Over 3 million people are injured in car accidents every year. Out of that number, 2 million of those people end up with permanent injuries. But that doesn’t mean you have to deal with your injuries on your own. An Atlanta car accident attorney can help you get compensation to help you cover any expenses related to your accident, such as lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
With over 1 million attorneys in the country, how do you sort through them all and find the right one?
We’ll give you a hand. Keep reading to learn how to find an Atlanta car accident attorney and what qualities you should look for.
First Things First: Why Hire an Attorney?
It’s a truism that Americans have become increasingly litigious over the past several decades. And while there are certainly plenty of frivolous lawsuits that have been filed, that doesn’t mean that accident victims should shy away from pursuing compensation.
The damage incurred from an accident can be wide-ranging. There is the physical damage to your vehicle and possibly other property, as well — say, items inside your car or a boat that you were towing.
There is also the physical injury that you and your passengers have incurred. Even seemingly minor injuries from fender benders could have long-term consequences; between 12 and 50 percent of whiplash victims continue to feel pain after a year, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Don’t forget that mental and emotional trauma is a frequent result of an accident, as well.
Lastly, if you are injured, you might face serious financial and personal consequences. These could include:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential or future wages
- The cost of damage to your car and property
- Doctor’s bills and other medical bills
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
When someone else has caused your accident and its attendant problems, you may also be entitled to compensation for your very pain and suffering.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
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But It’s Not Just About Lawsuits
Here’s the thing: after an accident, you are going to need help straightening everything out. Getting what you deserve from insurance companies is never easy to accomplish on your own unless you have an attorney by your side and fighting for you. And if you have been injured, let’s face it, you are probably not going to be in the best shape to tackle the paperwork and negotiations alone.
It’s a good idea to secure the services of an attorney even if you don’t plan to file a lawsuit or try to recover personal injury damages. Your personal injury lawyer can take care of the massive amount of administrative work and red tape that insurance companies require for a claim. She will also have experience knowing how to fill out the paperwork in order to get the maximum benefits possible.
And your attorney will also negotiate on your behalf, if necessary. Insurance companies have skilled, talented attorneys working on their behalf, trying their level best to reduce the payout to you. It only makes sense to arm yourself similarly.
How to Find a Car Accident Attorney
Before we get into what qualities to look for in a car accident attorney, let’s first go over how to start searching for one. You should never pick the first attorney you come across. Just because you see their ad on the TV doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for your case. Choosing the right Atlanta car accident lawyer will take some time and research. So, here’s the best way to get started.
Ask Your Friends and Family
Before you open your preferred search engine, you should ask your friends and family for suggestions first.
One of them may have had to work with a car accident attorney in the past, and they can give you some recommendations. If they haven’t hired an attorney themselves, they might know someone who has.
Your friends and family can also tell you if they liked their attorney and why. This will give you a good platform to jump off from.
Do Your Research
Once you have a few suggestions (or even if you don’t), it’s time to head to the internet. This is where you’ll do some research to make sure the attorney is a reputable one who is a good fit for your case.
What should you be researching? That’s where the qualities you want to look for in an attorney come in.
Trust Your Gut
It is perfectly acceptable — and even advisable — to trust your instincts. If for some reason, you get a bad vibe from a potential lawyer, don’t feel bad about moving on. Find someone whose personality meshes well with yours, who communicates in a style that you understand, who respects you and what you have been through, and who seems like a good fit for you.
After all, you’re establishing a relationship here. Some car accident cases can take years to resolve. You don’t want to be collaborating with someone who makes you feel pressured or uncomfortable in any way.
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What to Look for in a Car Accident Attorney
There are several factors you have to consider when researching a car accident attorney. Having a record of success isn’t always enough. Instead, think of it as akin to hiring an employee. Your attorney works for you, and you want to take on the best candidate.
Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when looking for a car accident attorney.
If an attorney has a number of positive testimonials, you can be sure others have had a good experience with this attorney in the past. That’s a good sign.
This doesn’t mean you have to avoid attorneys that don’t post testimonials on their website. But you might want to spend a little more time researching attorneys who don’t have testimonials.
You can also search for reviews and ratings online, which can provide context beyond the reviews selected by firms to showcase on their sites. These will help you find reputable attorneys in Atlanta.
Good Track Record
You want an attorney who has won their cases in the past, so make sure you check out their track record. Look at their history both with negotiating settlements and with taking cases to court. While most car accident injury cases settle out of court, you may want to know if your attorney has experience in court if your case is more complicated or you want to be prepared for that possible eventuality.
