How do you know your auto accident lawyer is good?

If you've had a car accident, you may need to hire a lawyer. When you, though, you want to know your car accident lawyer is good. Before you agree to be represented, make sure your attorney focuses on car accidents and personal injury. Make sure to take advantage of free consultations with experienced car accident lawyers in your area. Don't be swayed by advertising when determining the right car accident attorney for you. Talking to former clients will be much more useful than watching commercials, and if your potential lawyer doesn't want to put you in touch with former clients, beware.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Overview

  • Depending on the severity of your car accident, you may not need a car accident attorney at all.
  • You should look for car accident lawyers who specialize in car accidents and personal injury cases.
  • Be aware of red flags like not wanting you to talk to previous clients or having a track record of lots of advertising and settlements.
  • Most car accident lawyers will do a free consultation before you agree to have them represent you.

How do you know your car accident lawyer is good or bad? If you were recently in a car accident, then you know how important it is to find a good, reasonable lawyer. Some car accidents are minor and fairly straightforward, but if you were at-fault or there were severe injuries, hiring a car accident attorney will be in your best interest.

Don’t be intimidated. Finding the right car accident lawyer involves knowing what to look for and what kinds of questions to ask. 

Know your rights. If you’ve recently been in a car accident, find a local attorney near you and don’t hesitate to ask for a free consultation.

Follow our guide to learn when to hire a car accident lawyer, what to ask car accident lawyers before you hire them, and how to move forward with your personal injury case so you can find the best car accident attorney near you. 

Is hiring a car accident lawyer a good idea?

Lawyers aren’t cheap, and knowing whether it is worth getting a lawyer for a car accident or not will save you money. The unique circumstances of your accident will determine when you need to hire a car accident attorney.

For example, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll need an auto accident lawyer when no injury was sustained by you or the other driver. You also won’t need to call a lawyer if you understand your insurance coverage and are confident you can pursue your claim on your own. 

When you Need to Hire a Car Accident Attorney

If you were recently in a car accident, it’s important to remember that insurance companies are a for-profit business. As such, insurance providers aim to pay out as little as possible for claims. 

You need to hire a car accident attorney when you disagree with your insurance claim denial or if you believe the settlement is far too low. Claims adjusters may offer you a structured settlement instead of a lump sum after an accident. If that happens, you will need to call an attorney to re-investigate your claim.

Should I get a lawyer for a car accident that wasn’t my fault?

Yes, you should always hire a lawyer for a major car accident that wasn’t your fault to guarantee that you are fairly compensated by the other driver’s insurance company. You should also call a lawyer if liability is unclear after an accident.

Should you get a lawyer for a car accident that was your fault?

Not necessarily.

If you’re at-fault for an accident, your insurance company may automatically assign an attorney to defend you. Look at your auto insurance policy to see if your provider will provide you with an attorney for an at-fault accident. 

There are certain circumstances when you should always have a lawyer present, regardless of who is at-fault for the accident. 

Listed below are instances when you need to consult with an attorney after a car accident:

  • When a death has resulted from the accident
  • When there are serious or permanent injuries
  • When other pedestrians or vehicles are involved
  • When there are injured minors involved
  • When you have a claim of lost wages
  • When a claims adjuster requests medical records from before the accident
  • When the other drivers or pedestrians serve you with a lawsuit 

If your accident involves any of the above situations, we recommend speaking with an attorney before you speak with an insurance adjuster. This will protect you from making any damaging statements that could negatively affect your claim or the outcome of your case. 

What will a car accident attorney do for me?

Good car accident lawyers are educated in the ways of insurance law, and a lawyer can help recover the compensation you’re entitled to that you might miss on your own. 

Accident lawyers are also keen on the ways insurance companies avoid paying claims and hiring a lawyer when you disagree with your claim denial could win you more money. 

The litigation process for car accident settlements is long and complicated. Car accident attorneys are experienced in the courtroom and familiar with these kinds of cases. When you hire a lawyer, you’re hiring them to attend court, speak with witnesses and insurance companies, and file paperwork on your behalf.

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How do I choose an attorney for my car accident?

With a little research, you can find a good injury lawyer in your city. Do your due diligence and research local law firms online, read reviews from past clients, and don’t hesitate to call local car accident lawyers for free consultations.

Not every law firm is the same, and you want to look for a car accident attorney that has the experience and the resources to take on the insurance company.

How to find a good car accident lawyer starts with knowing what to look for. You want to pick a good lawyer for a car accident who – 

  • is a licensed and active member of the American Bar Association and other state or national lawyer groups
  • exclusively focuses on automobile accidents and personal injury law
  • has written and lectured about personal injury law
  • lets you talk to their past clients

Be wary of settlement mills, or law firms that spend a lot of money on advertising and don’t invest as much in their legal team. Those kinds of law firms are often larger and employ teams of lawyers who can be more focused on the dollar signs rather than your needs as a client. 

Calling a Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation

Calling a car accident lawyer for a free consultation before you hire them is an easy way to research law firms in your area and find the best car accident attorney for you. Before you call, make sure you have the details of the accident, your insurance coverage, and your and the other party’s injuries readily available. 

Five Questions to Ask a Car Accident Lawyer

Knowing what to ask an attorney before hiring about a car accident will help you make the most out of your free consultation. Refer to our list of car accident lawyer questions to get started:

  1. Do you have experience with similar cases?
  2. What are the most likely outcomes of my case?
  3. Are there any alternatives to going to court?
  4. What is my role in the litigation process?
  5. How much will this cost me if I win or lose?

In order to meet your expectations, the car accident attorney must have experience with similar cases and be within your budget. Depending on how they answer these questions will determine who is a good lawyer to call for whenever you get in a car accident. 

Car Accident Lawyer Fees

How much lawyers charge for car accidents vary by case and by law firm, so be sure to ask up front what you should expect to pay. 

Most car accident attorneys work on contingency fees, meaning they don’t get paid unless you get paid. Contingency fees can range between 25 to 40 percent of the settlement awarded. In other cases, attorneys will charge a retainer fee or a flat fee. Retainer fees are usually paid up front, while flat fees can be charged by the day or the hour depending on the attorney you hire. 

If you’re working with a lawyer who charges contingency fees, it’s likely they will work with you to get the best car accident settlement possible. 

With all these different kinds of car accident lawyer fees, it’s important to know ahead of time whether you need to pay upfront or if you can wait until you win your settlement.

How to Pick Good Lawyer for Car Accident

How do you know your car accident lawyer is good or not? By asking the questions above and doing your research online, you’ll be able to find an attorney after a car accident with confidence.

Vet your attorney carefully by requesting a free consultation and following up with their past clients. Confirm your lawyer is licensed, and look for publications or lectures your potential lawyer may have made at local colleges or with state and national lawyer groups to better judge their experience with accident law. 

You can find a lawyer for a motor vehicle accident with our free search. Just enter your ZIP code below to speak with a local accident attorney as soon as possible.

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