Arizona car accident statistics are startling. In 2020, there were 98,778 car crashes, with 1.057 resulting in deaths.
Experiencing a car accident is traumatic, especially if someone else was at fault and you’re now suffering the consequences of the accident.
You might be considering hiring a car accident attorney to help handle the fallout from your accident. Yet, that process can also be overwhelming with so many options.
What questions should you ask to ensure you find the best car accident attorney for your case? Read on to learn the things you should ask for and what types of answers you should hope to get so you find the right car accident lawyer for your needs.
1. What Is Your Legal Background?
Not all attorneys have the same level of skills, starting with their background. You may even know that some attorneys carry a certain stigma.
The first thing to ask when you meet and prepare to hire a lawyer is about their background. Many attorneys will include some of this information on their websites, although you don’t have to feel shy about asking them to share it.
You can even get online and read some reviews about other people’s experiences working with a lawyer.
When you meet in person with the car accident lawyer, ask them to discuss their background in law. Allows you to hear how they present themselves and sell themselves as the right attorney for you. This may sound a little like a verbal resume. This may sound a little like a verbal resume.
2. How Much Experience Do You Have With Car Accident Cases?
While this question might sound similar to the previous one, you should expect a much more specific type of answer from the car accident lawyer.
You want this answer to focus on their experiences with car accident cases specifically. They can’t and shouldn’t share any specifics of previous cases.
Yet, they can share some information about the car accident cases they’ve handled in the past. Again, this should give you insight into how they proceed with a case, their communication style, and their results.
Since there are many different types of law and even accident cases, you should expect to hear specifically about their experiences handling car accident cases.
3. Do You Think My Case Warrants Hiring a Lawyer?
You will not be the first accident victim to wonder if you’re overreacting by hiring a lawyer. Even some accident victims who were part of severe accidents will feel reluctant to hire an attorney.
It can often feel like one more task to navigate following your accident, especially with such a wide range of attorney options.
The truth is, you should almost always hire an attorney after a car accident. Don’t assume the car accident attorney is trying to make a fast sale when they tell you this.
You can’t ever anticipate the long-term consequences of an accident. You may feel rattled but uninjured right after your accident, only to realize several weeks later you have some significant whiplash, for example.
If your case isn’t worth hiring an attorney, then a reputable attorney will be honest and tell you that, too.
4. Have You Handled Similar Cases to Mine?
Have you handled a case similar to mine might be one of the most important questions you can ask. Depending on the attorney’s years in practice, they should have a variety of car accident cases they’ve handled.
Every case has unique circumstances and issues. On paper, one case might look the same as another, yet one case had severe injuries, and the other didn’t.
While an attorney can’t divulge specifics, they should be able to discuss similar cases to yours. They should be willing to share how they approached the case and how it proceeded to an outcome.
The car accident lawyer should even be able to tell you why one case proceeded one way, and another took a different course.
5. What Are Your Outcomes for Cases Like Mine?
Asking about outcomes from previous cases is a natural follow-up question to the previous question. Any reasonable attorney should have data available on the results of their cases.
The reality is that you need and want compensation for your case. You want to hire a car accident attorney who has a strong success rate in handling cases like yours.
It’s important to remember that every case is different. While one case may have had a large settlement, not all do for any number of reasons.
Consider the patterns you see in the attorney’s outcomes. What level of success do they usually have with similar cases? This should give you a good feel for what you might expect in your case.
6. What’s Your Assessment of My Case?
Now, your questions can focus on your case specifically. While your attorney may not know much about your case yet, they should be able to give you an initial assessment of your case.
You should hope and expect that you hire an attorney who will be honest with you about your case. It doesn’t do you any good to hire an attorney that makes grandiose promises or predictions, knowing those aren’t guaranteed.
Being in a car accident is traumatic, and so is recovering from one. You want an attorney who will assess your case with honesty. They will need to consider the basic details of your case.
This might include the number of cars involved, the scope of injuries, any commercial vehicles involved, and the number of insurance companies that will be a part of the case.
7. How Would You Proceed in Handling My Case?
Once you hear all your information, ask your accident attorney to talk through how they would proceed if you hired them today.
- What will be the first steps in the handling of the case?
- What additional information will they need?
- Will they need an investigator?
