In 2019 the leading cause of death in every U.S. state was car accidents. That same year 3,563 people died in car accidents in California. This moves that state into second place for accident fatalities in the country.
You may be the most conscientious driver on the road. This does not protect you from suffering injuries in an auto accident resulting from another driver’s carelessness. When that happens, you need to hire car accident attorneys as soon as possible. This time is now to learn how to pick the right attorney for your case if a need arises.
1. Pick Car Accident Attorneys With Experience
We aren’t just talking about the number of years in practice. An attorney with 30 years of practice in divorce law is not going to have knowledge in personal injury cases. You need a car accident attorney that specializes in personal injury claims resulting from automobile collisions.
Car accident lawyers are familiar with the Statute of Limitations and how it applies to your case. This is important because the law sets a deadline for how long after an injury you can file a lawsuit. Once that time expires you lose the opportunity to file a complaint.
When dealing with a personal injury, your California attorney knows lawsuits need to be filed within two years of the accident date. There is some variation if the injury is not discoverable immediately. In those instances, there is a one-year statute of limitations following the discovery of the injury.
2. You Need a Car Accident Lawyer Who Plays Hardball
In a personal injury claim following a car accident, you must deal with insurance companies. This may involve both your’s and the other drivers. Not only do you need to get repairs or replacement of your vehicle covered, but the auto insurance pays medical expenses, loss of wages, and more following an accident.
Insurance companies are out to make a profit from collecting premiums, not paying claims. They are likely to make you a low-ball offer they believe you will accept quickly after your accident. Never agree to or sign anything until you have met with a car accident attorney.
Auto accident attorneys work to get you the compensation you deserve. They have experience in negotiating claims based on the extent of your injuries and long-term prognosis for a complete recovery.
The amount of your settlement goes higher if you suffer permanent life-altering injuries. Insurance companies know this and try to get you to settle for a small amount of what you may be entitled to.
Once you accept a settlement from an insurance company, you cannot go back later and file a claim for a higher amount. The full medical and wage loss costs from an accident may not be known for several months. Always speak to an attorney prior to signing any settlement offer.
3. Make Sure Your Personality Meshes With Your Attorney’s
Litigation in a car accident personal injury case can take months or years to settle. Every attorney takes the same oath of office and must follow the same code of ethics and rules of professional responsibility. Professional conduct doesn’t guarantee your personalities will be compatible.
Just like in any area of life, some people mesh well together, and others make you cringe. There will be numerous telephone conversations, emails, meetings, and more with your attorney as your case progresses. You don’t need to be best friends, but liking and respecting each other will make the process more pleasant.
4. Pick Someone Who Communicates
An attorney who communicates well is someone who takes the time to listen to your concerns and answer your questions during the initial consultation. They will also provide you with information regarding what they can do for you. They want to make sure you understand the legal process, fees for their services, and more.
When you file a personal injury claim due to a car accident, fees are handled on a contingency basis. This means you do not owe any attorney fees unless they win your case. You will need to sign an agreement hiring them that will include information on how the contingency fee works and is paid.
When you have negotiations or a lawsuit pending, you want to know what is going on. What seems a normal period of time for your personal injury attorney can seem like an eternity to you.
Attorneys have a busy professional life. They must meet with clients, appear in court, review medical records and other evidence, write or review legal documents. They also handle correspondence, check emails, voice mail, text messages, and communicate with office staff.
During your initial consultation ask the attorney the best way to communicate with them. They may have a paralegal or legal assistant you can contact.
These professionals cannot provide you with legal advice. They can respond to questions about court procedures. They can take in any evidence you need to drop off and will be your main line of contact regarding any updates as your case progresses.
5. Check References
An attorney is not likely to provide you with a list of clients due to attorney/client privilege. You can find reviews of legal services by doing an internet search under the lawyer’s name.
Many attorneys also have a testimonial page or show results from previously handled cases on their website. If you are unable to find any information about the attorney or the reviews are negative, that is someone to avoid.
You may also find reputable attorneys through word of mouth. Just don’t let yourself get pressured into hiring your friend’s daughter’s boyfriend because your friend claims they are a good lawyer. Make sure the attorney you hire specializes in car accident injuries and has solid reviews.
Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney?
If you are the victim of a car accident where you suffer personal injuries, one of the first calls you or a family member needs to make is to the law firm of reputable car accident attorneys. They will begin gathering evidence and know the deadline to make sure a lawsuit is filed on time. Your attorney represents you in negotiations with insurance companies and in court.
Contact Sweet Lawyers 24/7 for a 100% free no-obligation consultation at (800) 674-7854, by text, email, or use our online form. Our car accident lawyers have more than 40 years of collective experience. When representing you on a personal injury claim we handle the property damage portion of your case for free.