Accidents happen! From minor fender benders to major collisions, it can be a terrifying experience. But what is even more gratifying is dealing with the litigations that can keep you occupied in a legal battle till a settlement can be reached. This is where professional expertise comes in handy. Accident attorneys specialize in such matters of the law to ensure a fair settlement and favorable compensation for the aggrieved party. Here are 7 expert tips that you can refer to to hire good representation.
Do your research
Obtain referrals from friends and family members who have previously hired or worked with these professionals. Recommendations go a long way when it comes to hiring good attorneys at law. You can also contact your State’s Bar association to obtain the contact information of licensed attorneys practicing in your local neighborhood. Broaden the search a bit more by comparing law firms online. Law firm websites will also post details about the number of years of experience, cases history, and special services available for clients. You can also read testimonials of clients who have hired their services.
Experience and expertise
Accident attorneys specialize in practicing the legalities that are enforced upon the parties involved in an accident. For example, lawyers well-versed in personal injury protection can help guide their clients to protect their interests against the plaintiff allegations. They understand the intricacies of legal jargons that work for and against the case. You must understand their expertise and grasp the subject matter. How many cases have they handled for the firm, what is their win-to-loss ratio and the expected outcome in cases where the client is liable? These are all pertinent questions to ask.
Communication is key
Once you have narrowed down the list, schedule meetings to discuss your requirements. You will have to provide all the necessary information for the attorney to make a case in your favor. So, spare no details and keep your attorney informed well in advance. This will also allow time to prepare the case and present facts for either an out-of-court mediation or during the trial. Keep your documents organized, be available, and answer calls promptly so that your attorney can keep you informed about the progress.
Discuss all costs
Legal expenses can put a severe dent in your budget. Attorneys may charge a fee for just consulting the case before you can even hire them to represent. Ask for a cost break up in writing and have them explain what additional charges if the case goes to trial. Some accident attorneys charge their fees only after winning the case. Others may ask for an upfront advance and even claim out-of-pocket expenses to prepare for the case. Many attorneys charge a percentage of the settlement offer as their fee. So, it pays to discuss all costs in advance to make an informed decision. Ask for a contract that stipulates all these terms and explains the legalities.
Establish an understanding
When you hire a professional to represent a case, try to determine the type of lawyer-client relationship. For example, some attorneys communicate directly and discuss matters of the case on a personal level. Others may instruct their assistants or subordinates working on the case to provide updates. Are you comfortable with multiple points of contact or prefer discussing matters in private quarters? It is up to you to establish an understanding to maintain certain client-attorney privileges.
Hire with care
Don’t be in a hurry to hire the first accident attorney. Evaluate all consultations and compare the services that attorneys are willing to provide. Consider factors like comfort level, affordability, and professional expertise in general. Take your time with interviews in case you want to retain the attorney for future services.
Settlements can take time, as there are factors like availability of court dates, continuances, facts of the cases, and availability of parities involved in the proceedings. It may be several weeks or months before you can expect some form of settlement. Be patient and do not lose hope if the court proceedings drag on for an extended period. It is your attorney’s job to handle all the legalities and keep you informed about the progress.