Involvement in a car crash can change dramatically impact your life indefinitely, if not permanently. It can affect your physical and cognitive abilities, lead to financial strain, and limit your employment options. What do you do if someone else’s error changes your life for the worse? It’s time to look for a car accident lawyer. Before you hire the first one your online search yields, let’s talk about how to find the best car accident attorney available.
In recent years, car accidents in California have risen at a steady pace, particularly in urban areas. With so many cars, bikes, pedestrians, and even scooters on the road, it seems that Californians are having a tougher time staying safe. To help you hire an attorney after a car accident, we’ve compiled seven questions to ask. Read on to learn more about picking the best car accident attorney near you.
1. Do You Offer a Free Case Consultation?
Many law firms will offer potential clients a free case consultation before any final decisions are made. This allows the attorney to evaluate the case and give an honest answer about whether or not the client has a chance to recover any damages. It also gives the client the chance to ask important questions about the law firm and make a well-informed decision.
If a law firm offers a free case consultation, be prepared to tell them the basic facts of the case. This includes when the accident occurred and how, what types of injuries you’ve sustained, the medical care you are receiving and will need in the future, and how the accident has impacted you financially. Then, you can use the rest of this guide to ask some questions of your own.
2. What Types of Cases Do You Handle?
Personal injury law is a wide umbrella that encompasses several different types of accidents and injuries. This can range from car accidents to medical malpractice to dog bites. You want to find a lawyer that handles car accident victims, specifically.
A car accident attorney will know how to navigate relevant laws and will be familiar with relevant precedents. They will also have experience working with expert witnesses and accident reconstructionists who will strengthen your case.
3. What Experience Do You Bring to the Table?
How long has the law firm existed? How long has the attorney you’re speaking with been practicing? More specifically, how long have they been practicing in your region?
Local experience is just as important as car accident claim experience. A locally experienced lawyer will have more familiarity with any local laws, that pertain to your case, like your state’s statute of limitations. They will also be knowledgeable about the types of accidents that tend to occur in your area.
4. Who Will Communicate With Me During Litigation?
Some larger law firms hand over the majority of the litigation process to their team of paralegals. When this is the case, it means that you may interact more with paralegals than your actual attorney.
The involvement of a legal team is a positive thing. It means that even when your attorney is busy, your case is taken care of and you have someone to answer your questions or concerns. However, it’s also important that your attorney is involved in litigation and communication because it ensures that they know what’s going on and can build a relationship of trust with you.
4. What Damages Am I Entitled To?
Car accident victims may be entitled to damages that include:
- repayment and coverage of medical bills
- lost wages
- property damage
- emotional or mental damage
- pain and suffering
However, what you can include in your claim will depend on the specifics of your case. Ask your potential lawyer how much they think you’ll be able to recover and what types of damages they’ll fight for. Keep in mind that any lawyer that guarantees compensation is making a false promise, and this is a red flag.
5. Can You Help Me Find Medical Experts?
One of the many reasons that you should consider hiring a car accident lawyer is access to medical care. Many car accident victims don’t have a primary care doctor or don’t know how to access the right medical specialists for their injuries.
Accessing medical care is important for two reasons: you need to recover properly and you need to build the facts of your case. A good car accident attorney can put you in contact with medical experts that can fulfill both of these needs.
6. What Is the Estimated Timeline of My Case?
Ask your potential lawyer how long you have to file your car accident claim. Keep in mind that California’s statute of limitations states that your claim is only valid for two years from the time of the accident with some exceptions. If you have to act quickly, make sure that the lawyer in question is able to get started right away.
You can also ask for an estimated timeline. An experienced lawyer can look at the facts of your case and compare them to similar cases they’ve taken on in the past to give you a sense of how long you might be in litigation. However, they can’t make any guarantees.
7. How Do You Charge for Legal Help?
Finally, remember that not all car accident lawyers have the same fee system. Many law firms charge what are called contingency fees, which come out of your compensation at a set percentage. Others might charge additional or upfront fees, which may not align with your financial state right now.
Don’t feel pressured to hire an attorney that you can’t afford. Contingency fees are an ideal solution for car accident victims who are currently facing financial strain.
Looking for a Car Accident Lawyer in Bakersfield? We Can Help
If you’re looking for a car accident lawyer in Bakersfield, you deserve the best. Horizon Accident Attorneys work hard to defend car accident victims who are facing long-term disabilities and long-term financial strain.
To get started, schedule your free case consultation. We look forward to learning about your case and discussing how we can help.