How to Find the Best Car Accident Lawyer Near Me
If someone else caused a car crash that injured you, you may want to hire a lawyer to help you pursue compensation from the at-fault driver and the insurance companies. But you might not know where to start looking for a lawyer or how to find the best car accident lawyer in your area.
You have several avenues for finding prospective car accident lawyers to talk to about your case. You should familiarize yourself with the process of hiring a Miami car accident lawyer. More information about what steps you need to take to find the right car accident lawyer for your case follows.
Why You Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident
Having legal counsel after a car accident can:
- Provide legal knowledge and resources for investigating the crash
- Communicate with the insurance companies
- Help you obtain car repairs or specialist medical treatment for your injuries
- Deal with medical debt and bill collectors for you
- Timely file of your insurance and legal claims
- Advocate on your behalf after insurers undervalue or deny your claims
- Represent you in court should you decide to pursue compensation in a car accident lawsuit
When You Should Begin Looking for a Car Accident Lawyer
You should begin your search for a car accident lawyer as soon as possible following the accident. Cleanup of the accident scene, vehicle repairs, and fading witness memories may cause you to lose evidence for your legal claim. By hiring a car accident lawyer soon after the crash, your attorney can thoroughly investigate your case and prepare a persuasive argument for your right to compensation.
In addition, working with a car accident lawyer soon after a crash will allow you to pursue all available legal options before deadlines expire. That includes seeking coverage from your insurance or filing a claim against a state or local government.
What a Lawyer Does in a Car Accident Case
When you hire a car accident lawyer, you can expect them to handle the details of preparing your legal case and pursuing compensation from at-fault parties and insurers.
Tasks that your car accident lawyer will perform for you include:
- Investigating the crash to recover evidence, including accident reports, surveillance/traffic camera footage, or witness statements
- Evaluating your options for recovering compensation, including identifying parties who may have liability for your injuries and applicable insurance coverage
- Documenting your injuries and losses to ensure you have evidence to establish your compensation claim
- Drafting and filing your insurance and legal claims to begin seeking compensation from liable parties and the insurance companies
- Updating you on the progress of your case and answering questions you may have
- Negotiating on your behalf to reach a settlement that pays you the compensation you need as promptly as possible
- Filing a lawsuit and advocating your case in court or at trial if litigation gives you the best opportunity for maximizing your financial recovery
How Much Car Accident Lawyers Cost
Most car accident lawyers represent injured victims on a contingency fee basis. In a contingency fee arrangement, an injured accident victim does not pay any money upfront to hire their car accident lawyer. The lawyer receives a legal fee only if they recover compensation for their client through a settlement or by winning the client’s case at trial. If the lawyer fails to recover compensation, the client usually pays nothing.
A contingency fee is an agreed-upon percentage of the total compensation recovered for the client. This percentage may vary depending on the geographic area, the lawyer’s experience, and how far the case progressed. Many contingency fee agreements use a sliding percentage scale, with the percentage of the lawyer’s fee increasing at various milestones in the case, such as filing a lawsuit or going to trial.
Where You Can Find Car Accident Lawyers
Several avenues can give you leads for prospective car accident lawyers to handle your case:
- Family and friends. Family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who have had car accidents can refer you to their car accident lawyers. Family/friend referrals can give you a detailed insight into a lawyer’s skill, performance, and working style.
- Lawyer referrals. If you have an attorney for other legal matters, you can ask them to refer you to a car accident lawyer whose skill they respect.
- Bar associations and lawyer listing services. State and local bar associations maintain lists of attorneys for various fields of law. Many legal publications or online resources also provide attorney listing services.
- Internet searches. You can also find prospective car accident lawyers in your city through an internet search. However, you should never choose a car accident lawyer based only on their website advertising.
Car Accident Lawyers Usually Offer Free Consultations
You do not need to hire the first car accident lawyer that you find. Most car accident lawyers and law firms offer free initial consultations, with no obligation to hire the lawyer or their firm at the end of the meeting. The initial consultation allows the lawyer to listen to your story and determine whether you may have a viable legal claim. A consultation also allows you to ask questions of the car accident lawyer to help you decide whether you want to hire that lawyer.
You should take advantage of free initial consultation opportunities to speak with multiple car accident lawyers to find the best car accident lawyer for you and your case. Speak openly and honestly with the lawyer during your consultation. Attorneys must maintain the confidentiality of conversations with prospective clients. Lying to your lawyer or concealing unfavorable details may invalidate the lawyer’s analysis of your claim and will start your relationship off on the wrong foot.
