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What Questions Should You Ask a Lawyer After a Car Accident or Injury?
If you were recently harmed in a car accident or other incident involving negligence, strong legal support is essential. Unfortunately, finding the right lawyer may prove more difficult than expected. Not only should your attorney hold extensive experience in your case’s practice area, but he or she should also have a strong reputation and the ability to build rapport with all types of clients.
While you can learn a lot from scouring prospective lawyers’ websites and client reviews, some things can only be discovered while meeting in person. Ideally, initial consultations will involve extensive vetting. This is your opportunity to get a better sense of your potential attorney’s experience and legal approach. The right questions will help you quickly determine whether a given lawyer is a good fit for your case. So, be sure to ask the following as you meet with prospective attorneys:
Are You Board-Certified?
Looking for a quick way to determine if your attorney possesses the experience you demand? It’s easy for prospective lawyers to make mediocre resumes seem impressive, but certain distinctions can tell you right away whether they actually know what they’re doing.
Board certification demonstrates elite skill – only the top attorneys achieve this level of prestige. When you know that your attorney is board-certified, you’ll enjoy greater peace of mind. This can prove extremely valuable as you deal with the inherent stress of your personal injury or car accident lawsuit. Plus, the confidence imparted by board certification will allow you to build a stronger relationship with your attorney.
As you inquire about board certification, keep in mind that a variety of versions exist reflecting different types of lawyers. For personal injury cases, board certification in civil trial law will prove most valuable. When in doubt, aim to work with attorneys that are certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. This certification is granted to just 0.5 percent of Connecticut lawyers; when you spot it, you can rest assured that you’re working with the best of the best.
Are You a Dedicated Personal Injury Lawyer? Or Do You Maintain a General Practice and Take on the Occasional Personal Injury Case?
Some attorneys focus exclusively on personal injury law, only taking on cases that involve some element of negligence. However, others extend their practice into a variety of legal matters, including everything from divorce to criminal defense. This ultimately becomes an issue of quantity versus quality. Do you want an attorney who can take on virtually any case? Or do you want the best fit for your case?
In the aftermath of a negligence-based incident, you’ll be best served by an attorney who focuses exclusively on personal injury. Because this professional’s attention isn’t split between multiple practice areas, he or she will be able to hone in on the specifics of your situation – and apply findings from past cases.
How Long Have You Practiced Personal Injury Law?
Experience matters. Consider not only how long your attorney has practiced in general, but also what portion of that time was dedicated exclusively to personal injury. The quality of that experience also warrants your attention; an attorney who has served for years but netted few impressive legal victories may not be worth your time.
Do You Frequently Handle Cases That Look Like Mine? If So, How Many?
Personal injury is a broad practice area. While it helps to work with an attorney who is exclusively dedicated to personal injury law, niche experience is even more valuable. If your personal injury lawyer primarily takes on medical malpractice cases, for example, he or she may have little to offer by way of auto accident support.
More importantly, you’ll want an attorney who is familiar with the unique complications of your case. Examples could include car accidents involving the use of dash cams or a complete lack of insurance coverage. The more familiar your attorney is with such specific circumstances, the better.
How Many Auto Accident Cases Do You Settle Each Year? How Many Cases Do You Take to Trial?
The vast majority of car accident cases never go to trial. Still, your attorney must be fully prepared for this possibility. By inquiring about settlement and trial frequency, you can get a better sense of whether your attorney automatically opts for the path of least resistance or is willing to fight when necessary.
This question will also give you a better idea of your attorney’s general caseload. Lawyers who take on too many auto accidents or personal injury cases may be less capable of granting you the time and personal attention you deserve.
What Is Your Assessment of My Case?
Transparency is essential from the get-go. If your attorney doubts the viability of your case, he or she should let you know immediately. This is your opportunity to determine whether your potential lawyer will demonstrate honesty, even when it’s difficult. If your lawyer sugarcoats your case, you can kiss your chances of maintaining an open and honest attorney-client relationship goodbye.
Ideally, prospective lawyers will highlight both the potential for success and the concerns related to your situation. The answer to this question doesn’t need to be bleak, but it should take noteworthy risks into account.
What Kind of Financial Settlement Can I Realistically Expect to Receive?
Before you begin vetting personal injury attorneys, you should do your research to get a sense of typical settlements in your region and for the specific type of case you’re currently fighting. Nolo offers valuable insight with a survey on personal injury settlements, but you can also learn a lot via word of mouth. Obviously, settlements can vary considerably, as no two cases look exactly alike. Still, if you’re aware of the standard range of compensation, you’ll be better capable of gauging your attorney’s response to this critical question.
If you inquire about your ultimate financial settlement, your lawyer will likely highlight the complications that go into predicting personal injury and car accident settlement amounts before providing a rough estimate. Steer clear of anybody who makes huge promises without mentioning such stipulations.
In Need of Expert Legal Representation in CT? McCoy & McCoy Can Help
On the hunt for a car accident lawyer serving all of CT? Look to the team at McCoy & McCoy for support. Our proactive CT car accident and personal injury attorneys take on some of the region’s most complicated cases. Committed to making the process as streamlined and stress-free as possible, we’re happy to travel to your location and meet you in person for a consultation. Contact us online today or call (860) 500-1642 to learn more about our services – and to get a better feel for our approach to car accident and personal injury law.