How Do I Find the Top Car Accident Lawyers Near Me?
When you are dealing with injuries from a car crash caused by someone else, you might feel overwhelmed by the number of different attorneys advertising that they represent car accident victims. While many lawyers handle personal injury cases, not all of them provide quality representation. Finding a top personal injury lawyer in your area can make a difference in the outcome of your claim and the amount of compensation you might receive for your losses. Obtaining the best resolution of your claim and recovering maximal compensation will likely require you to find a competent and experienced attorney who has an extensive and successful record both inside and outside of the courtroom. A good lawyer should be able to explain legal terms and laws to you in a way that you understand, guide you through the claims process from start to finish, and help you understand your legal rights and the merits of your case.
Finding the leading car accident attorneys in your area involves knowing how to narrow down your search and understanding the qualities you should look for in an attorney. It also requires you to ask questions of the lawyers you consider so that you can choose one with whom you feel the most comfortable and whom you trust. Here’s how to find the right attorney to represent you in your case.
Create Your Initial List
The first step in finding a top attorney to represent you in your car accident claim is to understand how to find qualified attorneys who practice personal injury law in your area.
1. Ask for Recommendations
A good way to get a few names of attorneys is to ask family members, friends, and acquaintances for recommendations. Ask people you know who have hired attorneys to help them with car accident claims. You can also ask professionals you know if they might have any recommendations. However, when you ask for recommendations, make sure the attorneys practice personal injury law. A friend or family member might have had a good experience with a family law attorney, for example, but that doesn’t mean that the lawyer handles car accident claims or has experience handling personal injury matters.
2. Search for Attorneys Online
You can search online using search terms such as “lawyer near me for car accidents”, “top accident lawyers near me”, and other similar phrases. This should generate a list of attorneys who practice personal injury law in your area. You can then take a look at a few of those lawyers’ websites to get a general feel of their practice.
3. Look for Lawyer Listings in Online Directories
There are numerous legal search engines with directories of attorneys who practice law in your area. These listings are categorized by their ratings from past clients and their practice areas. Some examples of these search engines and directories include Avvo and LegalMatch. Make sure to check out the reviews and ratings the attorneys have from former clients.
Evaluate the Attorneys on Your Initial List
Searching online or through legal directories might return a large number of results. It can be difficult to narrow down the initial list of attorneys you have identified through your search. You will need to evaluate the attorneys on the initial list so that you can narrow it down. Here are some key factors to consider when you are reviewing information about each attorney.
1. The Attorney’s Experience
Many talented lawyers are newly graduated. While new attorneys might have a promising career ahead of them, that doesn’t mean that they have the right experience to handle your claim. It can be a gamble to hire a new and inexperienced lawyer, and you likely don’t want your attorney to be learning on the job while they are representing you. Look at the biographical information of an attorney on their website to see when they were first licensed to practice law and how long they have been practicing.
You should next take a look at how long they have been practicing personal injury law in particular. An attorney who spent 20 years working as a criminal defense lawyer before switching to personal injury law a year ago might not have enough experience with handling your type of claim even though they might be substantially experienced in practicing law overall.
An attorney who has significant experience both in terms of how long they have practiced law and in how long they have practiced personal injury law specifically is likelier to know how to handle your claim, the statutory and case law that apply to your case, the tactics used by different insurance companies in car accident cases in your area, the court personnel who might be involved, and members of the defense bar. Having this type of knowledge and insight can allow your attorney to confidently handle your case. An experienced lawyer might also have more understanding of how to determine the causes of your collision and the types of evidence that will be needed to prove liability.
2. Compare Past Reviews
Read reviews about each attorney you are considering. You can look for reviews on their websites, on Google, on legal search engines, and on social media. Reviews on an attorney’s website might give you an idea of the things the firm prioritizes when working with clients. They might also provide information about how the attorney works with clients and builds strategies. Since lawyers typically choose which reviews to post on their websites, they can give you an idea of what it might be like to work with a lawyer.
Attorneys do not have much control over the reviews that are posted on Google, legal search engines, or social media. These reviews can give you an unvarnished view of a lawyer. Read through both positive and negative reviews while recognizing that a bad review might be posted by someone who lost against the lawyer and not from a dissatisfied client. Look for themes in the reviews you read. If many reviewers comment about the same thing, including something they liked about the attorney or something they did not, this might provide some information about an attorney’s best and worst qualities. Finally, it’s best if a lawyer has substantially more positive reviews than negative ones.
