How to Hire a Car Accident Attorney
By Chris Dixon
There are approximately 1.34 million lawyers in the U.S. as of 2017. With so many options for legal representation, it can be hard to know if you are picking the right lawyer for your car accident case. A good St. Louis car accident attorney will be experienced in Missouri traffic laws, diligent about keeping you informed of what’s going on, and will be passionate about fighting for your case. While lawyers are a dime a dozen, it is essential to pick the right lawyer to handle your car accident case. Taking the time to research car accident attorneys in Saint Louis, and making an informed decision on who will handle your case could be the difference in winning or losing your case.
How to Look for a Car Accident Attorney
As if car accidents weren’t already stressful enough, finding a good auto accident lawyer can seem impossible. Knowing what qualities to look for before hiring an attorney can save you time, stress and money. There are dozens of practice areas that lawyers can specialize in, so it is crucial to find an attorney who knows the ins-and-outs of Missouri traffic laws. The difference between hiring an experienced car accident attorney and a lawyer who doesn’t specialize in traffic accidents could be hundreds or thousands of dollars in damages recovered. Experience matters, and will show when it comes time to fight for your car accident case.
A good resource for those looking for a car accident attorney in Saint Louis is the local Missouri Bar Association. They can put you in contact with hundreds of car accident attorneys in the area, but it is important to do your research. In this day and age, you can find almost anything on the Internet. So once you find an attorney that you might want to hire, do a little digging and make sure that their services have good reviews. Asking friends and family if there is anyone that they’d be happy to recommend to you can be a smart move. Chances are good that if they have had a good experience with using the lawyer’s services, so will you.
Top Questions to Ask When Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
Large insurance companies can be intimidating, so it is vital to make sure that you’re hiring the right lawyer to handle your case. Once you find a lawyer who you might be interested in working with, it can be helpful to think about what questions you want to ask them during the initial consultation. Asking questions sooner rather than later will let you know who you’re working with up front, and allow you to decide if this is the car accident attorney you’d like to hire.
- How long have they been in practice? – Is this an attorney that is fresh out of law school, or are they more experienced? If so, how many cases have they handled, and what was their outcome?
- What areas of law do they specialize in? – Do they specialize in personal injury law or auto accidents? Or do they practice in an unrelated or more generalized area of law? Tort or criminal cases?
- How many similar cases have they handled? – bDon’t be afraid to ask them about their past cases. While they cannot legally go into too much detail, they can tell you if they won or lost.
- How much have they won for clients? – Have they been successful in winning compensation for their clients? If so, what is the average amount? How much have they won for their recent clients?
- How much do their services cost? – Do they charge hourly for their services? Is there a flat fee? Do they utilize a contingency plan?
- Will they consistently keep you informed about your case? – How often will they update you about your case? Communication is key, so it is important to establish a baseline of communication up front.
- How often do they go to trial? – Do the cases that they handle typically go to trial, or are they settled out of court? Large insurance companies will attempt to settle for the lowest amount possible for your case, so it’s crucial to make sure that your attorney is capable of analyzing and creating a plan to win the most for your car accident case.
- What do they think is the likely outcome of your case? – Drawing from experience and knowing the details of your case, an attorney should be able to let you know upfront if they think that your case has a shot to win.
Discussing Legal Fees and Costs
Legal representation can be costly, so it is important to establish how much a lawyer charges for their services before signing anything. The American Bar Association requires lawyers to provide their costs and fees in writing to clients from the beginning, but that doesn’t mean that they will thoroughly explain them. It’s okay to ask questions and make sure that you fully understand the fees and costs associated with their services. Some attorneys charge a flat fee, some are hourly and others utilize a contingency plan. A contingency plan doesn’t require clients to pay anything upfront and states that they won’t have to pay anything unless the attorney successfully wins damages for their case. For lawyers who use a contingency plan, if they win damages, they will receive a certain percentage of any money that you receive for your case.
Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer
It may be tempting to accept the first offer the insurance company gives you, but doing so could mean missing out on thousands of dollars in damages for your case. Hiring a car accident attorney provides a sense of protection from big insurance companies and allows you to avoid dealing with the insurance company yourself. A Saint Louis car accident attorney will have the skills and experience needed to negotiate with the insurance company and make sure that you receive the most in damages for your case. While you might be thinking that you can’t even begin to afford a lawyer, most are willing to work out an agreement with you. Some allow payment arrangements, while others use a contingency plan so that you will only have to pay them when, and if, they win your case.
Why a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help Win Your Case
If your case goes to trial, you may be looking at months of court battles and costly fees. Hiring a St. Louis car accident attorney will make sure that you have the best possible chance of winning damages. The right attorney for your case will be experienced in fighting for client’s cases and will know how to negotiate with the insurance company so that you will receive the most in damages for any medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. If you’re involved in a car accident, don’t even think about not hiring a lawyer. The best thing that you can do for your case is to call a personal injury lawyer in Saint Louis and immediately discuss the details of your case. For more information on a local personal injury attorney, feel free to contact the Dixon Injury Firm to discuss the details of your car accident case today.