Believe it or not driving is one of the most dangerous activities most of us will do in a lifetime. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports
that there are more than 30,000 deaths and over 2 million injuries from motor vehicle crashes each year in the U.S. Look, we all do our best to obey the traffic rules and to
drive responsibly, but when the unsuspecting accident occurs its important to know how to legally protect yourself.
While the crash itself may be upsetting, dealing with the aftermath can be too. In the days following the car accident you might have questions about your legal rights to
compensation especially if you believe you have a good case. Exactly who is at fault? Who should pay for auto repair and rental car? Who pays for my medical bills, and
can I be compensated for pain and suffering? If there is an injury, your first step is to locate an experienced injury lawyer to navigate you through uncharted territory. This
is a very important decision so choosing the right attorney is paramount.
So, what service does an injury lawyer provide?
A personal injury lawyer helps individuals who have sustained injuries in accidents to recover financial compensation. These funds are often needed to pay for medical treatment,
make up for lost wages and provide compensation for injuries suffered. Sometimes a case that seems simple at first may become more complicated. In these cases, consider hiring
an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Its important to know that most injury attorneys work on a contingent-fee basis, and only get paid if there is a successful resolution to your claim. So there’s no need for you to
go it alone. Leave it to the experienced professional with years of knowledge about the relevant laws and procedural rules that may affect your case. Hiring an attorney will almost
always ensure a much better settlement.
Deciding the right attorney
The first step to securing proper representation is to ensure careful research is done. Don’t sign with the first attorney you meet, interview as many as necessary until you are
completely confident. Select an attorney who has years of proven experience handling personal injury cases. There are many different accident attorneys with specialties, evaluate
to determine who has the most experience with your specific type of case.
NOTE: It’s important to know that most attorneys will not charge you for the initial consultation. Consider your options if the lawyer insists on charging you for the first sit down.
There are several ways to find the names of experienced personal injury lawyers. You should consider taking referrals from friends, colleagues or family. Firsthand knowledge of an
attorney (from a trusted source) not only can expedite your search but provide great comfort and confidence. Once you have received several prospects, you should talk to each of
them and check out their level of experience and case results.
Here are a few additional pointers when deciding on an attorney.
- Make sure you are comfortable with working with your lawyer. Establishing a good rapport with open dialogue and great communication will be valuable.
- Ensure your attorney has not had discipline issues. Do your research. Reading previous client reviews can be very helpful identifying potential red flags, as well as
the attorney’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Have they tried similar cases in the past? What is their success rate? When was their last case?
At this point you’ve done your research and you know the type of attorney that would best represent you. After you have settled on a lawyer, your job is not done as you still
have plenty of action items to execute. Here are some next steps.
Schedule a sit down with the attorney to discuss your situation as well as any personal injury claim. There are important documents you should take to your initial meeting.
Documents should include:
- All medical records and expenses
- A copy of the police report
- Any proof of income loss, include W-2s and pay stubs
- Correspondence from insurance company
- Any additional material to support your position, including medical and accident photos
Discussing the settlement
After you’ve discussed and reviewed your car accident case, it’s time to ask the attorney the million-dollar question, “How much do you think the case is worth”?
At this point, you should let the attorney know what your desired settlement goals are. These can include:
- Shoot for the optimal amount of money, no matter if it takes months or years.
- Secure a lower settlement amount with minimal costs and as little time wasted.
It’s vital that both you and your attorney are on the same page especially with strategy. What is your current financial position? Are you financially solvent and in no need of immediate settlement funds? These are important strategy questions that should be discussed before proceeding.
Attorney Fee Agreement
Finally, make sure you fully understand the attorney fee agreement. Ask questions and consider having a friend or family member review the contract to ensure you have not missed any important detail.