3. Check Ratings Websites
Look up each attorney you are considering on trusted rating websites such as Martindale-Hubbell and Avvo. Martindale-Hubbell posts peer-reviewed ratings for attorneys who have substantial experience, which can give you information about how a lawyer’s peers in the legal community view the quality of their work and their legal ability. Avvo posts ratings from an attorney’s legal peers and clients, which can also give you an idea of an attorney’s experience and competence.
4. The Attorney’s Past Results
Many attorneys and law firms post information about the results of past claims. Check their websites to see the results they have obtained for former clients, including those for high-dollar amounts and any trial verdicts. While a lawyer’s past results are not a guarantee that you will receive the same outcome in your case, they can demonstrate a lawyer has the types of skills needed to competently represent you.
5. An Attorney’s Awards and Recognitions
When you are reviewing a lawyer’s website, take a look at whether they have received any awards or recognitions. Many attorneys and law firms post awards and recognitions they have received on their websites. Read any news articles you can find about a particular firm or attorney as well as information from the local bar. A lawyer or firm that has received awards and recognition from their peers is likely to offer high-quality legal services to their clients.
Schedule Consultations and Bring a List of Questions
Once you have narrowed down your list through the above-listed process, you should be left with a short list of a handful of attorneys or firms. Your next step is to schedule a consultation with each firm on your list. Fortunately, most personal injury law firms offer free consultations, so you have the opportunity to meet with the lawyers on your list and determine which one to hire. Recognize that your consultations provide you with an opportunity to interview each lawyer. You should also expect each attorney to ask you questions so that you can both decide whether you are the right fit. Here are some questions to ask.
1. Who Will Handle My Claim?
When you meet with a lawyer, you might have a great rapport with them but later learn that the attorney you speak with at your consultation is not who will handle your case. Ask exactly who in the firm will handle your claim. If others will be working on your case, ask if you can meet them. You’ll want to know who you will be dealing with throughout the claims process and which attorney will represent you in court if your case heads to trial.
2. How Much Compensation Can I Get?
An ethical attorney should never make claims about how much money you can get for your case. If a lawyer tells you that you will receive a specific amount of compensation, you should look elsewhere. Similarly, an attorney can’t guarantee the results of your case.
On the other hand, an attorney should be able to provide you with an estimate of the value of your claim, which is what it might be worth if it is settled. A lot depends on the at-fault driver’s insurance policy and other factors. Ask the lawyer what they are basing their estimate on to provide you with better information you can consider.
3. What are Your Current Caseload and Capacity?
You’ll want to make sure your attorney will have enough time and resources available to focus on your case. If a lawyer seems overly busy with constant interruptions during your consultation by staff or phone calls, they might not have enough time to focus on your case. By contrast, you also don’t want to hire a lawyer who has very little work without having a good explanation. By asking about the attorney’s current caseload and capacity, you can get a better idea of whether a lawyer will have enough time to spend on your case.
4. How Do You Communicate With Clients?
Ask your lawyer how they communicate with their clients and how frequently you will be updated about your case. You will need to decide what you would prefer. Some people only want to hear from their lawyers when something has occurred while others want weekly contact regardless of whether anything new has happened. Asking a lawyer how often they check in with their clients and how you can reach them if you have questions can help you determine if your communication styles match. You should also ask who you will be talking to in the office when you have questions about your case.
5. Do You Have any Past Clients I Can Speak With?
Some attorneys will have past clients who are willing to talk about their experiences with their claims. While not all law firms will have former clients who would be willing to talk to prospective clients, being able to talk to a former client might give you a better idea of what it is like to work with a lawyer. If you are provided some names, follow up with each former client.
6. What Is Your Gut Feeling?
This is a question to ask yourself once you have met with an attorney. Pay attention to how you are treated and your feelings about a particular lawyer and firm. You need to choose someone you like and trust. Car accident cases can last for months, making it important to choose a lawyer who inspires your confidence and who you like.
A good attorney should listen to you when you speak and take you seriously. They should also be honest about the merits of your case and be able to answer the questions you might have about your case. If you feel good about an attorney once you have met with them, that might help you feel more confident during the claims process.
Schedule a Consultation with Raynes & Lawn
The car accident attorneys at Raynes & Lawn have represented accident victims for more than five decades and have recovered tens of billions of dollars on behalf of their clients. We offer free consultations and can help you understand your case. Call us today for your free case evaluation at 1-800-535-1797.
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