Each year, there are nearly seven million car crashes in the United States, and nearly two million of them cause injuries. If you’re one of those two million injured people, you might be entitled to compensation from the person who caused your crash. But you won’t be able to get that money without help from a good car accident lawyer in Phoenix.
Finding a good lawyer to represent you in your car accident case can be tricky. Read on to discover some of the top dos and don’ts for finding an attorney you can trust with your case.
Do Act Fast
When it comes to hiring a lawyer in Phoenix, the first thing you need to do is act fast. Car accidents can be traumatizing, especially if you were injured, and the days afterward can be chaotic. But as soon as you are able, you need to reach out and start looking for a good accident lawyer.
Details about accidents fade quickly, and the other people involved in the accident may be making their own preparations soon. You may also miss opportunities to collect evidence that could be critical in winning your case. Get in touch with an attorney as soon as you’re able after your accident to give yourself the best chance of winning.
Don’t Rush to Hire
Although you want to move quickly on hiring an attorney, you don’t want to necessarily hire the first person you find. As we’ll discuss more later, your lawyer needs to be someone you can trust to fight for you. You need to find someone with the experience and knowledge you need, as well as someone you trust.
Start making a list of accident lawyers in your area and dive in on the research. Check their website, talk to friends and family, and read online reviews from independent third parties. You’ll have to move fast during this process, but don’t just rush out to hire the first lawyer you can lay your hands on.
Do Ask for Referrals
One great way to build your shortlist of accident lawyers is to talk to friends and family who have worked with lawyers in the past. If you know someone who has been involved in a car accident lawsuit before, they’ll be a fantastic resource. But any family members who have relationships with lawyers can be good starting points.
Ask your loved ones which lawyers they’ve worked with within their cases and how their experience was. Find out if they won their case and, if not, if they feel the lawyer did everything in their power to get them the best possible outcome. If they did win the case, find out if their lawyer still went above and beyond in getting them their fair compensation.
Don’t Go Far from Home
Another way to narrow down your list of potential lawyers is to stick to those who are close to where you live. Over the coming months, you’re going to be going back and forth to your lawyer’s office a lot. You don’t want to have to trek an hour or more to get to your lawyer’s office, especially if you’re recovering from injuries.
While sticking close to home is helpful, however, you do want to keep some reasonable limits on this. If you live somewhere rural, there may not be any good lawyers you can trust close to you. Try to balance how far you’ll have to go to get to them with the benefit of their expertise and reputation.
Do Look for Experience
Now that you have your shortlist of lawyers, it will be time to start narrowing down who you want to work with. One of the first criteria you should base your decision on is how much experience each lawyer has. The more experienced a lawyer is, the more likely they’ll be able to handle any snags that come up in your case.
In addition to years of experience, you should also examine how much experience each lawyer has with car accident cases in particular. A lawyer may have twenty years of experience, but if it’s with family law, that isn’t going to be much help in your accident case. You want to find a lawyer who has a strong history of fighting and winning cases like yours.
Don’t Pay for a Consultation
Once you’ve narrowed down your list to two or three lawyers, it’s a good idea to set up in-person consultations with them. This will give you a chance to evaluate them in person and talk about your case. You can see if this is going to be a person you can trust and find out if they think your case is worth pursuing.
When you’re setting up these in-person consultations, keep in mind that these meetings should be free. A good lawyer won’t charge you until they evaluate your case and decide it’s one they can help with. If a lawyer tries to bill you for the initial consultation, cross them off your list and move on to the next candidate.
Do Ask About the Price
While the in-person consultation may be free, the legal services you’re getting certainly won’t be. Some accident lawyers have a policy that you don’t pay unless they win your case. But outside of these circumstances, you are going to have to pay legal fees at some point, and it’s a good idea to know how that will work.
Talk to your Phoenix attorney about how they manage billing and how much they charge for their services. Is there a flat-rate package you can purchase, or do they charge hourly for their services? Will you need to pay some of the cost up-front, will they bill you throughout the process, or will you pay it all in a lump sum at the end?
