Have you recently been in a motor vehicle accident?
Being in a car crash can be a stressful and traumatic event. But it can also have long-term consequences on your health and daily life.
According to the CDC, each year in the United States there are more than 32,000 people killed and 2 million people injured in automobile accidents. It’s a staggering statistic that reflects the dangers associated with operating a motor vehicle.
If you are injured in an accident, you may consider an attorney to represent your interests. Read on to learn more about questions to ask your lawyer after your car crash.
Do You Have Experience Representing Auto Accident Victims?
It’s important for you to find out if your attorney has experience in representing people in your situation.
The law is a very large universe, ranging from criminal law and estate planning to personal injury, real estate and beyond. These areas are each very unique and diverse.
If your attorney does not have any experience representing car crash victims, you should learn whether or not they believe they can take on your case successfully. Just because an attorney has not represented someone like you doesn’t mean they can’t be competent in handling your case.
They can speak to someone they know that regularly handles automobile cases and work with them on your case to make sure your interests are well-represented.
How Will You Be Compensated for Your Work On My Case?
Attorneys who represent car crash victims often do so on a contingency basis. But this isn’t a guaranteed arrangement and you should speak to your lawyer to be sure.
A contingency fee is a payment system in which your attorney only collects a payment if you win. In other words, an attorney’s pay is “contingent” on yours.
These fees are usually a percentage of your settlement and have a wide range from state to state. However, the typical range is anywhere from 33 percent to 40 percent.
It’s important for you to understand what costs you will cover in representation. For example, will your attorney be splitting his or her fee with another lawyer? If you need to hire expert witnesses, will that cost be deducted before determining your final take?
After a car crash, there will be a lot on your mind. But taking time to learn the answers to these questions is important.
What Do You Believe My Case Is Worth?
Every car crash is worth a different amount in the eyes of the law.
Your case’s value can be impacted by the level of fault attributed to each person involved. If you are found to be partially at fault, this will impact your settlement value. In some states, any level of fault will bar you from collecting on injuries at all.
Other important aspects of your case’s value are your injuries, the expected future care, and how your daily life has been impacted by this accident.
For example, if you are someone that works in a manual labor industry and you have lost the use of a hand or leg, this can greatly diminish your ability to complete your work tasks. In fact, the severity of your injuries may keep you from working at all.
In medical malpractices, your attorney will file a claim or lawsuit against your treating doctors or healthcare professionals for their negligence in your care.
An attorney who is experienced in representing car crash victims in your area should have a realistic idea of the range of value for your case. But remember, your lawyer cannot “guarantee” recovery of any settlement amount.
What is the Best Way to Reach You?
A crucial part of the attorney-client relationship is regular communication between you and your lawyer.
You need to be sure your attorney can give your case the attention it deserves. Your lawyer should also be willing to speak with you about your case as you have questions.
In the state of Florida, a lawyer must reasonably consult with a client, including responding promptly after a client’s reasonable request for information. This means your lawyer should ensure you are made of your case’s status throughout the process.
If a lawyer does not communicate with a client, this can result in discipline from the state bar association where they hold their law license.
In Florida, you can look-up an attorney to see if they have any reported disciplinary issues in the past 10 years. Check your state bar’s website to see if they also offer this free report.
Will You Be the Attorney Who is Representing My Interests in All Court Appearances?
When you speak with a lawyer about representing you after your car crash, you should find out if they will actually be the one doing it.
If you hire an attorney who is part of a firm, he or she may have other lawyers who also work on your case. This includes representing you at depositions, court hearings or on documents filed on your behalf.
If you only want a specific attorney representing you in court, you need to make this clear from the beginning. Remember that as the client, you ultimately decide who will represent you in your case.
Wrapping Up: Find a Law After Your Car Crash
The decision to hire an attorney after your car crash is an important one. After all, you only have one opportunity to receive a settlement on your claim.
It’s important that you learn as much as you can about an attorney before you choose to hire them for your case. By asking these questions, you can feel more at ease about your decision to retain a lawyer.
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Have you been in a motorcycle crash? Check out our article on 5 signs you need a motorcycle injury lawyer.