You or a loved one has been injured in auto accident. Now, what do you do? Most personal injury victims are at a loss when it comes to the legal process. The first step is always to get the medical attention you need. The next step is to determine if you will require legal representation. If so, you want to find an auto accident lawyer that you feel comfortable with and confident in.
Attorneys first meet with potential clients in what is called an initial consultation. The purpose of the meeting is simply for you and the prospective attorney to meet and determine if you can work with each other going forward. Nothing beats face-to-face interaction when it comes to getting a good impression of who a person is and whether you should commit to working with him or her for what might be the next couple of years.
You only have one opportunity in an auto accident case to get the compensation you deserve. So, to assist you in finding the personal injury lawyer for your case, here are 9 questions that every consumer should ask when they interview an attorney:
1. How long have you been practicing law?
You want an attorney who has been practicing law long enough to have gained a significant amount of experience in handling cases similar to yours. There is no substitute for experience, so it’s important that you deal with an attorney who has a long track record and is an experienced personal injury lawyer.
2. What percentage of your practice relates to personal injury or auto accident cases?
You want an attorney whose practice focuses on helping injured clients. You don’t want a family law attorney trying to assist you with your auto accident case.
3. How many court trials and jury trials have you handled?
If your case doesn’t settle and you have to go to court, you need to make sure that you will be represented by a lawyer who has experience in the courtroom––a lawyer who can try your case effectively and maximize your damages.
4. Will you be my lawyer or will someone else in your office be handling my case?
This is very important. You want to be meeting with the very attorney who will be handling your case so that you can determine for yourself whether or not this is the person you want protecting your rights and representing your interests.
5. Are you an AV-rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell?
Because you only have one chance to achieve a successful outcome for your case, you want to make sure that you are represented by an attorney who is highly rated and respected by his or her peers.
Martindale-Hubbell offers reviews and rates how a lawyer is thought of by other lawyers and judges in their community. Its AV rating is the highest rating that can be achieved by a lawyer in both ability and ethics.
The AV rating has been around for more than 100 years and is still relevant today. There are other rating services, but some allow an attorney to pay to be rated. You can’t pay to be rated by Martindale-Hubbell; it is a truly independent rating generated by a lawyer’s peers.
6. Are you an active member of the local, state and trial lawyers’ associations?
You want to make sure that you are dealing with a lawyer who has access to information and resources shared by other lawyers who are handling cases similar to yours. Trial associations are networks of attorneys who help each other with information about the law and legal strategy. This is a valuable resource for any attorney and gives them a real advantage in the cases they handle.
7. Can you provide me with the name of 5-10 past clients you have represented in cases similar to mine?
A reputable attorney or one with a good track record should be able to give you the names of past clients you can independently contact to find out how their experience was with this particular lawyer and his or her law firm.
8. Can you share with me testimonials from past clients?
Along the same line as the question above, the attorney should be able to provide you with written testimonials or send you to a Web page showing you what past clients have said about his or her services.
9. Will you be honest with me and tell me what you think about my case and not simply what you think I want to hear?
Finally, you want an attorney who is going to be upfront with you. You want a lawyer who will honestly tell you what he or she thinks should be done in your case based on his or her experience and expertise –– not on what he or she thinks you want to hear.
If you ask these 9 questions to a lawyer whom you are interviewing to represent your interests in a personal injury or auto accident claim, you will increase your chances of retaining the right lawyer for your particular case.
Dan Steiner is a veteran internet & social media marketing consultant who has worked with hundreds of brands throughout the years. He is also an active mentor and volunteer at startup events throughout California, and has been featured in a number of media outlets across the web. He is currently CEO & Founder at Avila Web Firm, an award winning web design and internet marketing firm based out of San Luis Obispo, California.