Also research what kind of cases they have handled. Car accidents cover a wide variety of case types, such as:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Wrong way driving
- Tire blowouts
- Rideshare accidents
For example, accidents involving rideshares like Uber & Lyft can have their own unique challenges. Rideshare companies often try to avoid liability by putting responsibility on their drivers, and their policies for when they cover accidents have to do with how a driver was logged into their app. Having a lawyer with experience in this unique sub-type of car accident case could be something to consider if you were injured by a rideshare driver.
If an attorney doesn’t have a high success rate or simply doesn’t have the right kind of experience for your specific case type, turn your attention somewhere else.
A good attorney will have a number of credentials. Check for things like:
- Peer ratings from other reputable attorneys
- Board certifications
- Martindale ratings
- Avvo ratings
- Other types of legal awards
If an attorney has earned these credentials, they have provided successful legal services as well as earned the respect of those in their field.
Don’t settle for an attorney that doesn’t seem highly qualified. Just because an attorney has a license to practice doesn’t mean they’ll be able to handle your specific case.
Don’t forget to consider the money that goes into a car accident lawsuit. We’re not talking about your budget, but a firm’s budget. These types of lawsuits can get expensive, and so you need to make sure the attorney can afford your case.
Think about the entire process. The attorney might be able to afford your case in the beginning, but will they be able to stick with you until the end? Something as simple as their place of business can tell you a lot about their quality as a firm. An attorney who has a poor building, insufficient space, or a lacking staff might not have the finances they need to work your case.
If you hire an attorney who can’t afford to handle your case, it’ll be you who suffers in the long run.
You should know what’s going on with your case, but you won’t get any information if your attorney doesn’t talk to you.
This is one of the most common complaints people have about past attorneys who’ve represented them. Strong communication skills should be one of your main priorities.
Your attorney should always:
- Return your calls
- Respond to your emails
- Schedule regular appointments with you
- Answer any questions you might have about your case
- Keep you updated on changes without prompting
Many firms, like ours, offer free initial consultations, allowing you to ask questions and get a feel for an attorney in a no-pressure, no-obligation scenario. How they approach this first meeting can tell you a lot about their communication style—are they pushy, disinterested, rushing, or not giving you clear answers?
Take full advantage of that case evaluation to test their way of talking to potential clients and be sure to ask them about their communication policy. If communication isn’t one of their priorities, you might want to look somewhere else.
Any attorney you work with should put your needs first. That means they should be more focused on your recovery and not on their personal gain.
If an attorney wants to take your case but then seems to lose interest after reading your file, they might not have the passion to fight for you and your family.
You should feel comfortable with your attorney. After you meet them, spend some time thinking about their personality. Did they seem like a good fit for you?
It’s okay to choose a different attorney if you don’t feel comfortable with your first choice. Your attorney is there to help you, but they can’t do that if you don’t feel secure.
Questions to Ask Potential Attorneys
On top of finding out the information above, you can also use any of the following questions to start building a profile of a prospective lawyer:
- What is your background and how long have you been practicing?
- Do you think I have the grounds for a case?
- Can you give me an idea of what damages I could receive?
- What are some possible complications you foresee in my case?
- What deadlines should I be aware of?
- How often would you provide updates on my case?
- Do you think my case is likely to go to trial?
- Who will be working on my case?
- What will I be responsible for in pursuing this case?
You’ll also want to ensure that the attorney you choose has a good track record getting results. Ask them about this during your complimentary consultation; any lawyer worth her salt will happily hand over references and tell you about her wins.
Ask About the Team, Too
It’s smart to find out who, exactly, will be working on your case. Some of the hotshot lawyers might not ever meet with their hoi polloi clients. Instead, they pawn them off on junior associates, legal secretaries, and paralegals.
That’s not necessarily terrible; those junior members of the legal team are probably perfectly qualified. But you will want to know who is handling the details of your accident case. So go ahead and ask, and make sure you meet at least your primary contact person.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk Money
Almost all personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. That means you don’t pay them any fees unless and until they get you a settlement or win your case. Nevertheless, be smart and double-check the fee structure. In some cases, you may be expected to pay certain costs upfront. These could include fees for expert witnesses or investigators, or even administrative costs like filing and copying fees.
Interview Several Options
Once you find an attorney you like, make sure you interview them to make sure they’re a good fit for your case. If the one you picked doesn’t seem like a match, interview your second choice instead. Take the time to explore your options.
Put Our Car Accident Lawyers to the Test Today
Are you looking for an accident attorney that can fight for you? Bader Scott Injury Lawyers is more than willing to answer your questions, provide references, and give you information about your case. Head over to our contact page and let us know how we can help you.