Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer
By Team at Zimmet & Zimmet, In Personal injury
Roughly 13 car accidents take place in the United States every 60 seconds. And according to Forbes, a fatal car accident occurs every 15 minutes.
Regardless of the severity of a car accident, knowing what to do after a car accident can be both confusing and challenging. If you have been hurt as a result of another person’s negligence or recklessness on the road, consulting an experienced Daytona Beach auto accident attorney is key for safeguarding your rights.
Prior to making any decisions about legal representation, however, there are 6 key questions that every driver should ask their potential attorney.
What Is Your Experience? What Are Your Qualifications?
A competent car accident lawyer should possess an in-depth familiarity with the statutes applicable to personal injury cases.
When evaluating an attorney’s experience, ask about things like:
- Their past experience
- Their educational background
- Their credentials
- Successes and wins they have had handling cases like yours
If you want to go one step further, request references from past clients who were satisfied with the results of their case.
What Are Your Communication Preferences? How Will We Stay in Touch?
You need to feel comfortable communicating with your legal team throughout your case. Plus, if an urgent matter arises, you need to know that your attorney will respond quickly and competently.
To make sure you will get the attention you need, you should ask questions such as:
- How will you communicate with me throughout the duration of my case?
- What is your availability to answer my questions and concerns?
- Can I reach you directly, or will I be working with a paralegal or legal assistant?
Your attorney should provide regular updates via phone calls and emails. Some even take it a step further and will send text messages. These forms of communication allow for quicker updates, and also cut down on the need for in-person visits, which can be extremely inconvenient depending on the severity of your injuries.
What Are Your Fees?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they will not charge any upfront fees until after they have successfully recovered money on your behalf.
This means if you do not win your case, then there is no fee owed. If you do win your case, however, the attorney will collect a percentage from the total settlement amount.
Average fees for personal injury cases range from 25-40%. It’s important to note that some attorneys may require that you pay for costs such as filing fees and other out-of-pocket expenses.
What Is Your Approach Towards Settlements and Trial?
Your lawyer’s priority is to try and reach an out-of-court settlement with the other party’s insurance company. This is often done through negotiation or mediation. Should a favorable outcome not be achieved this way, then your case will likely head to trial.
How Will You Assess My Case to Determine What Damages and Compensation I Am Entitled To?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, you may be eligible to collect:
- Economic Damages, which are financial losses or expenses related to the accident itself, such as medical bills, lost wages due to time off work for recovery, and property damage repair costs.
- Non-economic damages, which are intangible losses such as pain and suffering, as well as emotional distress caused by the incident.
To build a compelling argument in your favor, your attorney will assess all evidence about the accident, including pictures, law enforcement records, and testimonies of witnesses.
Your attorney will also have to factor in:
- Pre-existing conditions and your prior medical history
- Who was actually at fault for causing the accident
How Long Will This Process Take?
We advise our clients to expect the entire litigation process after a car accident to take between 1.5 and 2 years.
How long it takes can vary depending on various factors like:
- The complexity of the case
- The amount of damages involved
- The jurisdiction where the accident occurred
- Whether the case settles before trial or proceeds to trial
In some instances, if both parties can reach a settlement quickly, the process may take only a few months. In others, it can take several years, especially if the case goes to trial and appeals are filed.
Typically, the process starts when you (aka: the injured party) files a lawsuit against the at-fault driver (aka: the defendant). The defendant will then have a certain amount of time to respond, and both sides will engage in a process called discovery, which is where they exchange information and evidence about the accident, as well as injuries sustained. This step of the process will likely require a lot of patience on your part, since document exchanges can be painstakingly slow.
After discovery, both parties may attempt to settle the case either through negotiation or mediation. If this process fails, then the case will proceed to trial.
Once a final decision is reached in the case, if either party is unhappy with the outcome, they may choose to file an appeal. This, in turn, would cause the process to drag out even longer.
The hours – and days – after a car accident can be painful, scary and overwhelming.
If you are in the Daytona Beach area and have been injured due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness on the road, consulting an experienced auto accident attorney in Daytona Beach is an important step for safeguarding your rights. Hiring a qualified attorney is the best way to ensure that all available options are explored so that you receive maximum compensation for your case.
At the Zimmet & Zimmet Law Firm, we are here to serve car accidents victims in the Daytona Beach area. Our dedicated team of attorneys has an extensive amount of experience with personal injury claims, and will work tirelessly on your behalf to achieve a favorable outcome in your case.
Contact us today for a free consultation and case evaluation.