- How do you bring the parties to the table to negotiate?
Depending on the number of parties involved in your case and the complexities, this will also help you to see what you can expect as your case progresses.
The attorney must take some time to talk you through the timeline of what to expect in your case. Often, these cases take longer than accident victims expect.
8. Who Will Represent My Case?
When you seek legal help, you’ll contact a law office and often sit down with an attorney to ask these questions.
In some big firms, they will sit you down with ‘the face’ of the firm. You’ll assume you’re getting a big-shot attorney to handle your case. Then once you sign on to work with the firm, the case gets handed over to an associate.
It’s important to know exactly which attorney will be the one working on your case. If the case goes to trial, who will be the attorney in the courtroom with you? Who will be negotiating on your behalf?
All attorneys have support staff. You can’t expect that the attorney only handles your case, yet, you want to know who will be fighting for you.
9. Do You Have the Time for My Case?
This question might surprise you, but handling a car accident case is time-consuming. It’s unrealistic to assume your case will be your attorney’s only case on the docket.
Yet, if they have too many cases they’re juggling, your case might not get the attention it needs and deserves.
You want to hire an accident attorney who’s realistic about their caseload and what they can handle.
You also want to hire a firm that can handle your case financially. It may be some time before settlements come in from the case. You want to know they have the resources to work on your case until that happens.
10. What Is My Role While the Case Proceeds?
You will want to discuss with your attorney what your role will be while the case progresses.
Your attorney may need you for things like presenting documents and completed paperwork and attending medical appointments they need you to attend.
You may be needed to prepare for things like depositions or to get information on witnesses.
Some attorneys will tell you to focus on your healing and let them do their work.
You can ask for your attorney to provide updates when something occurs that might move the case along.
11. How Often Do You Go to Trial?
Only a tiny percentage of personal injury cases go to trial. Your attorney may have some predictions about whether your case will take that route.
On the other hand, sometimes it’s necessary to go to trial when settlement offers are not up to par.
Either way, you want to hire an attorney who’s prepared to take your case to trial if that’s the necessary route. You might be surprised to learn how many cases never go to trial.
You might also be surprised to learn that some attorneys never go to trial and only settle cases.
Your attorney must be ready to go to trial if that’s the course needed.
12. Can You Talk Through the Value of My Case?
You want the best car accident attorney because you want the best results from your case. You deserve compensation if you’re the victim of a car accident and are injured.
Attorneys will have a calculator to predict the value of your case. Of course, it includes things like covering your medical expenses and long-term medical needs.
It will also include lost wages while you were out of work and the value of other damages.
Your attorney should also be able to roughly calculate the value of the pain and suffering you experienced due to the case.
Of course, you can never guarantee the course a case might take, but it’s a good starting point as the attorney begins negotiations on the accident.
13. What Kinds of Fees and Costs Should I Expect?
You want to understand both what it will cost to hire the accident attorney and how they will take their payment. Most personal injury lawyers don’t get paid until you get paid.
They take a percentage of the settlement money you get from your case. This amount should be spelled out in a contract, so you are prepared.
Some law firms will also ask for a small retainer to handle the fees that come with doing any legal filings. This depends on the firm, and it’s reasonable to have this all in writing before hiring the attorney.
14. How Will You Communicate With Me?
Every client is different in this regard. Some clients appreciate the hand-holding and frequent communication from their attorney, even if there is nothing new to report.
Others feel like when there’s news, you should be in touch.
You want to know the approach your attorney tends to take, and you should communicate what you need in this regard from your attorney.
Ask how you can get your questions answered while the case progresses.
15. Why Is Your Firm Different From Other Car Accident Attorneys?
Anyone can hop online and search for a car accident attorney near me and get a long list of options. This is what makes hiring an accident attorney feel daunting in some ways.
The attorney should have their marketing plan in place and know how to sell what they do.
But you can often get insight into how an attorney operates by how they talk about their work.
Trust your instincts and hire an attorney who makes you feel comfortable.
Get the Right Car Accident Attorney for Your Case
Hiring the right car accident attorney may take a little research and homework on your part. Yet, getting the best accident attorney for your case can have a huge impact on the outcome.
If you’ve been in an accident and need an experienced car accident lawyer, we can help. Contact us today so we can get started working to get results for you.