Each year, about 193,564 injury crashes in California result in about 277,160 persons getting injured. No one plans to get hurt or have their car get damaged, which leaves thousands of people suffering without the financial resources to make themselves whole again. Hiring an auto accident attorney could be the answer.
Following this guide will help you find a good car accident attorney to represent you in a claim for damages resulting from an auto accident.
Ask the People You Trust
The average American files a car accident insurance claim once every 17.9 years. This means that most people are in 3-4 car accidents throughout their life. With these statistics, the best place to start looking for a lawyer is with the people you know.
Ask family members, friends, and neighbors if they have experience with a local car accident attorney. Find out if they were satisfied with the lawyer’s communication, legal strategy, and the case’s outcome.
Confirm the Attorney’s Professional Status
Once you decide to hire a car accident lawyer, protect yourself by researching them on the State Bar of California’s website. Enter the attorney’s name or bar number. You can then confirm that the individual is eligible to practice law in the state of California.
You will also see the individual’s disciplinary and administrative history. This gives you a better indication of their professional performance as a lawyer. Someone with repeated disciplinary notes on their record may not be reliable enough for you to trust with your auto accident claim.
Ask About Technology Utilized
The legal field tends to lag behind other industries when adopting the latest technology. However, plenty of valuable resources are available for the best car accident lawyers willing to embrace technology.
For example, the Transportation Injury Mapping System provides California traffic accident tracking, mapping, and diagramming. This can provide a valuable resource when arguing your accident claim.
What Is the Lawyer’s Experience?
The longer a lawyer practices, the more knowledge they gain about specific types of cases with a particular set of facts. Over time, they will recognize similar facts from previous cases. This helps them establish a more effective representation strategy.
Long practicing attorneys also have multiple claims with the same insurance company. Once a lawyer figures out how a particular insurance company works, they can use this information to become a more effective negotiator on behalf of their clients.
Ask About Their Performance Track Record
No lawyer can promise or guarantee a particular outcome to a claim. However, most clients prefer hiring a lawyer with a strong track record of success. The theory is that someone with a history of winning cases has better odds of winning in the future.
Ask about more than the general firm’s track record. Refine this question by asking about the lawyer’s track record with cases that have facts similar to yours. The lawyer won’t give you specific case information due to client confidentiality, but they can give you a generalized idea of case outcomes.
What Is the Attorney’s Specialization?
Some attorneys choose to represent a wide range of client types and claims, while others prefer to specialize in a small subset of cases. For example, auto accidents are a category of personal injury claims.
Within auto accidents, there are several categories that lawyers can choose to focus their practice on.
- Single vehicle
- Multiple vehicles
Look For Compatible Communication Methods
Think about how you prefer to communicate. For example, some people appreciate a phone call, while others prefer text or email communication. If an auto accident lawyer uses phone communication but you prefer email, this can create conflict in communication that makes it challenging to work on your case.
In addition to the method, consider communication volume. The more open the lawyer is with their client, the more confident the client feels about the lawyer’s representation.
Does the Firm Have Medical Professional Relationships?
Law firms with close relationships with established medical professionals can provide you with more resources. Not only can you seek medical advice and care, but you can get a professional analysis of the strength of your medical evidence. This can help you better understand the strength and value of your claim.
Consider the Size of the Firm
You need a law firm with the necessary resources to fight for you. Car accident claims can require long-term investigation and potentially lengthy trials. Unfortunately, small firms may lack the financial resources to go head to head with large insurance companies or corporations.
Don’t risk losing your lawsuit claim because your attorney can’t afford to continue to represent you. This financial pressure can lead the firm to push you to settle for less than you deserve.
Can You Afford Them?
Do not blindly hire the most expensive law firm that you can find. Cost does not equate to quality or success rate. Instead, look for the best quality firm within your budget. Typically, car accident attorneys charge their clients on a contingency fee basis.
You won’t have to pay upfront fees. Instead, the lawyer takes a pre-agreed upon percentage of the money they recover for you. Typically, this percentage is 33%, but it can range from 20 to 40%.
You can negotiate the percentage, and you should expect it to increase should your claim go to trial. Ask if the lawyer’s fee is calculated before or after deducting other costs. Finally, while you don’t owe the lawyer if they lose, you may still owe court costs and other expenses.
Always ask the lawyer to estimate costs and get your fee agreement in writing.
Hire an Auto Accident Attorney
If you’ve recently experienced a car accident, it is important not to wait. The sooner you hire an auto accident attorney, the sooner you will have someone advocating for your rights. Waiting too long can bar you from recovery or limit your attorney’s ability to represent your claim effectively.
Book a free case evaluation to meet with one of our experienced attorneys and discuss the circumstances surrounding your car accident.