Where to look to find good car accident attorneys and what to ask
So you've been involved in a car accident and think you may have a case. How do you find the right attorney to help you?
You already know this is an important decision. In fact, finding the right lawyer from a good shortlist of car accident attorneys may be one of the most important decisions of your entire car accident case.
We're going to help you with that right now.
You should do careful research and select an attorney who has years of proven experience handling personal injury cases such as yours. We want to offer you some helpful tips to find that perfect attorney to get you compensated for your car accident injuries.
Before you look up car accident attorneys, know what you're looking for
Before you even start doing searches it will pay off to have a good idea of the qualities and terms you are looking for in a car accident attorney. This may differ a little according to your case, your personality, your area of the country, even.
These questions will give you a framework for a list you can check off:
Evaluate the complete team of staff, not just the partners or people who make up the public face of the law firm. Keep in mind as you research and interact with the firm that it may not be the same person you speak with initially who will be your primary contact.
Firm age, size, experience. Awards and leadership roles in organizations can also be good indicators.
Good judicial connections: Find out if they participate in the local bar association and contribute to campaigns.
Comfort with going to trial: Find out how many of their cases go to trial and the success rate of those that do. Some lawyers will have this information posted on their websites.
Have they tried or settled similar cases in your city or county? Do they have an office near you?
Look for experience with your type of case specifically.
Negotiation ability: What sort of settlements they have obtained (remember, 95% of personal injury cases are settled without trial). Again, some car accident attorneys will have this information posted on their websites.
Your personal comfort with the lawyer. This can be a big one.
Past problems: Has the attorney ever been censured or disciplined by any legal or ethics committees in the past? You will want to look this up before contacting them, so you don't waste your time.
Past client reviews: Be alert to what others say about them, especially on independent review sites.
Where to find experienced car accident attorneys
Ok, now you should have an idea of the sorts of things you'll be keeping in mind as you look at various law firms and attorneys.
Next find where to look to start putting together a shortlist of the best car accident attorneys, so you can begin with a strong pool of potential candidates.
There are several ways to find the names of experienced personal injury lawyers. Once you have gotten several names and numbers, you should talk to each of them and check out their level of experience and case results.
Places to look for good car accident attorney referrals include:
Ask friends and family
Talk to people in your personal and work network. See who has worked with a personal injury attorney before, preferably also on a car accident case. If you get a good referral to an attorney, put him or her on your list.
But do not decide to go with an attorney just based upon someone else's word.
Different people will have different reactions to an attorney. You want to talk to the attorney personally and discuss your case, then make a decision.
Ask other attorneys you've worked with on different matters
If you have a real estate attorney friend, you can ask them if they have a recommendation for a personal injury attorney who could help you with your car accident case. Most experienced attorneys will know other good attorneys outside their area of practice.
It is very common for lawyers to refer business to each other, so this can be a great way to find a good attorney.
Enjuris lawyer directory
Enjuris has assembled a comprehensive Law Firms Directory that you can use to find a local personal injury attorney. When you click on your state, a list of personal injury attorneys will appear who have registered with our website.
When you click on one of the attorneys, a brief profile of that legal firm will appear with their contact information. Some of our featured attorneys have an Ask a Question feature that allows you to provide brief information about your personal injury case. (Let us know if you don't find a good attorney in your state on our site and we may be able to help.) It is up to you to connect with that attorney and to decide if he or she is the attorney you want to represent you.
Enjuris tip: No legal referral service will tell you about the attorney’s philosophy or attitude. Is the attorney willing to work with you patiently? Is he aggressive or passive? You have to judge for yourself if the lawyer’s personality and temperament is right for you when you interview him.
Legal referral services – but know quality can vary widely
Most state and local bar associations have a legal referral service where the names of attorneys licensed in the state are listed by specialty.
For example the Texas State Bar has a Lawyer Referral & Information Service that can help you find an attorney that matches your type of case and finances.
Note that the quality of a particular referral service can vary widely. Some of these services will conduct careful screening of attorneys, and list only the most experienced and successful ones.
Other referral services may list any attorney who is in good standing in that state.
Before you choose an attorney through a referral service, find out what its qualifications are for including a personal injury attorney on their list.
Be prepared to be rejected
Why might a Personal Injury Lawyer Decline My Case?
10 reasons an attorney may turn down your case
Be prepared to be turned down by a few attorneys.
Some attorneys may turn down your case if it is below a certain dollar amount. They may also say no if proving fault is dicey.
Most attorneys will not charge you for this initial consultation. If the attorney wants to charge you just for the first meeting, you may want to find a different attorney.
After you talk about your accident claim, here are some important questions to ask:
How many years have you been in practice?
What percentage of your cases involves car accident personal injury cases?
Do you work more with car accident plaintiffs or defendants?
You want an attorney who is experienced in representing plaintiffs primarily. An attorney who works for the defense most of the time may not fight as much for your claim.
Would you personally handle the case? More than one attorney may work on your case and that's fine.
But you don't want your case to be only handled by inexperienced attorneys. If you will be working with another attorney most of the time, you will want to meet that lawyer, as well.
So you've talked about your car accident case. You've chatted with the attorney about your dealings with the insurance company. Now you want a feel for how much the lawyer thinks your case is worth. Also super important is how difficult it might be to get the insurance company to cough up that amount.
At this point, you should let the attorney know what you want. Is it to:
Get a lower settlement amount with as few costs and as little time wasted as possible?
Get a higher amount than what the insurance company has offered as soon as possible?
Get as much money as possible, no matter if it takes months or years?
It's key to make sure you both are on the same page strategy wise. So figure out how badly you need the money. Really bad, so you'll settle for less? Or you have cash in the bank and you are willing to wait for more money?
After you have settled on an attorney, you still have work to do. You need to have a clearly understood fee agreement. And keep in contact with the attorney to know how your car accident case is going.
A good car accident attorney will have questions for you, too