Car accidents are significant unplanned events that can happen to anyone, especially if injuries occur. While there is no way to plan or control the circumstances that caused the accident, you can plan and take control of the aftermath. Speaking with a car accident lawyer is one of the best ways to ensure you have the best possible outcome, protect your legal interests, and receive any compensation you need for damaged property and medical expenses.
For many, a car accident is the first time they will have spoken to a lawyer, and the experience can seem overwhelming. However, knowing what questions to ask a car accident lawyer helps you start on the right foot.
Start With These 5 Car Accident Lawyer Questions
In the aftermath of a car accident, consulting with a lawyer can help you better understand your rights, legal options, and how to proceed with any potential claims or lawsuits. Every case is different, and your lawyer may answer many of your questions before you can ask them, but these five basics are a great starting point:
1. Do you specialize in handling car accident cases like mine?
Finding an attorney with dedicated experience with car accidents, particularly cases like yours, is critical. To be effective, an attorney should have a deep understanding of how to navigate the laws in your jurisdiction and the practices and claims processes for auto insurance companies. In addition, car accident lawyers need to know how to meet key deadlines and submit documentation correctly. Even the best lawyer from another specialty may encounter problems and hurdles without hands-on experience.
2. How will you charge for taking my case, and what costs am I responsible for?
You should know what your car accident lawyer charges and understand the payment timeline. Many attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid a percentage of your total settlement if you win or settle your case. Others may bill by the hour. Many attorneys will also provide a free consultation to discuss your case and offer initial advice.
Additionally, whether you are paying by the hour or on a contingency, there are some situations where you may be responsible for additional fees and expenses that come up during the investigation.
If you are speaking to a car accident lawyer, it is critical to ask these financial questions so you can plan and budget accordingly.
3. Who in your firm will be handling my case?
Always ask if the lawyer you are speaking to in a consultation is the person who will be handling your case. If another attorney or legal professional will handle all or a large part of the case, ask if you can meet with this person to get a feel for their personality and abilities.
Although it is normal for a team of attorneys and professionals to handle different aspects of car accident casework, knowing as much about a prospective lawyer’s process from the beginning can be helpful. Additionally, you should ask about contact frequency and the best person and method to contact someone if you have follow-up questions or concerns.
4. What steps should I take to help my case and protect myself first?
After hearing the details of your accident, your lawyer should present you with recommendations or an action plan if they decide you have a case. As a follow-up, you should always ask about the most important steps you can take in your particular situation, including:
- Seeing a doctor for injuries and what documentation to receive
- Managing medical expenses and repair bills while the case is in progress
- How to speak with law enforcement if there is further investigation into the accident and get a copy of the police report
- How to properly and promptly file your accident and injury claim with your insurance, and what documentation you need
- Evidence to gather to support your claim or case
- What types of compensation to seek, including lost wages, pain and suffering, and other possible damages
- Whether you should speak with an accident reconstruction expert
Ultimately, a car accident lawyer is there to protect you and help you move on with your life after an accident and should be able to give you the practical steps necessary to do this.
5. How long does a case like mine typically take?
Timelines for car accident cases can vary depending on many factors, including the severity of the accident, disputes over who is at fault, the amount of evidence, and whether or not the case goes to court. As a result, settlements can take anywhere from a few months to years or longer. When asking this question, anyone should understand that no car accident attorney has a crystal ball and can only provide an estimate.
With that said, a car accident lawyer should have the experience from previous cases to provide a good-faith estimate of how long a settlement like yours can take. This information can be an important part of planning and help you navigate the road ahead.
Contact Clark Law Car Accident Attorneys Today if You Have Been in an Accident
If you have been injured in a car accident in the greater Tampa Bay area, you should meet with an experienced car accident lawyer to help you protect your rights. Contact Clark Law today for a free consultation on your case. We are an experienced and knowledgeable legal team ready to answer your questions, fight for your legal rights, and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.