After a car accident, you may find it necessary to hire a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. You want to feel confident that the attorney you have chosen is going to do a good job. Often people make the mistake of hiring the first person they consult with or the cheapest attorney they find. Don’t make the same mistake. Instead, you can use a few simple tips to guide you through the process.
Steps to Finding an Attorney
First, do not speak to insurance agents or representatives without the knowledge or assistance of your car accident lawyer. To find the right one for your case, you need to know what type of attorney represents your type of case. For car accident injuries, you will need a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer that handles car accident cases.
Ask people you know and trust if they have any recommendations. You should ask if the person they are recommending is someone they have personally done business with. Ask about their experience, even if they don’t want to share the details of their case, they can tell you if the attorney communicated well and made their voice heard. Also, ask what they felt could have gone better.
Check your local or state bar association’s attorney directory. This will provide a list of lawyers in your area. You can also search online for a car accident injury lawyer. You should look for a site that provides information like areas of practice, where their office is located, and disciplinary records.
One of the most dependable ways to find a good attorney is to ask an attorney whom you know for a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer recommendation. Most likely, they won’t be able to tell you about fees or if they’re accepting new clients. However, they will know who is well known as an aggressive attorney in your area. West coast trial lawyers are well known for their ability to settle or win car accident injury cases. More information on this can be found here, https://westcoasttriallawyers.com/ca/los-angeles-car-accidents-lawyer/
Once you have a few law firms on your list, do some research. Check out their website to see what type of cases they accept, how long they have been in practice, what are their company values, where they practice and where they are located. You want to know if they utilize a team approach or have any specific experience that makes them uniquely qualified for your case. For example, do they have prior experience representing insurance companies, and now represent injured parties? This would give them inside knowledge that will be beneficial.
You should put together a small list of attorneys you want to contact first. Call their office and ask if they are accepting new clients and how much is their consultation fee. Many injury lawyers do not charge a consultation fee, but other firms typically charge what they bill for 1 hour of work. You can also ask if the consultation fee will be applied to your retainer should you choose to hire their attorney. That amount varies but expect it to be a few hundred dollars. Some lawyers will apply the consultation fee to the cost of the retainer, and others do not.
If you decide to schedule a consultation, you should begin to consider what you can reasonably afford to pay an attorney, and how you will acquire the retainer. Some will allow you to make payments, while others want an upfront payment. Personal injury lawyers typically do not charge fees until they settle or win your case.
Now that you have scheduled a few consultations, keep a car accident lawyer or two in mind as a second choice. You may not find the one that is right for you in 2 or 3 meetings and will need to schedule a couple more consultations.
Questions to During the Consultation
It’s important to know what to ask, so grab a notepad with your list of questions to take with you. You may get nervous or distracted and forget what you want to know.
Many websites will tell you how much experience an attorney has but if it doesn’t simply ask. You want to ask how much total experience they have as an attorney and how much they have specifically with car accident injuries. West coast trial lawyers collectively have more than 60 years of experience.
You want someone familiar and comfortable with handling car accident cases, and still has the passion to fight for your case. Identify what you feel comfortable with and consider the overall information you gather during the meeting. You can also ask what the outcomes of their cases were and to give you references.
Always ask if they have ever been the subject of disciplinary action. Whatever their answer is, you should evaluate how you feel about it. You may find that you still trust in their ability to take your case, or you may not.
This is also the time to ask about their fees. They can give you a breakdown of what their costs are, what they charge for their support staff to assist in the case, etc. Ask how they expect to be paid, in full or in payments or on consignment until the case is won. You can also ask if there is anything you can do to avoid large fees. You may want to organize all the evidence you have into a binder or file certain forms with the court yourself. By doing this you are saving them time, and saving yourself money.
Other Things to Consider
Be observant and don’t ignore your gut feeling. Keep in mind things like:
- If the initial call to schedule the consultation was not professional,
- how is the office environment, professional, disorganized, or accommodating,
- it the office large or small, do they have enough staff to run things or is the attorney trying to do it all,
- how long did it take to receive a callback or get in to see the attorney,
- did the attorney listen to you, seem empathetic and discuss how they would handle the case or was he/she pushy, dominated the conversation, and already directing you to take an unfavorable settlement just to get it over with quickly.
The most important thing is to find a car accident injury lawyer that makes you feel confident in their ability to handle your personal injury case. If something doesn’t feel right about the experience, don’t settle. Keep looking for someone that is going to be an advocate for you.