in your area and narrowed down your choices to a few candidates (perhaps they were personally recommended to you, or received glowing reviews online).
At this point, you should set up an initial consultation with each prospective lawyer. Discuss the details of your situation and ask basic questions about the lawyer before you make your final decision. Ideally, the answers you get will help you narrow down your choices even further until you find the lawyer who is the right fit for you.
It is important to prepare your questions beforehand. The more prepared you are, the more information you will receive. And the more information you receive, the more informed your decision will be. Ideally, at the end of a consultation, you should know the lawyer’s expertise, experience, fees, special knowledge, and management of the case.
Questions to Ask Your Potential Personal Injury Lawyers
- What are the specifics of the lawyer’s fee arrangement? Are the terms negotiable?
- How long has the lawyer been in practice? Does the lawyer specialize in cases like yours? When is the last time the lawyer handled a similar case? Were the results good?
- Other than a law degree, does the lawyer have special training or knowledge relevant to your case?
- What is the lawyer’s current caseload? What is the scope of the lawyer’s existing commitments? Will the lawyer have enough time and resources to devote to your case?
- Will paralegals and legal assistants be handling a portion of your case? If the answer is yes, ask about reduced fees.
- Will the lawyer provide regular updates? How often will you hear from the lawyer? Will you be able to contact the lawyer directly?
- Are there alternative solutions for your case, such as arbitration or mediation? If so, does the lawyer have experience executing these methods?
- What are your chances of winning? What difficulties will you face? Will it take a long time before your case is resolved?
- What will the lawyer expect from you? What kind of documents and background information should you prepare?
Keep in mind that nothing should be taken as a guarantee. Treat answers like indicators of a lawyer’s experience and skill level. The right lawyer should be able to answer your questions in a clear, direct and honest manner.
Contact our California Car Accident Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact the experienced car accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm for immediate assistance. We can provide you with a comprehensive understanding of your legal rights and best optio