When you go into the initial consultation with your lawyer, it’s incredibly important that you remain as honest as possible about the circumstances of your accident. Remember, your lawyer is there to help you win a fair compensation package. They can’t do that if you don’t tell them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
It can be easy to try to spin the circumstances of your accident to portray yourself in a better light. Resist this urge with your lawyer; let them handle presenting the evidence in the best possible light. Tell them everything you can as honestly as you can, and do not hide information from them about the case.
Do Gather Your Files
Before you go in for your initial consultation, it’s a good idea to gather as many files relating to your accident as possible. This evidence will help your attorney decide if your case has a good enough chance of winning to be worth fighting. And the sooner you can show them this documentation, the less you’ll pay in fees.
Gather the police report relating to your accident and any medical records you have after the accident. You may also want to get any insurance statements you have together. And while the events are still fresh in your mind, it may be a good idea to write down a timeline of exactly what happened immediately before, during, and after your accident.
Don’t Assume Your Case Will Win
If you’re seeking out a personal injury attorney, of course, you think your case is worth taking to court. And there may very well be injustice in the events surrounding your accident. But it’s important that you don’t go into your initial consultations with the mindset that you can win your case.
The unfortunate truth is that, in some cases, the evidence may not be strong enough to support your case. If your lawyer is advising you that your case isn’t viable, you may do well to trust that opinion. Of course, you can get a second opinion, but if you trust the people you’re talking to, you may need to accept that your case just isn’t worth the money it will cost to fight it.
Do Hire Someone You Trust
We’ve mentioned several times that you need to hire a lawyer you trust, and that may be one of the most important factors in your hiring decision. When your trial begins, you’re going to be placing all your faith (and a lot of your money) in your lawyer. You need to feel secure in the knowledge that they’re fighting for your best interests.
If a lawyer gives you an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach, trust that and hire someone else. If you win with a lawyer you trust, you’ll know that the settlement you’re getting is as favorable for you as possible. If you lose with a lawyer you trust, you’ll be secure in the knowledge that they did their best to change that outcome.
Don’t Leave Without a Contract
At the end of your initial consultation, when you’ve found a lawyer you like, it will be time to sort out the details of your arrangement. You’ll need to figure out the payment arrangements we discussed earlier, as well as what additional documentation you need to provide. And if your lawyer has a “you don’t pay unless we win” policy, you need to nail down the specifics of that arrangement.
It’s a good idea to sign a contract with your lawyer either before you leave your initial consultation or soon after. This will protect both of you in the working relationship and define what’s expected of each of you. And if you have any questions about the content of the contract, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.
Do Follow Your Attorney’s Advice
Once work on your case starts, the single best thing you can do is follow your attorney’s advice. This is the reason it’s so important to find someone you trust – you’re going to be following their directions to the letter. Your lawyer has trained for this and knows how to win your case, so your job is to give them the tools they need to do that.
Get any documentation and evidence your lawyer asks you for as soon as possible. In court, follow their advice about what to say, how to present yourself, and so on. If you do need clarification on something, ask them in private, but for the most part, trust their professional opinion and let them do their job.
Don’t Neglect the Dress Code
Aside from following your lawyer’s advice, the best way to ensure your case is successful is to show the judge that you are a reliable, trustworthy person. First impressions are important, and you don’t want the judge to think you’re a slob. It’s a good idea to dress professionally for any appearances in court.
Wear nice pants and a dress shirt in a solid, neutral color. You may want to add a blazer on top, even in the summer, since courtrooms may be cold. Also, make sure your hair is trimmed and arranged neatly, and avoid wearing any jewelry that makes too bold a statement on the day of your court appearance.
Find the Best Car Accident Lawyer in Phoenix
A good car accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you’re entitled to after a crash. Move quickly, but take the time to shop around and find a lawyer you can trust. Take as much evidence as possible to your initial consultation, follow your lawyer’s advice, and dress nicely for your court date.
If you’d like to find the best car accident lawyer in Phoenix, check out the rest of our site at Sweet Law. We are experienced personal injury lawyers who will be there with you every step of the way. Get started with us today and discover the confidence in our 99 percent success rate.