5 Crucial Qualities to Look For in an Auto Accident Lawyer
According to the New York City Police Department, 18,233 motor vehicle accidents occurred citywide in July 2019 alone.
There are currently 182,296 lawyers who are licensed to practice in the state of New York, according to the American Bar Association.
With so many lawyers to choose from, it can be hard to figure out which one to call after you have an auto accident. But it doesn’t have to be that hard.
Continue reading to find out what to look for in a car accident lawyer.
5 Crucial Qualities You Want Your Auto Accident Lawyer to Have
Every area of law is specialized. So you don’t want your real estate or divorce lawyer handling your auto accident case or vice versa.
Without having the proper background, a non-accident attorney is likely going to settle your case for less than it is worth simply because they don’t know what its worth truly is.
There are many things that determine what makes a great auto accident lawyers. Some of the crucial qualities you want are listed below.
1. Legal Experience
You should only consider an attorney with at least ten years or more knowledge and experience in handling your car accident case.
Over that period of time, a lawyer is likely to have seen your type of accident many times. For instance, if you were involved in a rear-end collision, they will know exactly what they need to prove to show the other driver was negligent.
Some of the other knowledge that is special to auto accident cases are traffic laws, unsafe road conditions, accident reconstruction, drunk drivers, weather conditions, overturned vehicles, and distracted drivers.
They will know the recent history of what other similar cases to yours are settling for before trial or what juries are awarding at trial.
2. Free Consultation
Any car accident lawyer worth hiring is going to provide you with a free consultation. This is because the consultation is a two-way street.
You get to determine if you want to work with the attorney. The attorney gets to determine if you have a case they can win.
Prior to the consultation, neither party has enough information to make those decisions.
The free consultation also gives the firm the opportunity to explain why they are the right lawyers to handle your case.
3. No Fees Due Upfront
Most, if not all, auto crash cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. This means that your attorney doesn’t get paid until your case is resolved.
Since your personal injury lawyer has decided your case is a good case, they won’t be concerned with waiting until then to get paid.
Most car accident settlements are also paid by big insurance companies so they have little chance of not getting paid.
They also know that most people don’t have the kind of money lying around that is needed to properly litigate your case.
Plus they realize you’ve come to see them when you’re already hurt from your accident. You also may need to take time off work.
Any personal injury attorney who asks their clients to pay their fees upfront is one to be skeptical about.
4. Negotiation Experience
Trials are expensive. No one wants to go through the time and the expense they cost unless it is absolutely necessary.
What you want is an attorney who has handled enough car accident cases so they know the value of your case. You don’t want an attorney who promises every case is worth over $1,000,000, but you do want one who is willing to fight for every last dollar you are entitled to.
Most car accident cases are resolved through negotiation between your attorney and the insurance company. Knowing when to press for a settlement and when not to is a skill that comes time.
This type of knowledge only comes with time and experience. Time allows the attorney the opportunity to get to know the various insurance carriers and their insurance adjusters to know which ones are more likely to settle before trial.
Attorneys who haven’t “been around the block” enough times simply won’t be able to properly evaluate the settlement that’s best for you and your case.
5. Trial Experience
While it might surprise you to read, not all auto accident attorneys have much trial experience. Some firms handle your case up until trial and then refer you out to a firm who specializes in these types of trials.
Although that may not sound like a big deal, it is. A lawyer learns valuable lessons by having to take a case to trial. They learn how to put a case together to make a jury side with you rather than the other party.
But more importantly, by learning how to put a case together like that, they know how to stack the odds in your favor for being able to resolve your case without going to trial at all.
Plus the auto insurance carriers know which attorneys take their cases to trial. If they know your attorney is ready to take cases to trial, they will be less likely to want to bluff on cases that they aren’t sure they can’t win at trial.
Contact Us Today
If you were injured in a car accident, don’t delay talking to an attorney. The law states that you only have so much time to file a lawsuit, if necessary. Failure to do so can seriously damage your case.
Contact us today to discuss your auto accident. We will do all we can to get your claim settled as soon as possible.
Let us help you get the recovery you deserve!
In over a decade of legal practice, Attorney Michael Redenburg began his career defending cases for the clients of insurance companies. Initially defending no-fault claims at a Long Island-based law firm, he then moved on to a Manhattan-based firm where he defended the clients of insurance carriers in an auto accident and premises liability matters.