The Bureau of Transportation Statistics cites 13 car accidents as happening every minute across the US. Some of these are harmless fender-benders, but others can cause serious injury.
If you have recently been hurt in a car wreck, a car accident lawyer can help get you the compensation you deserve. Read on to learn what questions you need to ask an attorney to ensure that you hire the right legal assistance.
1. What Are Your Credentials?
It’s important that you know an attorney’s background before hiring them. You don’t want someone with poor education and minimal experience to handle your case.
Ask where they attended law school and when. This will give you a place to begin researching the background of your prospective lawyer.
Make sure that they had a concentration in personal injury law and car accidents so you know that you’re hiring someone within the appropriate legal specialization. There are many legal categories in tort law including product liability and medical malpractice. These areas are extremely different from car accident law, so understand what their educational background looks like in relation to your case.
Then, ask about their experience level. You never want to hire an attorney with fewer than 20 years of experience. It may look like a way to save money on contingency fees, but you’re not going to reach as high a settlement as an experienced lawyer will get you. You’ll inevitably lose money.
2. What Experience Do You Have With Cases Like Mine?
Years of experience is an important consideration, but you’ll also need to find out whether your potential attorney has experience with cases that look specifically like yours. A case getting compensation for someone injured in an oil field refinery will look nothing like a hit-and-run case.
You need to know that your attorney has handled cases that look like yours before, so ask for some anecdotes. Have them tell you about one or two previous cases that are like yours. Ask them how they plan to apply the knowledge used there to your own case.
While this may initially sound rude, it’s far from it. Asking questions is the purpose of your free no-obligations consultation.
You need to hire an attorney who’s willing to communicate openly and answer your questions. It’s the only way to understand whether you’re a good fit.
3. What Is Your Success Rate?
Assuming that your prospective lawyer has handled cases like yours, you should ask them about their success rate.
You may initially ask them how many cases they’ve won holistically. Perhaps they’ve won 99% of all cases and reached fair settlements. This is a sign that you’re working with someone who knows what they’re doing.
However, you still need to dig deeper. Ask them what their success rate is for cases like yours. They will likely share their wins-to-losses ratio here.
You also might want to ask what compensation they came to in those cases. A rough number can help you understand what sort of damages you’re looking at.
4. What Damages Do You Think I Can Get?
There are many types of damages in car crash cases. Some common ones include:
- Compensation for medical bills
- Money to cover lost wages (if you were unable to go to work)
- Temporary or permanent disability compensation
- Payment for property damage to your vehicle
- Pain and suffering damages
A personal injury lawyer in Pharr, Texas can help you figure out what you may qualify for.
You can then ask how much money they think you can get for each category. If that’s not possible, they may be able to give you an overall estimate.
This is essential because your lawyer has seen cases like yours before and has all the information. They also aren’t biased and can assess your case objectively. You’ll go in with realistic expectations.
5. How Does Payment Work?
Some lawyers take payment as an upfront lump sum. Others take the pre-set payment amount after your case concludes regardless of the case outcome. Some attorneys will even charge hourly rates and collect payment based on how much time thet spend on your case.
However, the best and most common payment method for personal injury lawyers is called ‘contingency.’ Contingency payment methods mean that the car accident attorney will take a pre-set percentage out of your compensation after you win.
If your attorney operates on a 20% contingency rate and you win $100,000, you’ll give them $20,000 and pocket $80,000. If you only won $20,000, your lawyer would take $4000. If you lost the case and got no compensation, your lawyer also would not get paid.
This is ideal because you’ll never need to pay more than you have. Your case outcome will always be lucrative for you assuming we win. It also provides your attorney with extra motivation to do their best so they’re paid more, so contingency is a win/win scenario.
6. How Do You Plan to Approach My Case?
Once you know what to expect in terms of case outcomes, ask a prospective car accident lawyer how they would handle their case if given the chance.
Attorneys have various strategies for handling collision cases, so ask whether they plan to take a proactive or reactive approach to your case. Proactivity means gathering evidence and setting up your case on its own; reactivity means waiting for the other side to create a case and responding to it. Proactive approaches are generally better.
You may also want to ask if they plan to take an aggressive approach that might take you to court. This is sometimes worth it if you want to fight tirelessly for higher compensation. Some people prefer to just gather their settlement and move on, though, so you’ll want someone efficient and less aggressive if that describes you.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer Today
Now that you know some questions to ask a car accident lawyer, it’s time to begin assessing your claim. The law offices of Arturo Martinez are committed to helping you get compensation after an auto-related injury.
Having over two decades of experience allows us to figure out how to best proceed with your case, gather evidence, and negotiate damages the right way. Contact us to learn more about working with the top personal injury lawyer in McAllen, Texas.