How to Choose the Best Car Accident Lawyer?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
A car accident lawyer can help you pursue your claim and seek the maximum financial compensation for your injuries and losses. They understand your case and can guide you through the legal process while you focus on your recovery.
But working with an experienced car accident lawyer in Michigan is not just about finding a local law firm with experience. It’s about finding an attorney who advocates for you and helps bolster your auto accident claim for compensation against the at-fault party and the insurance adjuster.
The knowledgeable auto accident attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. understand the importance of balancing experience and transparency with professionalism and communication skills.
Why Do I Need an Auto Accident Lawyer?
While it is possible to pursue a lawsuit on your own, in cases of personal injury, it is better to hire a car accident lawyer to help you pursue your claim for various reasons.
Insurance negotiation skills
Each insurance company has its team of attorneys and insurance adjusters familiar with the personal injury laws and insurance regulations. If you choose to handle your own accident and injury claim, the insurance company may offer you a quick settlement, hoping you take it right away.
Without legal representation, you may not know how to properly negotiate with insurance companies, including how to get the compensation you need to pay for medical treatments after an accident. Retaining an experienced car accident attorney is your best course of action for achieving the maximum amount possible for a fair settlement.
Legal understanding of all potential damages
Besides negotiating with the insurance company, you should also understand your legal rights and the full scope of your damages for fair compensation. Your compensation should cover any medical treatment related to your accident and property damage to your vehicle.
Other non-economic damages can include emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering.
If you cannot work because of the serious injuries you suffered, you may be entitled to compensation such as workers’ compensation for lost income. A car accident lawyer can advise you and advocate for damages you may not even realize you are entitled to on your behalf.
In-depth legal knowledge
Your lawyer can investigate your accident and gather the necessary information to prove liability in your claim, such as obtaining surveillance footage of your crash to see if the at-fault driver was driving over the speed limit.
In addition, they can check if the evidence specifies the at-fault driver and the type of crash you suffered, such as a rear-end collision or a side-swipe accident. They can contact witnesses and collect their testimonies.
You can rely on their legal knowledge and guidance in collecting evidence and understanding liability in car accidents.
When Should I Look for a Car Accident Attorney?
You can reach out to one of our personal injury attorneys when you or a loved one are car accident victims. Here are other reasons you should hire an attorney following a Michigan car accident.
You sustained serious injuries
You should consult an attorney if a car accident caused by a negligent driver results in severe injuries. Some catastrophic injuries, like head injuries, aren’t always noticeable at the accident scene. The physical pain of a traumatic brain injury can be apparent right away. Other symptoms, such as headaches and confusion, may appear days after the accident.
Some spinal cord injuries, like ruptured or herniated discs, can feel minor initially. However, they can quickly worsen as more disc material pushes through the tear after the accident if left untreated. Other common injuries include physical pain from burns, lacerations, and contusions.
You should always contact your medical provider after an accident. They can diagnose your injuries and help you receive medical care while fully documenting your injuries. Your lawyer can then use your medical records to detail the type of injury you suffered and the time and length of the medical treatment process for you to receive adequate compensation.
The insurance company contacts you about the accident
If your insurance company or the insurance company of the person who caused the crash asks you to sign a release, you should work with a car accident attorney. They are familiar with the auto insurance policies and the insurance laws that might affect your personal injury claim.
They can review your insurance coverage, exclusions, and restrictions with you. All of this improves your chances of receiving fair compensation for injuries you experienced in a car accident.
You need to file within the statute of limitations
Filing your accident injury claim after retaining an attorney can help you avoid potentially costly mistakes that you might make during the filing process. This also ensures you are within the statute of limitations for filing your injury case.
The statute of limitations is the time limit for filing your claim from the date of the accident; in Michigan, you have three years.
As you deal with your physical injury and financial losses resulting from your accident, it can seem intimidating to retain an attorney right away, but waiting until your medical bills pile up is not advisable. Starting the hiring process as soon as possible lets you find an experienced and skilled auto accident attorney who is a good fit for you and whose experience and capabilities you can trust.
What Credentials Should I Look for When Choosing an Auto Accident Attorney?
You should know what credentials to look for after a car crash and suffering a personal injury when choosing an attorney. Look for an experienced lawyer who is passionate about their profession and is knowledgeable about state personal injury laws and no-fault auto insurance coverage.
They must be familiar with the types of common auto accident injuries and the compensation you need to cover the medical treatment for your injuries. You can also choose to work with a lawyer who has a track record of taking personal injury lawsuits to trial if required.
Wide range of experience
One of the first credentials to consider when hiring your car accident attorney is their experience. This pertains to the number of years that the lawyer has been practicing law and the amount of experience they have in pursuing accident injury claims.
