You’ve just been in an automobile accident and you feel you’re going to need an attorney, but the question is – how do you find a good one? As if there weren’t enough issues to deal with already following your accident – the last thing you want to do is complicate things by having to interview a group of attorneys to find one who specializes in your type of case. Pick a bad one…and, all he’ll do is irritate your auto insurance company. That’s because insurers feel attorneys other than their own tend to complicate matters while they sort things out.
If you find yourself in need of an attorney to protect yourself after an accident, you may want to observe a few guidelines in choosing the right one for you. Knowing what to look for and what to avoid can save you a lot of grief. So, beware of lawyers who:
1. Inflate your claim – The idea here is to keep things real. Unfortunately, those attorneys who overly inflate your claim with your insurance company or the other driver’s insurer are mostly looking to inflate their own fee for their own gain. And, keep in mind that asking for the moon is usually interpreted by insurance companies as a sign you’re willingly going along with your attorney’s unreasonable demands.
This also puts doubt on your sincerity. The parties involved might feel you’re not being truthful about your injuries. Insurance companies aren’t stupid – they deal with litigation over accidents on a regular basis. If you’re asked to lie or told to magnify your injuries, run – don’t walk – and, get immediately away from this type of attorney. Fraud or perjury can lead to the possibility of jail time.
2. Inflate the amount you’ll receive – Don’t let an attorney promise you an unrealistic amount of money in a settlement. Again, honesty is vital in your relationship between your attorney and yourself. Most of your compensation will depend on how much the insurance company feels you’re worth when it comes to your actual injuries, medical bills, lost income, and reasonable pain and suffering.
3. Have trouble listening – Your attorney works for you – not the other way around – their willingness to listen to your concerns should be obvious. And, they should be agreeable to go through all the details of your case after they’ve given you the opportunity to explain what happened in the accident – all the facts – not just what they want to hear. If they’re not interested in the facts – move on.
4. Show little interest in the evidence – Evidence is everything. Hearing the details and taking notes of the accident are a necessity. Better yet, if the accident scene can be examined and the accident visually re-enacted using available computer software, you’re steps ahead. Furthermore, numerous photographs of injuries and the damage to your vehicle will quite often make or break a case. Should your attorney show no interest in building a strong case for you – dump him.
5. Hasn’t had you checked out by a doctor – Making an injury claim following an accident is serious business. If you required medical assistance at the scene or shortly thereafter, you should obtain a report of your injuries from the hospital or doctor who treated you. Follow-up checkups should be done to see how injuries are healing or if additional aggravated injuries have surfaced as a result of the accident. Again, this should be part of your attorney’s check list.
6. Charges for the consultation or to take your case – That’s a red flag. With a good attorney, your initial consultation should always be free. And, the case is performed on a contingency basis, which means your attorney only gets paid if he wins the case for you. If not, you pay nothing…but, then…you don’t get anything, either.
In the end, when choosing an attorney, you should feel completely comfortable that he has your best interests at heart and will provide you with the most professional counsel available in representing you. You are, after all, working together as a team who shares the same goal.
The same can be said about your insurance company. Make sure you’re getting the best rate on your auto insurance. Why not get a free auto insurance quote today?
Have you ever had a bad experience with an accident attorney? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.