You just been in an auto accident where the other driver was at fault. Unfortunately, more often than not, the insurance company will cite some excuse for not approving your claim. Alternatively, it may approve your claim but offer a far less sum. These scenarios happen quite frequently, and it’s under these circumstances that you need to hire an auto accident attorney. Where should you begin looking for a lawyer?
Where to Search for an Attorney
The easy and obvious answer would be to just tell you to scour the web. Most law firms, after all, do have their own website these days. The site is where you can learn about individual lawyers, practice areas, and record of success. However, you shouldn’t rely solely on the Internet for your search.
Another method you should also try is to ask family and friends for a reference. People you know well and trust may have been in a similar situation before and had good results with a particular lawyer or firm.
It may also be the case that you know a lawyer that practices law in another field. Perhaps you once hired a divorce lawyer. While auto accidents aren’t his area of specialty, he can refer you to one. Many lawyers have wide social connections within the law industry.
After Finding a Lawyer
Your job isn’t over once you found a lawyer. There is the initial consultation. We advise arranging for multiple consultations with different law firms. Consultation is usually free, so you have nothing to lose.
Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Some questions you can ask – if they’re not already on the lawyer’s website – include:
- How long have you been practicing law?
- How many cases have you handled that’s similar to my situation?
- Who is your typical client? Are they usually individuals (like yourself), or corporations?
- Do you charge by the hour, or do you collect a percentage of my claim?
Aside from asking questions, just use your instinct. Your gut will tell you if the attorney is right for you. If you don’t feel like it’s a good fit, don’t be afraid to say “no, thank you,” and move on.
The Next Step
Once you think you got a good lawyer, start asking more specific questions about your case. If there is a solid case, what strategy does he propose? What is his opinion on a settlement negotiation or mediation with the other party? Just as importantly, ask the lawyer what will your role be. In most cases, you can help by preparing documents, refrain from speaking with witnesses, etc.
The First Step Is the Most Important
Hiring an auto accident attorney begins with picking up the phone. This is the vital first step that most people never take. Remember that you have nothing to lose by arranging for a consultation. It is only by speaking with a lawyer face-to-face that you will know whether he/she is the right person to be your legal counsel.