Every day, countless individuals take to the roads, seeking to reach their destinations safely. However, amidst the complexities of modern traffic and unforeseen circumstances, car accidents can disrupt lives in an instant.
When the unexpected occurs, the journey to justice and rightful compensation often begins with a critical decision: the selection of a car accident lawyer. Navigating this process is a crucial endeavor, as the right legal assistance can significantly influence the outcome of a case and provide individuals with the support they need during times of adversity.
The aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, marked by physical injuries, emotional distress, and financial setbacks. In such trying moments, seeking professional legal guidance is paramount to safeguarding one’s rights and ensuring a fair resolution.
However, the process of hiring a car accident lawyer involves more than just making a choice from a directory. It entails a series of informed steps that can have a lasting impact on the trajectory of a legal claim.
If you’ve sustained any severe injuries in a car accident, you have the right to seek due compensation. To file a personal injury claim, you should first hire an accident lawyer.
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Financial Implications ─ How Much for Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer?
Cost may be one of the first things you think about when hiring a lawyer. But like any American, you have rights that deserve to be sought, and cost should never be a reason as to why you cannot be represented properly.
For that reason, your first consultation with your car accident lawyer will be completely free. Once you’ve consulted, researched, gotten a second opinion, and are confident in the lawyer or firm you’ve chosen, you can sign an agreement for them to represent you legally. There are no upfront payments made at this stage. This is because accident lawyers are paid on a contingency fee basis. Everything you’ll need to pay will come after the case is closed.
If your lawyer’s won your case, they’ll be claiming roughly one-third of the compensation – the contingency fee – that’s made in the settlement agreement. Settlements can vary from as low as $3,000 in damages to $50,000 and beyond. You’ll, of course, be awarded with the other two-thirds.
Along with contingency fees, there are also other expenses that may ultimately cut into your awarded money, such as insurance fees, medical liens, and in-case expenses incurred by your lawyer. While your lawyer will work timely to curb any unduly payments from insurance carriers and work to ensure your medical bills are paid for when contracted, oftentimes even after a settlement is reached, these debts will still need to be paid off.
In-case expenses include but are not limited to Travel expenses, postage, court fees, witness fees, investigation fees, and information fees. Not all of these may be applicable to your specific case, but it is good to be aware of what might pop up in your rearview mirror even after you’ve been compensated.
And of course, any bills or time missed from work all factored into the lump sum of your settlement agreement; your lawyer should make sure you’re covered. The specific agreement you and your lawyer sign together, as well, should detail which expenses you may be responsible for or not.
Who’s Who ─ Identifying the Right Car Accident Lawyer
You’ll want to evaluate credibility. By viewing local listings, business journals, or the law firm website of a car accident lawyer, you can find out their experience, case history, reviews, ratings, previous clients and cases, and any other certifications or credentials (you’ll likely also want to research if they’re in good standing with the bar association).
Even once you’ve done that, you could still have several lawyers with great credibility, and you’ll need to narrow down the choice even more. So, you’ll probably want to see which ones have experienced most similar to the accident you were in. You can evaluate their honesty, maybe scout their bios and personality and see if you feel comfortable with them.
Much like discovery calls with freelancers or interviews with potential jobs, a free consultation (either virtual or in a physical office) is a great place to further narrow down your choice. Talking and building rapport will help give a better understanding of their knowledge in the field and how well they understand your situation.
Search for Excellence ─ How to Find a Good Car Accident Lawyer
The best place to start is with a referral – be it family or work colleagues or a friend or especially from other lawyers. If no one’s given you a referral, the next best thing is local listings and online advisories. Here, you’ll find their qualifications, ratings, reviews, case history, and important contact information. As stated above, you already know how to gauge their credibility.
Philadelphia is among the six largest cities in the country and rightfully is home to many reputable law firms and schools. Once you’ve finished diving into client testimonials and are satisfied with a lawyer’s resume, you’re ready to make “the call” to schedule your first free consultation and make the first step toward earning the compensation you’re entitled to.
Narrowing down your choice of lawyer can come down to a number of varying factors.
You’ll want to look for expertise in the field – particularly tort law and even more specifically car accident cases, and more specifically than that, plaintiff cases, or in other words, when the victim/injured party initiates the case by filing a lawsuit. Chances are, you won’t want a lawyer who usually defends business or drivers who are being sued, you want representation for the one who sues.
You’ll also want to look for experience and track record, see what the outcomes of their cases were, and whether or not they were successful in getting fair compensation.
Try and seek out a lawyer with a reputation. Typically, lawyers talk, and names are dropped around quite a lot.
Honesty, transparency, and effective communication should be vital as well. Rapport also plays a factor, and whether or not your lawyer can break down legal jargon in a way that you can understand and keep you relatively informed over the course of litigation. So you’ll have a lot to bear in mind when on the hunt for your attorney, but with enough determination, you can find the right counsel who can help you receive the compensation you deserve.