What Factors You Should Look For in a Car Accident Lawyer
Several factors you should evaluate when deciding which lawyer to hire for your car accident claim include:
- Practice focus. You should look for a lawyer with a strong focus on car accident claims. You will want a lawyer who regularly handles car accident cases rather than a lawyer who practices bankruptcy or family law. An attorney who regularly handles car accident claims will know what steps to take to prepare and pursue your case.
- Experience. You may prefer a car accident lawyer with extensive experience in car accident cases. A lawyer who has worked on car accident claims for years will have seen many different situations and will know how to react if obstacles or complications arise in your case.
- Firm resources. You should also ensure that your car accident lawyer and their firm or practice have the resources necessary to pursue your claims. A good car accident lawyer will have connections with industry-leading experts in different fields, including accident reconstruction, medicine, or finance. You may also want to choose a lawyer with partners and associates and a support staff to assist them. Your lawyer should also have the financial capacity to continue litigating your case if the at-fault driver or insurance company offers you a lowball settlement and you can’t reach an acceptable settlement immediately.
- Track record. You need a car accident lawyer with an established record of success in car accident cases. You should look for an attorney with a high percentage of successfully recovering compensation both in settlements and at trial. A car accident lawyer with trial experience will take your claims to court if the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair settlement. Your attorney should have enough litigation experience to manage your case effectively if that happens.
- Working style. You should try to find a car accident lawyer whose personality and working style mesh with yours. A contentious or stressful relationship with your car accident lawyer may negatively affect the outcome of your claim. You should confirm the lawyer’s expectations for your working relationship, including how frequently they expect to contact you or whether they expect you to handle any tasks for your case.
What You Should Do Before the Free Consultation
You should take the following steps to help prepare before an initial consultation with a car accident lawyer:
- Gather any relevant documentation and evidence you have, such as accident scene photos/videos, police accident reports, medical records, or correspondence with the insurance company.
- Collect records of your financial losses from the accident, including bills, invoices, receipts, or pay stubs/income statements. Also, make sure to have a copy of your auto insurance policy.
- Go over your recollection of the accident and take notes that can help you answer questions the lawyer may have about the crash.
- Prepare a list of questions to ask the lawyer to help you decide if you want to hire them.
Questions You Should Ask a Prospective Car Accident Lawyer During Your Consultation
A car accident lawyer should allow you to ask them questions during your initial consultation.
Examples of questions that can help you find the best car accident lawyer for your case include:
- How long have you practiced law?
- How long have you handled car accident claims?
- What percentage of your practice includes car accident claims?
- How often do you recover compensation in car accident claims?
- How often do you go to trial in car accident claims, and how often do you win?
- How many cases similar to mine have you handled?
- What do you think about the strength of my case?
- Will you handle my case, or will another attorney handle it?
- Who else will work on my case?
- How frequently should I expect to hear from you during my case?
- How quickly will you respond to my calls or emails?
- Can I reach you by phone/email/text?
- Will I have your direct number?
- What tasks will you expect me to perform, such as obtaining my medical records?
- How does your fee structure work? Will I have to pay anything if you cannot recover
Frequently Asked Questions About Working With a Car Accident Lawyer
Other questions you may have about getting the best car accident lawyer for your case include the following:
Can You Change Your Lawyer in the Middle of Your Car Accident Case?
Once you have hired a car accident lawyer, you should not feel stuck with your choice if you become dissatisfied with your lawyer’s performance in your case. You can switch lawyers if you find another attorney you believe can better assist you in your car accident claim. You should review the terms of your fee agreement with your existing lawyer to confirm any obligations you may have to your lawyer, such as compensating them for work they have already performed on your case.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Get a Car Accident Settlement?
You might assume you don’t need a lawyer after the insurance company offers you a settlement immediately following a car accident. However, you should recognize that a quick settlement benefits the insurance company more than it benefits you. You may not yet realize the full extent of your injuries and losses in the days after a car accident.
By accepting a settlement soon after a car crash, you may recover less than the maximum compensation for your losses. A lawyer can help you through the settlement process by building a persuasive case in favor of your right to compensation, documenting your losses, and negotiating a larger settlement when the insurance company undervalues your claim.
Should You Hire a Lawyer for a Car Accident You Partially Caused?
Yes. You need a car accident attorney to help protect your rights and interests if you believe you may bear some or all of the responsibility for a car accident. Remember that even if you think you caused the crash, the evidence may reveal that another party was at fault for the accident. In addition, the law allows you to pursue compensation even if you share some responsibility for the car accident. A car accident lawyer can advocate for you to maximize your financial recovery. Reach out to a Miami personal injury lawyer.