After a car accident, everything changes. Suddenly, there are lots of things to take care of. You may need help with some of them. Is hiring a lawyer on your to-do list? Here is how to hire the best car accident lawyers.
You don’t want to just hire the first one whose ads you see on TV, or open the phone book and pick one. That may work for finding a nearby auto parts store or a drug store. But with a car accident, you don’t want to hand this critical matter to just anyone.You may not have worked with a lawyer before, so it’s important to find the right car accident lawyer for you. You’ll need to find one that you’ll be able to work with. Don’t sign the first one you talk to.
It’s Like A Job Interview
Many attorneys offer free consultations. Take advantage of these by using them to interview several attorneys before signing one. They will be asking you questions, and you should ask them questions as well.Like hiring an employee or interviewing for a job, skills and experience are important. You want to make sure the attorney you hire is a good fit, because you’ll be working with them for a while until your case is over. The last thing you want to do is hire someone you can’t stand!
Here are some questions to ask when you interview lawyers after your car accident.
- “What types of personal injury do you handle? Do you handle car accidents?” This may seem like an odd question, but you won’t know until you ask about their expertise. It’s the same for any personal injury case—you want to make sure that they can and do handle your specific type of injury. Much like a doctor, you want a specialist here, not a generalist who handles some car accidents, divorces, and DUI tickets.
- “What’s your typical fee arrangement?” Many car accident attorneys use a contingency fee arrangement, in which their fee is taken out of the final settlement. Others work on a flat fee basis, while others prefer to charge billable hours. You need to know before you sign anything and hire any attorney, or you’ll be surprised with bills.
- “Do you charge a retainer?” Some attorneys require a “retainer” before they start working on your case, similar to a down payment. Again, you need to know before you sign them.
- “Will you or someone else be working on my case?” Some law offices pass the “grunt work” to paralegals and other administrative staff, and the attorney takes it to court.
- “Who will be my point of contact when I have questions?” You don’t want to explain your case every time you call, so you’ll want to find out how that’s handled.
- “How will you keep me informed of my case status?” Will they contact you? Should you call the firm? How long will it take to have a call returned? Will they charge you for phone calls and/or emails? You’ll want to know how things are progressing, and if there are any developments, so ask about their communication system.
- “If I were to hire you, what would you need from me?” Whomever you hire will ask for any evidence and documents. Beyond that, they’ll tell you what else you’ll be asked to provide, and how it will help your case.
Investigate Each One
If you’ve narrowed down your choice or choices, you want to make sure they are who they say they are. Have they been sanctioned, suspended, or had complaints from clients? The Missouri Bar has a free website that allows you to do a background check on any attorney in the state before you hire them.Each attorney will give you their “pitch.” Make sure they haven’t misrepresented themselves, or caused harm to other client cases before you sign anything. (For disciplinary actions before January 1, 2006, go to this website.)
Evaluate Each One
After you’ve interviewed some lawyers, it’s time to review your notes. Look at their track records, and think what was discussed in the interviews. Which attorney had the best track record and experience? Which one stood out from the others? Since you’ll be spending a fair amount of time with the individual you hire to represent you for your car accident, make sure it’s someone you like, agree with and feel comfortable talking to about your case.
Contact Kansas City’s Premier Car Accident Law Firm
If you’ve been in a car accident and need legal assistance, contact The Popham Law Firm. Call us at (816) 221-2288 today. We’ll schedule an appointment and talk with you about how we can help.