If you were in a car accident in Alabama, you should immediately schedule a consultation with an experienced injury lawyer. A car accident can be a very traumatic experience, causing physical and emotional damages, and you may deserve compensation for your losses.
Choosing the right lawyer is a crucial step and can help decide whether you win or lose the case. However, finding the right lawyer may seem daunting. There are over 1.3 million lawyers in the United States, according to the American Bar Association!
Instead of calling the first lawyer you find on Google, we suggest you take a more careful approach. We’ve broken down the most important questions to ask a car accident lawyer so that you can make the best decision for your case. These questions will help you find a lawyer that fits your situation and needs.
1. What Is Your Car Accident Experience?
While you may think that all personal injury claims are the same, you’re incorrect. Every car accident is different, and you need a lawyer who can properly investigate your claim, negotiate with the insurance company, and present your case to a judge and jury.
For example, if you have a truck accident case, you’ll want a lawyer who understands the complexities of these cases. At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we’ve built a reputation as Alabama’s “Big Truck Firm.” We know how both state and federal laws can impact your claim, can move quickly to preserve important logbooks and black boxes, and are ready to go toe-to-toe with the trucking company’s insurer. If you pick a law firm with less experience, they can easily miss important details.
Some questions to ask a car accident lawyer to get a better understanding of their legal experience include:
- How long have you been practicing car accident law in this state?
- How many car accident cases have you handled?
- How many car accident cases have you taken to trial? How many did you win?
2. Have You Handled an Injury Claim Like Mine Before?
When you hire a personal injury lawyer, you’re relying on them for many things:
- Investigating your claim
- Identifying all the at-fault parties
- Educating you about your legal rights
- Explaining each step of your personal injury case to you
- Collecting your medical bills and evaluating your future medical needs
- Calculating your lost income and wage-earning capacity
- Assessing and interpreting your medical records
- Calculating your damages
- Negotiating with the insurance company
- Filing a lawsuit and preparing your case for trial
- Addressing all legal, factual, and procedural issues that may arise in your claim
These tasks require specific knowledge about Alabama’s laws, medicine, the insurance company’s tactics, the judge’s personality, and other issues.
If your car accident lawyer has handled similar cases to yours in the past, they’re better equipped to handle yours. For example, suppose you suffered a serious back injury during a car wreck. The insurance company sends you to a medical examination with one of their company doctors. If your lawyer is familiar with the company doctor’s approach, they can help you prepare for the exam. And when it’s time to take the doctor’s sworn testimony (sometimes called a deposition), your lawyer’s knowledge of orthopedic medicine and the back’s anatomy can help you fight back.
3. Will You Be the Attorney Working on My Case?
This is important right off the bat. You want to be sure that the person at your initial consultation will be the actual attorney that will be handling your case. After all, this is someone with whom you are trusting your livelihood and your ability to get your life back under control. It’s someone with whom you’ll likely have a relationship that will last a long time.
You don’t want to be talking to a different person every single time you contact your attorney. If you pick an attorney based on how you get along with them, only to find out that you’ll be working with someone else, it can feel like a breach of trust.
4. How Will Our Communications Work?
Communication is everything when it comes to a personal injury claim. The right attorney will be available whenever you need to talk. They’ll be compassionate and understanding about your case and what you’re going through, and they will commit to regular and clear communications. Transparency means a lot. You want to know what steps your attorney is taking at all times, and why.
It’s all right for your attorney to work with others—in fact, almost every attorney has a team. However, you need the peace of mind to know that when you need to speak with your attorney, you will be available to do so, or they’ll get back to you promptly.
You want to understand if your communication will be limited to only emails, or if you can call in and ask for updates. At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we build close relationships with our clients and treat them like family. You’ll work with a close-knit team of professionals, including your injury attorney. We’re also happy to talk to you by phone, email, video chat, or even text.
5. What Is Your Fee Structure?
Sometimes, insurance adjusters will encourage you to settle your case without a lawyer, arguing that legal services are too expensive and a waste of money. However, most injury attorneys charge contingency fees. With a contingency fee, you’ll pay the lawyer a percentage of your settlement or jury award if you get compensation. If you get nothing, the lawyer doesn’t get paid either.
However, make sure you understand the lawyer’s fee structure. There are two essential questions:
- What percentage does the law firm charge in contingency fees?
- How do they handle case costs?
Case costs are expenses associated with your case, like filing fees, expert witness fees, and charges for your medical records. At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we advance these costs for our clients; you’ll only have to pay your case costs if you get a settlement or a jury award.
6. What is Your Caseload Like Right Now?
We touched on this earlier; a busy caseload can mean less time and attention to your lawsuit. However, a lawyer with no cases at all could be a sign of a poor reputation. You want to find a delicate balance that you’re comfortable with. Ideally, you want a lawyer that is busy enough to be in-demand, but not so busy that your case will be given minimal attention.
7. Do You Have References From Past Clients?
You would ask for references when hiring many types of professionals, so why not ask your lawyer? A great lawyer will be more than happy to provide recommendations from past clients. These reviews and testimonials can tell you how communicative the attorney was throughout the case, if the client felt pushed to settle, and if they thought they got the best outcome.
At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we proudly share our clients’ success stories, testimonials, and reviews on our website. You can also read reviews from satisfied clients on our social media profiles, like Facebook and Google My Business.
8. Ask For a Detailed Case Evaluation
While a lawyer’s credentials and experience are important, you also need to get their opinion about your car accident claims. Take advantage of your free consultation and ask a lot of questions about your case and their strategies.
First, start with the details of your case. Ask them about your claim’s strength and if they see any glaring issues that may make it more challenging to win. A great lawyer will be honest and insightful when answering these questions.
Next, ask the car accident lawyer about their approach to litigation. Are they ready and willing to take a case to trial? Do they have any sense of how much your case is worth? Admittedly, it can be hard to answer some of these questions early on, but a lawyer’s answers can help you gauge their interest in your case and their willingness to fight for you.
9. Consider the Lawyer’s Personality
Hiring the right car accident lawyer is incredibly important. You have taken the time to research questions to ask a car accident lawyer because you understand the gravity of this decision. Throughout your case, you may be spending a lot of time communicating with the lawyer, so it needs to be someone you feel comfortable with. If you feel uncomfortable with a lawyer or don’t feel like your personalities mesh well, it’s probably not the right fit.
Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Experienced Alabama Injury Lawyers
If you’re ready to talk to an experienced, respected injury lawyer who will go the extra mile for you, call Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys. We’ve helped thousands of people get the help and compensation they deserve. We offer free consultations throughout Alabama, either in-person, by video, or over the phone.
ABA national lawyer population survey, 2019. American Bar Association. Retrieved from https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/market_research/national-lawyer-population-by-state-2019.pdf