You’ve been injured in a car accident and believe you have a right to compensation for your damages. You might be wondering how to find a good car accident lawyer to help you with your case. The right lawyer can make a huge difference in the outcome of your claim, and those who work with a legal professional tend to win higher settlements.
Choosing a good car accident lawyer is probably the most significant decision you can make after a car accident happens. Here is what you need to know when looking for a lawyer to help you with your case.
Is It Mandatory to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
Filing a claim doesn’t require that you hire a car accident lawyer. The only hard requirement outside of the statute of limitations in Georgia is that you have to report a car accident that results in over $500 of visible damages to law enforcement. This is explained in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §40-6-273.
Even though you don’t need to hire a lawyer, it’s best that you do. Fighting for a car accident settlement alone can be extremely challenging, especially if you don’t have any experience with personal injury law. For that reason alone, insurance companies can get you to settle for way less. Don’t let this happen to you. You should find a good lawyer to assist you.
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Six Traits a Good Accident Lawyer Should Have
When you begin searching for the right car accident lawyer, there are several factors you should look for. First, you want an attorney who has the background and experience required to handle a car accident case like yours. Here are six things you should confirm about any car accident lawyer you choose to hire.
1. Specializes in Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases are complex, and they require the expertise of an experienced lawyer. Some lawyers will say they take on personal injury cases, but it’s not their specialty. This is risky because it means they may not be up-to-date on the most recent laws and techniques.
It’s best to find a car accident lawyer who works exclusively on personal injury cases, especially car accidents. This way, you will be seeking the highest quality representation.
For example, OCGA §51-1-6 entitles you to seek compensation for damages from the party who caused your accident. Regardless of whichever state you’re in, a good lawyer will need to understand this basic principle and be ready to protect your legal rights.
2. Has Been in Practice Many Years
Besides specializing in personal injury and car accident cases, you should seek a lawyer who has many years of experience practicing in these areas. For example, at John Foy & Associates, we have practiced personal injury law for over 20 years.
3. Has a Proven History of Success
You will want to be confident your lawyer can deliver the settlement or verdict you deserve, especially if your car accident case is significant and involves serious damages. When you have a consultation with a lawyer, ask for any client testimonials they may have, and take a look at their past case results.
4. Possesses the Resources Your Case Requires
Some car accident lawyers can be costly and complicated to take on. The right lawyer should have the proper resources to handle the time and money commitments to winning what you deserve. Make sure your lawyer will have enough of these resources to handle the magnitude of your case.
A good tip is to observe their office when you come in for the consultation. Do they seem to be doing well and appear organized?
5. Is Not Afraid to Take Cases to Trial
Most car accident cases settle far before they need to go to trial. However, sometimes the best option is taking the at-fault party to court. If that is a possibility for your case, you want a lawyer who is willing and very able to go the distance with you.
Ask the lawyer about their history of cases that have gone to trial and how they turned out. Even if you never step foot in a courtroom, you want a lawyer who has done so many times, is comfortable going to court to win, and has seen success for their clients.
6. You Feel Comfortable with Them
Many people don’t put enough importance on this one, but it’s incredibly vital. You want to make sure you feel at ease around the lawyer you choose. They need to be someone who you can come to with questions and feel comfortable enough to open up to about every aspect of your case.
You should also get a sense your lawyer truly cares about your case and the outcome they get for you. Otherwise, how can you trust them with such an essential moment in your life?
How to Find a Good, Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Once you know what is most important regarding the lawyer who works your case, you’ll need to start the search. Maybe you’ve already seen advertisements for certain lawyers in your area or have heard good things about certain firms. Write these down, and consider scheduling a consultation to ask them questions.
You don’t need to schedule a consultation with every single lawyer you come across, of course. Instead, you’ll want to do some preliminary research and search around to find one that appears to fit your needs the best.
Talk to Friends and Family
If you have loved ones who have worked with a personal injury lawyer before, call them up and ask for names and contact information. Find out how the lawyer helped them, what your friend or family member thought of their lawyer, and anything relevant to your case needs.
Ask Other Lawyers
Maybe you know or have connections to someone who is an attorney. Even if they don’t work in personal injury law, they may have relationships with lawyers who do and make recommendations. In addition, lawyers often refer business to each other, which can be a great resource when looking for a good car accident lawyer.
What to Ask During the Consultation
Once you’ve made a list of your top choices for car accident lawyers, it’s time to schedule the consultation and make sure it’s a good fit. Most car accident lawyers offer the consultation for free, so there’s no risk to schedule one. When you sit down with the lawyer, you’ll want to show them everything you have regarding your case so far, including:
- Medical bills and records
- A copy of the police report
- Lost wages information
- All proof you have so far of your economic damages
- Any communication from the insurance company
- Pictures from the accident scene
- Notes you have taken about the accident
You will also want to ask the lawyer specific questions during the consultation:
- How many years have you been in practice?
- Do you only take on personal injury cases? If not, what percentage do you take on?
- How many car accident cases do you take on?
- Would you be handling my case personally, or will other people be helping?
- How do you see my case going, now that you have the details?
- What kind of settlement do you think I could pursue?
- Are there any past clients I could talk to?
During the consultation, if the lawyer seems dodgy or evasive on any of these questions, you should take that as a sign that they shouldn’t be trusted. Instead, you want to see that your potential lawyer is confident, knowledgeable, and ready to dedicate themselves to your case.
Don’t Pay for Anything Upfront
If you talk to a lawyer that’s asking you to pay for all of your legal fees upfront, never hire them. A car accident lawyer should work on a contingency fee basis and not be another source of financial strain for you after your accident.
Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you only pay for our legal services if we win compensation for your claim. If we can’t do this, you owe us absolutely nothing. Our payment gets taken out of a portion of your settlement. You will never have to pay us any money directly.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have been helping car accident victims win the money they need for over 20 years. We work exclusively on personal injury cases, and we’re not afraid to fight for your rights, even if that means going to trial. To schedule a consultation for free with the best car accident lawyers for your case today, call us or contact us online now.