One reason to look for a well-established personal injury lawyer with years of experience is that knowledge of theory is simply no match for tried-and-true practice. No matter how hyper-competitive and well-educated a young lawyer fresh out of law school is, they may not possess the experience necessary to negotiate your damages and settle a motor vehicle accident settlement.
Local legal reputation
The lawyer and law firm’s reputation is another factor to consider when finding a lawyer. As in all professions, your lawyer’s reputation within the field of law precedes them. This pertains to their ability to handle and negotiate with insurance agencies looking to have the upper hand.
If your lawyer has weak points, the defendant’s lawyer or insurance adjuster knows about them. This can significantly impact the damages you receive, including your property damage claims for your vehicle.
Besides looking at a personal injury law firm’s success rate in pursuing cases like yours to indicate their reputability in the industry, search the internet for reviews from satisfied clients. Look up any awards or leadership roles they may hold in organizations that specialize in representing injury victims. Also, check to see if they are members of any local bar associations or participate in any campaigns.
Ensure that a potential law firm does not have a history of past problems, such as cases of disciplinary action against the firm for unethical conduct by legal committees. These can all be good indicators of a firm’s standing reputation, and whether the firm’s lawyers are individuals, you can work with in good conscience.
Network of resources
A car or truck accident resulting in serious personal injury is challenging to take to court. But, what you may not realize, is that it is also exceedingly expensive on behalf of the firm.
This is because of the logistics involved in acquiring the evidence to prove a claim. These costs include retaining accident reconstruction experts, trucking safety experts, and medical experts to analyze the nature of your injuries. In this regard, the car accident lawyer you select must have the experience and network of resources to take your claim to court if need be.
Satisfactory customer service reviews
Getting a sense of a lawyer’s personality is easier during the initial consultation, but you can start by exploring the law firm’s website. The website can give you a good idea of their professionalism and personality and help you determine if pursuing a consultation is worth your time.
In addition, you can also look to independent review sites to see what past clients have to say about a lawyer’s capabilities or disposition. You can also ask for referrals from friends and family.
By making a point to look for these attributes in a car accident attorney, you can develop a shortlist of potential firms with which you plan to take the time to conduct an initial consultation.
What Should I Ask at My Initial Consultation With an Auto Accident Lawyer?
After shortlisting prospective attorneys, preparing for your initial consultation is crucial. This includes gathering relevant documents, such as the police report of your car accident, medical bills, medical records, and any information pertaining to loss of income like W-2s and pay stubs.
You can also bring any correspondence you received from your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company.
Make a list of questions to ask your lawyer during the consultation to help you learn more about their credentials. The potential questions could include:
Will you personally handle my case, or will another attorney handle it for me?
You might become acquainted and comfortable with the attorney who handles your initial consultation and then passed on to another lawyer with whom you are unfamiliar. Ensure this is not the case by requesting to meet with the attorney who will work your case upon scheduling.
How often can I expect to communicate with you if I have any questions about my case?
A lawyer’s caseload can mean that you may not have regular contact with them. You can ask how often your lawyer will reach out to you regarding your case. A lawyer who will work on your case must follow up with you regularly.
How much experience do you have specifically with auto accident cases?
Ask the attorney about their specialty during the consultation to ensure they have experience pursuing claims related to automobile accidents. Keep in mind that there is a vast range of types of personal injury incidents, and you do not want a lawyer who specializes in slip-and-fall accidents to be in charge of pursuing your car wreck claim.
How many of your personal injury claims have you settled successfully?
This question allows a lawyer to elaborate on their past performance and helps you ensure you are working with a legal professional who’s established a successful reputation in the industry.
Do you work more with car accident plaintiffs or defendants?
As the plaintiff, you must find a lawyer who has a reputation for representing plaintiffs, not defendants, in car accident cases.
How would you recommend that my case be handled?
When you have presented a lawyer with your case and any documentation, ask them how they would approach a situation like yours. Their answers should show their ability to think on their feet and experience in similar cases.
What to Do After the Initial Consultation with Your Auto Accident Lawyer
Assess the lawyer’s performance at home after the initial consultation. Consider if their answers to your questions match the image and experience they present online and their local reputation. You should trust your instincts if you were uncomfortable discussing your insurance claim with them.
If you feel they were not a match for your case, it may be best to meet other lawyers. A personal injury lawsuit takes time, so it is crucial to choose a lawyer you can see yourself working with on a long-term basis to help you with your claim.
Work With the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
Finding the right auto accident attorney to represent you in your claim involves looking for a local, reputable car accident law firm such as Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C.
One of our knowledgeable, helpful lawyers can answer your questions about your insurance claim and explain the types of damages you may pursue to receive the maximum compensation.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.