Estimated Time to Read: 3 minutes

Have you been injured in a car accident? Depending on the severity of the incident, you could be involved in a personal injury claim. That will entail having to deal with the insurance company and their claims adjuster, and, as their job is to minimize the amount of payout, you can expect them to play hardball. If you are not in the mental and physical state to handle that, it will be a good idea to hire a capable car accident attorney to represent you and look after your interests.

Here are a few things to consider when hiring a car accident attorney:

Do they offer a free consultation?

Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation during which they will review your case and assess what your chances are of getting fair compensation. They will also explain how soon you will need to make your legal filing and how the case will proceed. They will let you know if it will be possible to negotiate a settlement or if you will need to go to trial, what your role will be if it goes to trial, and what the outcome could be. During this meeting, you will get an idea about the car accident attorney’s expertise, knowledge, and communication skills.

Do they have extensive experience in handling cases similar to yours?

When you hire a car accident attorney, you want someone with a reasonable amount of experience. They should know how the legal system operates and how to handle various accident-related legal issues. These include gathering and organizing evidence and communicating and negotiating with the insurance company. They should be able to anticipate possible problems and take steps to prevent them or to keep them from blowing out of proportion.

Make inquiries about the outcomes of their previous cases. Have they been able to negotiate with the other party and get a sizable compensation for their client? Have they gone to trial and won? It might be a worrying sign if they have had more numbers of settlements than trials. It could mean that they are more interested in closing cases quickly than holding out for justice. As such, they might accept even a negligible amount from the other party rather than try to get you more appropriate compensation for your pain and suffering.

How much do they charge in legal fees and additional expenses?

Many attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t have to pay them any legal fees unless they win the case for you. However, whether they win or lose the case, you will still have to pay them for the additional expenses that they have incurred in the course of handling your car accident case. For instance, they might have spent on travel expenses, case filing fees, expert fees, witness fees, and so on.

You should inquire about the fees and expenses during your initial consultation and ask them to give you an approximate estimate. It is best to have a clear idea of what the case will cost you than to be surprised by a large bill at the end.

Who will you be working with exactly?

The car accident attorney you meet during your initial consultation may not be the one who handles your case eventually. It is common for law firms to have senior attorneys meet with new clients and then assign the case to less experienced attorneys. However, they should be transparent about this and inform you in advance. If they are not forthcoming, ask upfront if you will be working with them or with someone else. If it is another car accident attorney, arrange for a meeting.

Do they offer easy access and communication?

You should be able to meet with your car accident attorney in person to discuss the different aspects of your case. You should also be able to contact them over the phone, by video-conferencing, and via email. They should inform you of all the developments in your case and be willing to answer your questions. Since you could be working together for several months on your legal matters, it is essential to hire someone willing to give you their attention and time.