No one wants to get into a car accident, but it happens. Motor vehicle accidents claimed over 42,700 lives in the United States in 2022, including 745 fatalities from accidents in Colorado, the most recorded in the state since 1981. It could happen to you, and if it does, you’ll want to know how to find the right car accident lawyer to get you a settlement for your injuries.
Use these tips to find the best car accident attorney for you.
Attend a free consultation
Most accident lawyers offer to review your case for free. If possible, take the time to sit down with the attorney to see how you get along, and if they seem like someone you can trust. If you pull the trigger before a face-to-face meeting, you might choose a lawyer that isn’t a good fit for you, and that will hurt your case. You should feel comfortable communicating openly with your attorney, and you should be able to ask questions without feeling dismissed or rushed. Make sure your attorney devotes their time and attention to your case when you meet them.
Bring your information with you
You may have evidence from the accident scene, such as photos and videos. You may even have contact information for witnesses and a copy of the police report.
Bring all your information to your free consultation with your prospective Colorado car accident lawyer. Attending a consultation lets you confirm that the attorney can help you get a settlement and that you feel comfortable with them. Your consultation isn’t the time to hold anything back; you want them to see your case information and be confident you have grounds for a lawsuit. Complete honesty ensures they’ll give you a realistic assessment and tell you what to expect from a car accident claim.
Check the fees
Finding out how much a car accident lawyer costs is crucial. Look at your prospective attorney’s website or make a call to find out how they assess legal fees. Make sure they charge fees on a contingency basis. When your lawyer charges contingency fees, they only charge you fees when you receive damages. You don’t want to owe legal fees if your case doesn’t get a settlement.
There are also some things you should know about contingency fees. Ask potential lawyers how much they get from a car accident settlement. Lawyers receive a percentage of the settlement amount. How much they take affects how much you’ll receive.
Also, some lawyers may add fees for out-of-pocket expenses. It would be best if you asked to see a contract that identifies all fees the lawyer will charge when your case is resolved. Seeing a contract and asking questions before you hire a lawyer ensures you won’t be surprised by unexpected costs later.
If you have a choice between a local and an out-of-state lawyer, choose the local one. A local attorney knows local laws, local courts, and local juries. Because of their proximity, they have a familiarity that an outsider simply doesn’t have. Hire a local accident lawyer who can effectively navigate the process of getting you a settlement for your injuries.
Ask for referrals
Talk to people you know who’ve filed a car accident lawsuit. Ask about their experience with their attorney and whether they recommend their car accident lawyer. There may be differences in your case that would make them suggest a different lawyer, or they may be confident the attorney will fight for you until they resolve your case. Referrals help give you peace of mind when you’re seeking legal help.
Suppose you’ve hired an attorney for another legal matter. In that case, you can ask that attorney if they know a car accident lawsuit attorney they recommend. Asking legal professionals for referrals is an effective way to find a lawyer you can feel comfortable with and who has a good reputation and plenty of experience.
Turn to the media
Suppose you don’t know anyone who’s filed a car accident claim and never hired an attorney. You won’t have anyone to ask for referrals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn about reputable lawyers in your area.
Turn to the local media and search for news articles about car accident crash settlements. Significant cases in your area should have news coverage, and you can learn who’s handled comparable cases through the news reports.
Research the law firm
Take time to learn about the law firm your prospective attorney works for. Reputable law firms have case results posted online so you can confirm the attorneys have experience negotiating reasonable settlements. Reviewing their case history also confirms the firm has experience handling your case type. There are different factors to consider if you’re in an accident with a commercial vehicle instead of another passenger vehicle or if you’re in an accident with a drunk driver. Turning to an attorney with comparable experience ensures they’re familiar with court rulings they can use to support your claim.
You should also consider the firm’s size. Smaller firms have limited staff, so it may take longer to investigate accidents and prepare your case, but they might have lower fees. Larger firms may have big clients they prioritize if they handle more than personal injury law, and they may have more bureaucratic hoops their attorneys have to jump through when handling cases.
Understanding the pros and cons of large and small firms can help you determine which size fits your needs. Ensure you ask about the attorney’s caseload, their staff team, and the timeline for handling your claim to ensure your case will receive the attention it deserves.
Preparing a list of questions ensures you’ve considered what you need to know, and don’t forget questions you wanted to ask during your free consultation. Get answers to all your questions before you leave.
It’s reasonable for you to ask about the volume of comparable cases the firm handles, how much attention you’ll receive from your attorney, or whether you’ll hear from a paralegal or assistant when there are updates about your case. If possible, talk to others who’ve filed car accident claims to find out what questions you should ask. The more questions you have answered, the more confident you can be about the attorney you hire.
Consider multiple attorneys
Talk to more than one attorney before deciding who to hire. You may receive different answers, prompting you to ask follow-up questions to determine why an attorney’s answers differ from another’s. An attorney may tell you what you want to hear instead of what you can expect. It’s also possible hearing comparable answers from several attorneys will put you at ease when you choose the lawyer you want to handle your case.
Take your time
Surviving a car accident is a traumatizing, overwhelming experience. Hiring an attorney as soon as possible is essential because it lets your attorney locate witnesses and gather evidence promptly. The sooner you begin the legal process, the sooner you resolve your case.
However, you will need time to recover from your accident. You may be overwhelmed with medical and personal issues stemming from your injuries. It’s okay to meet with attorneys and think about those meetings before deciding who to hire. You shouldn’t feel pressured to make a snap decision. You should feel at ease with the legal team who will help you with your claim.
Find someone with experience
A car accident lawyer who’s had years of experience handles a case better than a new attorney straight out of law school. Ask a prospective attorney how long they’ve been practicing law, and how many car accident cases they’ve had. If you’re satisfied with the answer they give, consider hiring them.
Bachus & Schanker specializes in car accident law, and we can help you recover your car accident losses. We understand car accidents are traumatizing. Our Victim Advocates Team investigates claims and helps accident victims get the assistance they need in the aftermath of an accident. Our entire team is here to support you through the legal process.
Demare, K. (2023). Colorado saw highest number of traffic deaths since 1981 last year.
Paralegals and Legal Assistants. (2022).
Strigberger, M. (2020). Does firm size matter? Retired lawyer muses on pros and cons of BigLaw and SmallLaw.
Traffic Safety Facts. (2023).