5 Questions To Ask A Car Accident Lawyer
May 23, 2019 04:48 PM EDT
Nobody wants to be in a car accident, but the reality of modern life is that sooner or just about every driver will end up in at least fender bender-whether it was your fault or not. Knowing what to do in the immediate aftermath of a car accident could be what makes the difference between a big financial loss and enduring the incident. It can be a struggle financially to go through the entire process until the end of any claim or lawsuit, even if you wind up getting the compensation you needed.
Here are 5 questions to ask a car accident lawyer after you've been involved in a collision, and what else you should do to prepare yourself.
1. Why should I hire you, specifically?
Before you even begin diving into the details of your car accident, you need to realize that not all lawyers are created equally. Some are certainly better than others, though your budget may not permit you to hire whomever you wish. It's nevertheless incredibly important to thoroughly vet your legal experts before hiring them, as they're often expensive and can have a major impact on your financial security going forward.
When searching for an accident lawyer, ask them about their history of success and why they'd be a good fit for you and your particular case. There are a lot of highly segmented areas of practicing law, even within a niche such as car accident cases. There are lawyers who work cases involving specific factors like fender benders, brain injuries, taxi drivers, and so on. Lawyers who can't satisfactorily answer your questions aren't the ones you want to depend on if you need to take serious legal action.
2. What are your fees, and how are they structured?
The next thing to ask a potential lawyer is how they want to be paid. Every legal practice may have different fee structures, so it's important to understand that paying your car accident lawyer may not be as simple as writing them a check in the aftermath of a successful lawsuit. Most lawyers will want a percentage of the total final compensation you are awarded in the end rather than being paid upfront. However, knowing how to negotiate will always help you out regardless of the fee structures of the car accident lawyers you're considering.
After you've managed this, you can finally delve into the specifics of your crash.
3. How long will this case take to settle?
An important question for any car accident lawyer is how long they expect your case to take. Some car accidents are rather obvious affairs wherein on driver is clearly at fault, yet others can be mysterious and may even require weeks or months of arbitration before things finally settle down. Sometimes, it's not even worth pursuing legal action if the expected suit will drag on for long periods of time.
Ask your lawyer how long they estimate your case to take, and whether settling will occur sooner or later based on the facts of your particular crash. A similar question to this is "how should we proceed?" as some lawyers may even recommend dropping the case if it would be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to pursue while offering only meager rewards in the event of success. A good lawyer will not sugar coat the chances of your case. You should always look for a lawyer who will speak to you honestly but kindly.
4. How should I approach medical bills?
Car accidents are scary for an obvious reason - they can easily injure or even kill you or your loved ones who were inside the vehicle with you. Costly medical expenses are often incurred in the event of an accident, but that doesn't mean you'll always have an easy time paying for the treatments and rehabilitation you may need to recover. Grappling with the medical bills associated with a car accident can be a stressful and financially ruinous endeavor if you're unprepared for what's coming.
Laws vary by state, but in many places the driver who was at-fault for the incident is likely liable to pay your medical bills. It's worth discussing this with your lawyer and asking what the specific laws in your area are before expecting others to foot your hospital bill, however. If you're ever going to get other people to pay your medical bills, you'll need documents and other evidence proving you were harmed by their actions. Creating a post accident pain journal and keeping close track of your medical records is a worthwhile strategy for those who think others may be at fault for their injuries.
5. How should I deal with insurance companies?
The final question you should be asking a car accident lawyer is how you should manage the insurance companies who will be coming forward to deal with your accident. You always need to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible following an accident, but you may be approached with a check right away, and it's worthwhile to ask your lawyer if it's worth taking a payout now or holding out for something bigger.
As always, your attorney will need to analyze your specific case before making a recommendation. In many cases, insurance companies may attempt to lowball you with an estimate that severely underestimates the damages to your vehicle or body. That's why having a legal expert on hand is crucial - always be sure to ask your car accident lawyer about managing insurance companies before you proceed with legal action.