After a car accident, finding a top lawyer can prove critical. You want to make sure that you have an attorney that will provide the support you need to achieve the best possible resolution for your claim: one who will walk with you through the process, make sure you have a solid understanding of what comes next and support you as you manage the often-complex legal process.
But how do you find top car accident lawyers near you? When you do get in touch with an attorney, how can you know that you have found one who will support you, connect with you the way you expect, and provide critical guidance at every step of the process?
Finding a Top Car Accident Lawyer
You can use several strategies to locate a car accident lawyer near you.
1. Ask friends and family members for recommendations.
If you have a friend or family member who has used a car accident lawyer in the past, that individual may provide you with a solid recommendation of a lawyer in your area who provided everything necessary to achieve a positive resolution in past claims. A personal review can often provide a greater overall degree of confidence in the legal services you will ultimately receive, especially when you need to choose an attorney fast.
2. Turn to Google.
Search “car accident lawyers near me” and see what pops up. Often, the top-rated lawyers will appear high in those search results.
3. Use a legal search engine.
On sites like Avvo and LegalMatch, you can find comprehensive directories of lawyers in your local area broken down by the area in which they practice and ratings or reviews from past users. Those sites can provide a vital look at what other people might think of the lawyers you may consider using.
How to Evaluate the Top Lawyers Near You
If you choose to use a search engine to find an attorney, rather than taking a direct recommendation from a friend or family member or even choosing a name off a local billboard, you may quickly feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of available options.
With so many lawyers to choose from, how can you know that you have found a top car accident lawyer near you: one who will provide the skills and intensity necessary for your claim? When evaluating a lawyer, consider these key elements.
1. How much experience does the lawyer have in car accident law?
Experience can make a huge difference in many car accident claims. An experienced car accident lawyer, who has dealt with these issues before, knows the law. A local car accident attorney also has a solid understanding of the local court system, from the judges you may appear before to how long it may take to receive a court date in your local area.
That experience translates to a great deal of confidence in your claim. An experienced car accident attorney can often take you through the claim process much more easily and may not have to look up individual elements of your claim, since he likely already has a strong understanding of what you will need to know about how your injuries impact the compensation you deserve, what compensation you can expect, and even how to determine who may have caused or contributed to your accident.
An experienced car accident attorney will also prove more likely to catch important details about your claim, from a previously undiscovered party that might also bear liability for your accident and your injuries to a line in an insurance policy that could increase the compensation you can recover.
Take a look at the lawyer’s experience with claims much like yours in the past, too. For example, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury in your car accident, you may want to deal with an attorney who has handled traumatic brain injury claims in the past, since that will give the attorney a much better understanding of the specific injuries you sustained and how they impact your life.
2. What do past reviewers have to say about the lawyer or law firm?
You should look for reviews regarding the law firms you consider for your claim in three key areas: on their websites, social media, and their search engine listings.
The reviews on a lawyer’s site will tell you what that law firm focuses on and what the law firm considers most important when dealing with a client. Some firms, for example, prioritize personal support and ensuring that a client has all the necessary knowledge about his claim.
Others may focus on a hard-hitting strategy that helps maximize the results of the claim as much as possible, including aggressively taking the claim to court if necessary to achieve those results. Since the attorney chooses what reviews to feature on the site, those reviews will give you a good idea of what working with the attorney could look like.
Reviews on other platforms, however, the attorney may have less control over. Read through both good and bad reviews. Keep in mind that bad reviews may come from people the attorney has won a claim against, not necessarily from dissatisfied clients.
Look for similar elements in reviews both good and bad. Do many reviewers comment on the same element of the claim, from something they really liked about working with the attorney to something that did not work? Many people find that online reviews, especially those backed by social proof, can provide them with as much information about a law firm as talking to friends and family members.
3. What results has the car accident attorney obtained in the past?
Take a look at the car accident attorney’s past claim results. Has the attorney successfully achieved high-dollar results for past clients? What does the car accident attorney’s claim history look like? Most car accident lawyers will highlight their best cases on the results page of their websites, making it easy for you to see what the attorney has done in the past.
