A recent study found that nearly 5 million people suffered significant injuries from car accidents in a single year.
These personal injury accidents are potentially devastating and can result in serious injuries that compromise a person’s long-term health. These crashes can also cause additional damages, like financial debt and mental trauma.
It takes the help of a proven personal injury law firm to help you recover your losses. However, you must find the right law firm for your case. When meeting with a Newport Beach personal injury attorney, ask these five important questions before hiring an attorney.
1. What Is Your Rate?
Like any aspect of business, start by learning how much you will pay. Personal injury legal services are charged on the back-end, rather than upfront. The attorney that you hire will charge a contingency fee, which is a certain percentage of your settlement or court judgment payment.
Ask about their contingency fee and get it in writing so that you know exactly how much you’ll end up paying once your case is complete. Look into the contingency fee that the lawyers charge.
It’s common for attorneys to charge 33%-40% in contingency fees. Also, ask your lawyer if and how they keep track of case-related costs. These expenditures, also known as out-of-pocket costs, are those that the law firm racks up en route to building your case.
Some attorneys bill these costs and charge them back to clients if the case is unsuccessful. Other attorneys cut their losses and don’t charge clients for unsuccessful cases.
Find out if they charge clients for out-of-pocket costs so that you know what to expect no matter the outcome.
2. Should I Settle or Go to Court?
In learning what to do after a car accident, figure out whether you should settle or go to court. Any attorney that you consult with will give you an idea of how they see your case’s likelihood of success or failure. Most attorneys won’t take cases unless they’re confident that they will win – especially since the contingency fee process means they only get paid if and when you do.
The lawyer can also let you know whether it’s advisable to take the case to court or settle it. A settlement is the most likely scenario since 90% of court cases settle without reaching trial.
If a settlement is the likely outcome of your case, make certain that your attorney has the skills to negotiate for you. This starts by having the evidence of a winning case and then pursuing a fair and quick settlement with the other party.
3. How Much Is My Case Worth?
Your lawyer has to determine how much your case is worth to prove your losses and recover payment for damages. Although, an exact amount cannot be determined, but an estimate of your case’s value can be.
Find this out upfront so that you can learn the best to proceed with your personal injury case. The dollar value of your case is particularly important to your lawyer as well since their contingency fee represents a percentage of your payout, and they don’t collect any money until the case is complete.
Seasoned attorneys understand the causes of car accidents, and that damages from a car accident personal injury case can linger for years to come. Therefore, your awarded compensation should take these lingering damages into account.
4. What Damages Am I Entitled To?
An experienced personal injury attorney should provide a breakdown of the various damages that can be included in the claim. Medical injuries, property damage, and other financial losses can be compensated. Examples of damages that you might be entitled to include:
- Direct medical bills for emergency room visits and injuries like broken bones, lacerations, and other medical care
- Long-term recovery costs associated with physical therapy, chiropractic care, and other forms of rehab
- The cost of medical imaging, blood work, scans, and other types of diagnostic care
- Damages from the cost to repair or replace your vehicle
- Payment to help you maintain your livelihood while you’re out of work
- Pain and suffering and mental anguish
- Punitive damages that punish the driver for gross negligence
Take the time to work with your lawyer so that they can give you a detailed estimate. Once you have details, the lawyer can produce a rate sheet and a contract that you can move forward with.
5. How Long Have You Been Practicing Law?
Get help from an attorney that is skilled at what they do, so that you can trust their ability to win your case in full. Find out how long they’ve been practicing law, where they are bar certified, and what law school they graduated from.
Attorneys that have years of experience trying all sorts of cases understand how to deliver the best outcome. They are more likely to have tried or settled a case like yours in the past, and less likely to get caught off guard by unexpected developments in the case.
Ask your attorney to compile a list of references from past clients so you can inquire about their experiences working with that particular law firm. If you know someone who has hired a personal injury lawyer in the past, ask which firm they used and what kind of service and outcome they experienced.
Work With the Best Personal Injury Attorney
Let Beach Accident Attorneys assist you with whatever legal work you need. Our experienced lawyers in Newport Beach can provide guidance and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. You can contact our personal injury attorney firm on our website or by calling (949) 688-4182.