No matter how big or small the situation, car accidents often leave drivers and passengers both shaken, confused or stressed. Accidents happen regularly in Utah, and are most often caused by speeding, failure to yield, lane swerving, distracted driving and driving while impaired. If you have been a victim in any type of accident, your next steps are medical treatment, property repair or replacement, and then recovery from the accident. This all takes time and money, and you probably do not have anything saved up to cover your expenses because you never expect an accident.
One thing you can do is turn to a car accident lawyer. Whether the issue is with your insurance company or another driver’s, an accident attorney can help you determine how much money you deserve and how to get it. If you were in one of the more than 60,000 crashes that happen in Utah every year, you may benefit from speaking to a car accident lawyer, and there are certain questions you should ask them before you hire them.
What Experience Does the Attorney Have?
The personal injury area of the law covers more than just car accidents, so personal injury attorneys may focus their efforts in one area. When you are choosing a car accident lawyer, ask them about their experience specifically in cases involving car accidents. On top of that, ask if they have experience in accidents similar to yours. Some examples include the following:
- Long-term injuries caused by a collision with a drunk driver
- Property damage caused by a commercial truck
- Loss of wages due to disability caused by a distracted driver
Every car accident has nuances and is unique. You may benefit from working with an attorney who understands the specifics of your case down to the type of vehicles involved or the injuries caused.
What Strengths and Weaknesses Do They See In Your Case?
A realistic viewpoint is important when it comes to a car accident case. Ask any potential attorney why they would want to take your case. What benefits do they see in handling your situation? What weaknesses are they concerned about when it comes to proof or compensation? A qualified, realistic attorney will give you straight information about what they think is good about what your case and what may make it hard to prove.
What Are the Costs and How Are They Calculated?
Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee. This means that you do not pay the attorney unless they recover money for you. Attorneys use this method because many who get hurt in accidents do not have the funds to hire a lawyer, but have a valid case and deserve compensation.
Ask the attorney what their payment plan is, and what costs you incur if they take your case. Discuss their fee and what percentage they take of your award or settlement.
During the process, there are out of pocket costs and case-related costs that come up. Ask the attorney if they cover those or if you must come up with the cash to fund the case. This can make a big difference in who you hire to handle your case.
Discuss what costs you incur if the attorney does not recover any money for you. Remember that a lower contingency rate does not always lead to a higher success rate, and you may do better paying more for a more qualified attorney.
What Happens If Your Case Goes to Trial?
Most personal injury cases end in settlement before they go to trial. This means that your attorney and the insurance company or responsible party comes up with an agreement for the compensation you deserve after a car accident. If an agreement is not possible, your case may go to trial.
If this is the case, you may benefit from working with a personal injury attorney who has experience in the courtroom. This may involve jury selection, accident recreation, questioning witnesses and hiring experts for testimony.
If you accept a settlement, this most likely means that you agree to not take the responsible party to court and you accept the sum they offer you. If you decide your case is strong enough to go to trial, you want a car accident lawyer who has argued cases in court before.
What Is Their Caseload?
A car accident can consume your life if it is serious enough. Even the most minor accidents often lead to complicated car repairs and medical treatments. When you decide to make a claim for a car accident, you want an attorney who has the time to make your case a priority.
Some car accident lawyers offer a lower contingency rate or lower costs but have a large caseload. When choosing an attorney, ask what their current caseload is like. You can also ask if they will personally handle your case or if a junior attorney or the firm’s staff is going to take it over.
What Is Your Case Worth?
There is no perfect formula to determine what a car accident is worth, as all costs are unique to the situation and the person. A big part of hiring an attorney is choosing one who believes in your cause but is also realistic about what you should expect. Be wary of those who promise astronomical accounts, but do not be afraid to fight for what you deserve. You may not be able to get specific amounts the first time you meet with a car accident lawyer, but they can give you a general idea of what to expect if you settle your case or if you take it to court.
What Is Your Responsibility During the Lawsuit?
Depending on the severity of the accident and the extent of your injuries, you may want to be actively involved in your case, or you may prefer that your attorney handle all the details and only call you with important questions. Ask the attorney what your role is before you hire them. A car accident attorney may encourage you to be more involved, or may limit your involvement, depending on what is most beneficial for your case. Make sure you are okay with either option.
What Do Former Clients Say?
When it comes to choosing a car accident lawyer, you have many choices. It is tempting to jump at big offers or lofty promises, especially when you are vulnerable or facing unexpected, life-changing situations. The truth is that you need someone who will be realistic with you, someone who has the experience to handle your case and someone that will communicate with you. The best way to get information about how an attorney works is to speak to former clients.
Ask any attorney you meet with for references. Do not rely on what you read online or what is on the attorney’s website, but speak to those they have helped before.
Set Up A Call Today
If you or someone you love were hurt in a car accident or know someone who was, choosing an attorney is one of the most important steps to protect your rights and best interests. We are here to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with an experienced, qualified, knowledgeable car accident lawyer.