When looking at results, make sure you look at car accident results. Keep in mind that truck accidents or Uber and Lyft accidents may involve much higher-value insurance policies, which can significantly impact the compensation victims can recover. Car accident claims against a private driver may involve much more limited insurance policies.
4. What awards or specific recognitions has the car accident attorney received in the past?
Take a look at what awards the car accident attorney displays on his website. Skim through news articles that reference him. Check him out through the local bar. An attorney who has the respect of his peers likely offers a high standard of service to his clients, which may make you feel more confident about the service you can receive.
Questions to Ask When Considering a Car Accident Attorney
You have narrowed down your local car accident attorney choices and have a solid idea of who you want to use for your claim. Before you actually select a car accident attorney, however, ask these key questions.
1. Who will actually handle my car accident claim?
You may have an excellent rapport with the car accident attorney you meet with during your free consultation or think that you have found an excellent law firm with hard-hitting attorneys. However, before you select an attorney, ask who in the office will actually handle your claim. Ask about who you will deal with throughout the claim as well as who will actually go to court with you if you need to take your claim to court.
2. How much compensation do you think I can recover for my injuries?
Listen carefully to what the car accident attorney you want to use for your claim has to say about recovering compensation for your injuries. An attorney cannot guarantee how much compensation you can receive, since much may depend on what the insurance company will offer. However, an attorney can provide you a solid estimate of the compensation you should pursue for your injuries.
Asking how much compensation the attorney thinks you can recover does not mean you should go with the attorney who has the highest estimate, however. An attorney who has a very different estimate than others may have swung off the mark or missed a detail of the claim.
Always ask why the attorney thinks you can recover that much compensation or what he has noticed to help better inform your decisions as you move forward. If an attorney has a very low idea of the compensation you deserve, on the other hand, you may want to consider going with a different lawyer.
3. What does your current caseload look like?
You do not necessarily want a law firm that has little to no work without a good explanation for it. At the same time, however, you want to know that your lawyer has adequate time and resources to focus on your claim, increasing the odds that he or she will check all the key details of the claim and provide you with the support you deserve through the process. Asking about the law firm’s current caseload can leave you with a better idea of the law firm’s ability to manage your claim.
4. How do you prefer to communicate with clients?
Carefully consider your communication style and how often you need to hear from your attorney to feel confident as you move forward with your claim. Some clients prefer to hear from their lawyers regularly, even when those lawyers have nothing to report. Others only want to hear from a lawyer who needs something or wants to share something about the claim. Knowing ahead of time how often your attorney prefers to check in can make it easier for you to manage the waiting periods as you move toward resolving your car accident claim.
You may also want to consider the communication method preferred by the attorney. Some attorneys prefer to communicate by email. Others prefer direct phone calls. Some will text their clients, while others prefer more formal communication methods. You may want to select an attorney whose communication style mirrors your own.
5. Can I talk to a past client?
Some lawyers will put you in touch with past clients who will willingly talk to you about their claims, what it felt like to go through the process, and how they felt about the attorney. While not every attorney will have past clients who will speak with people considering their firm, getting a personal recommendation can help you feel much more confident about the car accident attorney you have chosen.
6. How does the car accident lawyer make you feel?
You will likely need to work with the car accident lawyer for some time. Car accident claims involving serious injuries can drag out for a long time, especially in cases of disputed liability. If your car accident attorney constantly makes you feel rushed, small, or unimportant, you may not want to work with that attorney long-term.
Look for an attorney who will take you seriously: one who will listen to your concerns, offer you support, and answer any questions you might have about your specific claim. If you leave the office with a good feeling about the attorney and his support for your claim, it may help you feel much more confident as you move through the claim process and work toward a resolution.
Finding the right attorney near you can take time and energy. You need an auto accident attorney who will fight for you and help you manage your claim. Always contact a car accident attorney as soon after your car accident as possible to receive comprehensive advice, support, and guidance as you move forward with your claim.