Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic experience. The last thing you want to do is deal with the legal aftermath. However, if you plan on pursuing a personal injury claim, you will need to hire a car accident lawyer.
Not all lawyers are created equal. Some are better suited for your case than others. Here are tips to help you choose the right car accident lawyer for you.
Consider Your Budget
Lawyers cost money. How much you are willing or able to spend on legal fees will be a major factor in choosing the right car accident lawyer for you. So make sure to find out about legal fees from the beginning.
Ask them about their fee structure. Some may charge by the hour while others may work on a contingency basis.
The former means you will need to pay the lawyer regardless of whether you win or lose your case. The latter means the lawyer will only get paid if you win your case and will receive a percentage of the settlement.
Still, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount or payment plan if the lawyer you want to hire is only slightly out of your price range.
Choose a Local Lawyer
There are many good car accident lawyers out there, but the best one for you is probably a local lawyer.
A local lawyer will be familiar with the laws and court procedures in your area. He or she will also have a network of other professionals who can help with your case, such as investigators and expert witnesses.
What’s more, meeting face-to-face is always best when working with someone on something as important as your legal case. That’s much harder to do when he or she is located in another state.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. If you were injured in a car accident while traveling out of state, for example, it may make more sense to hire a lawyer who practices in that state.
Pay Attention to Communication Skills
Your lawyer should be someone you feel comfortable communicating with. After all, you will be sharing a lot of personal information with him or her.
You should also be able to get in touch with your lawyer when you need to. He or she should return your calls and emails promptly. If you find yourself waiting days or even weeks for a response, that’s a red flag.
It’s also important that your lawyer keep you updated on the status of your case. You should never feel in the dark about what’s going on.
Finally, your lawyer should be able to explain things to you in layman’s terms. The last thing you want is to feel like your lawyer is talking down to you or using legalese that you don’t understand.
To hire the right lawyer for you, look for someone within your budget, with a good communication style, and who is familiar with the laws in your state. And don’t be afraid to ask around for recommendations. Friends, family, and even co-workers may have a lawyer they can recommend.