The aftermath of a car accident can be an extremely anxious and confusing time. Between getting the car fixed, dealing with any personal injuries, and trying to navigate the insurance claims process, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
This is particularly true when it comes to choosing a Biloxi car accident lawyer. A Google search for “personal injury lawyers near me” will provide thousands of results, and there is no shortage of attorneys who would be happy to represent car accident victims. However, not all lawyers are the same, and it’s important to choose a lawyer that is qualified as well as one that is easy to work with. Below are some important things to consider when choosing a car accident attorney in Mississippi.
Experience Representing Car Accident Victims
The practice of law is extremely varied. There are divorce lawyers, intellectual property lawyers, bankruptcy lawyers, and even space lawyers. Furthermore, learning how to be effective in fighting for justice on behalf of clients is built over years of experience negotiating with insurance companies, litigating, and successfully managing similar cases. For this reason, car crash victims will want to find an attorney that focuses on representing people who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents. Just like a podiatrist would not be the appropriate specialist to diagnose a heart condition, it may not be a good idea to retain an estate planning lawyer to handle a personal injury car wreck case.
Make sure to evaluate whether an attorney has the experience and resources required to take the case to trial. The unfortunate reality is that some firms may pressure clients into settling their cases for less than they are worth in order to avoid the time and effort associated with preparing the case for trial. All victims deserve an attorney who will zealously advocate for their client’s rights and pursue the maximum compensation available under the law, even if it means taking the case to court.
A Track Record of Success
While past results are never a guarantee of future outcomes, looking at an attorney’s past performance can provide an idea of their skill and acumen in the specific area of accidents or injury law that is relevant to the case being considered. Look to see if the attorney or firm advertises past results, and if so, what types of settlements or verdicts the firm has obtained in similar cases.
Lawyers and law firms can vary significantly in terms of their culture and communication styles. At some firms, clients work directly with the lawyer and communicate primarily through texts or emails. At others, clients only talk to their attorney sporadically and interact primarily with a paralegal or other support staff. All clients have the ability to choose an attorney or firm with a communication style that best fits their needs. Do not hesitate to ask any prospective attorney questions about how he or she communicates with clients and whether the lawyer will be handling the case personally or delegating tasks to junior lawyers or staff.
Free Consultations and Contingency Fee Agreements
As a car wreck victim, it can be difficult to assess whether there is justification to pursue a potential civil action. Fortunately, most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations where they will listen to the facts of a case and provide advice on whether they believe there is justification for a claim. There is typically no obligation associated with these consultations, so it sometimes helps to talk to a few different lawyers before making a decision about how to proceed.
Most car accident attorneys and personal injury firms use contingency fee agreements with their clients. In this type of arrangement, the attorney will not collect any legal fees or expenses unless he or she wins the case. Any fee that the lawyer collects will be an agreed-upon percentage of the total recovery. Sometimes, attorneys will use graduated contingency fee contracts where they charge less if the case is settled prior to filing a lawsuit. Be certain that the fee agreement and expense obligations are very clean prior to signing any contract with an attorney.
Is There a Need for an Attorney?
Many may wonder whether they need to retain an attorney to represent their interests after a car accident – especially if the insurance company has already made it clear that they want to settle the case. The reality is that all accident victims can benefit by consulting a lawyer to better understand their rights, and make an informed decision about whether retaining counsel is a good idea. There are cases, usually, those involving wrecks where both parties are insured and there are no personal injuries (only property damage), where it does not make sense to hire an attorney. Even then, it can still be helpful to take advantage of a free consultation with a Biloxi Car Wreck Attorney to better understand one’s rights before proceeding.
Is a lawyer needed if the case is going to settle? Insurance companies can provide great service and support, however many are more focused on making money than making injured wreck victims whole and may be inclined to deny or minimize claims when possible. Having a qualified, experienced attorney to represent a wreck victim can help ensure a more just settlement. Some of the specific tactics that insurance companies may use to settle cases quickly and for less overall compensation than may due include:
- Pressuring victims to provide a recorded statement about the accident before fully understanding their legal rights
- Not accurately representing the rights and types of compensation that accident victims are entitled to (e.g., compensation for pain and suffering)
- Starting with an unreasonably low first offer
- Requesting unreasonably broad access into a wreck victim’s medical records
Fortunately, when wreck victims retain an experienced Biloxi car accident lawyer, the lawyer will communicate with the insurance company directly and represent their client’s interest, ultimately protecting the victim’s rights and ensuring a fair level of compensation.
Call Van Cleave Law Today to Speak with a Biloxi Car Wreck Lawyer
If you have been injured in a wreck, it’s in your best interest to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The representation of an experienced car accident attorney will ensure that you are treated fairly and obtain the compensation to which you are entitled by law. To schedule a free case evaluation with Christopher Van Cleave, an experienced car wreck lawyer in Biloxi, MS, call our office today at (228) 432-7826 or contact us online.