When hiring a lawyer for your accident case, you should be confident that they are best for the case because the amount of compensation you receive may depend on their abilities. You should have confidence that they will help you win the case and get fair compensation for your damages.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in 2020, statewide traffic deaths increased from 2019 numbers to 1,129. Crashes cause catastrophic damage, serious injuries, and death each year. Many accident victims are unsure what to do following an accident. They may fail to report the accident, even when they were not at fault. Some people may not realize that they could be entitled to compensation for damages. People involved in motor vehicle crashes in Pennsylvania should file a report within 5 days of the crash when the accident was not investigated by the police or when the accident resulted in death, injury or severe damage to any vehicle.
Ask the lawyer what they specialize in
You should know what areas of law a potential lawyer specializes in before you hand over your case. If you have been in a car accident case, you need a legal professional who specializes in personal injury claims. You should not hire just anyone because they may not be qualified to handle your case without specific knowledge and experience in tort law. When seeking the best results, you should hire an injury attorney who has experience with cases similar to yours and has specialized experience in accident claims.
A lawyer should have experience in similar cases
Without requisite experience in such cases, it may progress slowly, taking a long time to recover compensation. An experienced professional in personal injury law will help to expedite the case and get fair compensation for burn injuries and other damages caused by the accident.
You can assess several qualifications when deciding whether to hire a lawyer. For example, the number of cases they have under their belt and the number of years dealing with accident cases are some criteria for choosing a particular legal professional for fighting your case. Your level of comfort with the attorney and your ability to trust and work together are often just as important to a successful outcome.
How many professionals will be working on the case?
When hiring an attorney, there may be a lot of support staff like the non-attorney case manager and junior attorneys that assist partners and more senior staff. If you seek representation from a particular attorney, you may want to ensure that you will have access to ask them questions or obtain information throughout the duration of your case. Though other people involved may be equally competent, you should be able to contact the attorney handling your case. You do not always receive that level of service at larger firms.
How long will the case take?
After an initial free consultation where you will discuss the generalities of your case, the attorney should be able to offer a preliminary assessment of how strong or weak your case is. They should be able to provide a general idea of how long similar cases have taken in the past. The length of a case often correlates to its complexity and the amount of supporting evidence that needs to be obtained. Deposing witnesses, obtaining police reports and medical documentation, and hiring experts all take time. If the evidence establishing the other party’s liability and your damages is clear-cut, you may receive compensation quicker. It also depends on the capability of an attorney. If they have good investigative skills, experience, and knowledge of the case, the case may be resolved faster.
Personal injury attorneys often work on a contingency basis
Most attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they are paid from your compensation award. The advantage of this system is that you only have to pay the attorney if you are successful in obtaining compensation. Their fee is literally “contingent” on a successful outcome. The disadvantage of this system is that you will have to pay a percentage of your compensation award. The attorneys fees are deducted from any compensation awarded.
People who have suffered a catastrophic car accident often do not have the time and money to litigate their own personal injury cases, nor do they have the ability to pay an attorney an exorbitant fee up front or hourly fees. The contingency fee arrangement allows victims to pursue justice without money upfront while incentivizing attorneys to work hard on your behalf. If you hire an attorney who bills hourly, you may face substantial legal bills that impact your finances while simultaneously experiencing increasing medical expenses and lost wages due to the injury.
Is there a way to strengthen your case?
When you hire a legal professional for an accident case, you improve your chances of winning. Ask the attorney what other things might help make your case successful and result in a fair settlement. If you have already collected relevant evidence and medical documentation, providing it to them can help prepare the case for trial, especially if pretrial negotiations fail. Proactively collecting documentation may also help to expedite your case. Patients often have an easier time obtaining their own medical records from doctors than hired attorneys. Similarly, they may find it easier to obtain their own driving record. An attorney can do all this for you, especially if you are trying to heal from serious accident related injuries; however, anything you are able to do to help the attorney also helps you to build a stronger case and receive compensation faster.
Will the case go to trial?
An attorney will have a fair idea whether a trial may be required for your case to be fairly resolved and for you to get just compensation. Often, insurance companies attempt to avoid trials by offering out-of-court settlements. Sometimes their offers are far less than the fair compensation you deserve for the injuries and damages caused by the accident.
Insurance companies may try to rope in you and your lawyer into a quick settlement that is allegedly in your best interests. A settlement is fine if it fairly compensates you for your damages, but if a lawyer attempts to pressure you to accept a quick payoff that is unfair, you may want to consider other representation.
Whether the lawyer has been professionally disciplined?
Every state has a board who oversees ethical conduct in the legal profession. The board reviews complaints filed by clients and other attorneys regarding lawyer misconduct. Most jurisdictions allow you to review the disciplinary record of an attorney online. Access will vary by state and records will be limited to attorneys admitted to practice in that state. If they have had a disciplinary action filed against them, you should research the circumstances and determine whether the attorney is right for your case.