If you've been hurt in a car accident, the lawyer you hire will have a great impact on your case's chances for success. Hiring an auto accident attorney who's knowledgeable and skilled will increase the likelihood of a positive outcome, while making a mistake when choosing a lawyer could doom your case to failure or a low settlement. As you're considering car accident attorneys, make sure you avoid these mistakes. As long as you avoid these potentially costly errors, you'll be more likely to end up with a lawyer who's well-qualified to represent your case.
Mistake 1: Expecting an Auto Accident Attorney to Guarantee a Specific Settlement
Based on similar claims that they've handled, auto accident attorneys can frequently project how a case might play out. A good attorney, however, won't guarantee the outcome of your case because every case has its own merits and considerations.
Don't pick an attorney based on what they promise will come of your case. Instead, look at their particular credentials and past record with cases like yours.
Mistake 2: Not Selecting an Auto Accident Attorney Who Has Trial Experience
There are two reasons to only consider auto accident attorneys who have trial experience.
First, you'll want an attorney who's been in trials before if your case ends up in court. The chances of your case going to trial are low -- 90 percent of cases are settled before they get to the trial stage. Any case, however, could end up going to trial. You'll need a lawyer who's experienced with trials if yours does.
Second, having a trial attorney on your side can benefit you even if your case doesn't go to trial. If an insurance company you're suing knows your attorney has no trial experience, the insurer might refuse to offer a large settlement. They may keep their settlement offer low, because they know there's little risk of losing a major trial to an attorney who's not versed in trying cases.
Some people are hesitant to hire an auto accident attorney who has trial experience, because they're afraid such an attorney will cost more. Trial lawyers may charge more, but auto accident injury cases are usually charged on a contingency fee basis. Assuming yours is, you'll only have to pay if you win. If your case goes to trial, you may have to pay an attorney more -- but you'll also likely be awarded more than you would settle for out of court.
Mistake 3: Not Asking Who Will Be Working on Your Case
When interviewing an auto accident attorney, it's important to find out who exactly will work on your case. Depending on the specifics of your case and size of a practice, there are several people who might be involved in your case:
- the attorney you speak with
- junior attorneys in the practice
- paralegals in the practice
It's alright if the attorney you speak with isn't the only person working on your case. Practices won't assign your case to an under-qualified lawyer or paralegal, so there's no risk of compromising your case because it was assigned to someone else. That's not what this question is intended for.
Instead, you'll want to ask this question so you know who you'll be interacting with. Knowing who's involved with your case can help you streamline communication, as you can directly ask for the person you need to talk with if you have to tell them something. You'll also know who to expect calls and emails from when there are updates about your case. This saves both you and your lawyer time, which is something everyone involved with your case will appreciate.
For more information, contact local professionals like Speers Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C.