Car accident attorneys fall into the category of personal injury attorneys, and Los Angeles has plenty of them with billboards and bus advertisements everywhere. Because there are so many options to choose from, you should systematically approach how you interview and choose an auto accident attorney.
Here are five things to consider when choosing an auto accident attorney in Los Angeles.
Ask your friends for referrals
Because there are so many accidents every year, there’s no doubt that someone in your network of friends, family and colleagues has had an accident and needed an attorney. Ask around for references and don’t be afraid to ask what they liked and disliked about the lawyer. Remember that there are plenty of lawyers to choose from and you don’t have to choose just anyone. You want the right person for you when needed.
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Get Car Accident Experts
Since auto accident attorneys are usually personal injury attorneys, they can cover more than just auto accidents. Feel free to ask questions about their niche and what they specialize in to ensure they have the knowledge and resources to properly handle your case. If the lawyer handles other personal injury cases such as workers’ compensation, ask them what percentage of their caseload relates to car accidents. This is important because you want someone versed in dealing with car insurance companies.
Find out about fees
Most auto accident attorneys won’t charge you hourly fees to retain them. They work on contingency, which is great in most cases. What you need to pay attention to here is how much they charge. Auto accident attorneys in Los Angeles typically charge between 33% and 40% of your settlement or judgment. Red flags should appear with lawyers charging more. It will rarely earn you higher settlements worth the extra fee.
Research their prior litigation experience
Only about 5% of car accident cases are judged. This is a small percentage, which means litigation experience is not always an important consideration. However, if you’ve been involved in a serious accident with significant injuries, you want a lawyer who can go the distance. In severe cases, you can claim lost wages with considerable pain and damage. Not all car accident lawyers have the courtroom experience to handle large cases.
Set clear communication expectations
Many lawyers are good at selling their services but lack regular communication skills when in the middle of a case. Because a car accident case can take a while, especially if your injuries persist, you want to know what to expect by contacting your attorney. Ask how often they send updates and how. Some lawyers will communicate primarily by email. You may prefer someone who picks up the phone. Find a lawyer who communicates the way you prefer.