Car accident lawyers fall into the category of personal injury attorneys, and Los Angeles has a lot of them with billboards and bus ads everywhere. Because there are so many options to choose from, you should systematically approach how you interview and choose a car accident lawyer.
Here are five things to consider when choosing a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles.
Ask Friends for Referrals
Because there are so many accidents each year, there is little doubt that someone in your network of friends, family and coworkers has had an accident and needed an attorney. Ask around to get referrals and don’t hesitate to ask what they liked and disliked about the attorney. Remember that there are a lot of lawyers to choose from, and you don’t have to take just anyone. You want the right fit for you in your time of need.
Get Car Accident Experts
Because car accident attorneys are generally personal injury attorneys, they may cover more than just car accidents. Feel free to ask about their niche and what they specialize in to make sure that they have the background and resources to address your case properly. If the lawyer does other personal injury cases such as workers’ compensation, ask them what percentage of their caseload is on car accidents. This is important because you want someone versed in dealing with car insurance companies.
Find Out About Fees
Most car accident lawyers will not charge you an hourly fee to retain them. They work on contingency, which is excellent in most cases. What you want to be careful about here is the amount they charge. Los Angeles car accident lawyers generally charge between 33% and 40% of your settlement or judgment. Red flags should pop up with lawyers that charge more. Rarely will this yield higher settlements for you that are worth the extra fees.
Research Their Prior Litigation Experience
Only about 5% of car accident cases go to trial. This is a small percentage, meaning that litigation experience is not always a significant consideration. However, if you were involved in a serious accident with significant injuries, you want a lawyer who can go the distance. In serious cases, you may be seeking lost wages with considerable pain and suffering damages. Not every car accident lawyer has the courtroom experience to handle big cases.
Set Clear Expectations For Communication
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 go on for a while, especially if your injuries are lingering, you want to know what to expect by way of communication from your lawyer. Ask how often they send updates and how. Some lawyers will communicate primarily via email. You may prefer someone who picks up the phone. Find a lawyer who communicates in the manner you prefer.