Thousands of car collisions happen across the country every day. In response to them, thousands of attorneys specialize in vehicle crash cases to meet the demands of the victims.
Any time you have thousands of people seeking services in a high-need marketplace, you’re apt to find substantial differentiation between the upper end of the market and the low end. Though it’s certainly true that every attorney is required to undergo rigorous education and pass a bar exam in order to be licensed to practice law in their state, not all car accident lawyers are equal.
Some are exceptional practitioners who provide superb consultation services to their clients. Others, sad to say, probably have no business being practicing law.
Here are some of the essentials that separate the good from the bad:
- Good car accident attorneys are experienced. Specialists in the field have been practicing law for at least five years, and ideally more. The majority of that time should have been spent focused on car crash victims and/or personal injury victims. Furthermore, you want the most recent years of their experience to have occurred in the state where you’re living. The laws differ across borders, sometimes in major ways, so state-specific experience is invaluable. Bad car accident lawyers are inexperienced. This doesn’t mean all inexperienced lawyers are bad, but they’re likely to have knowledge that’s more theoretical (book smarts) than practical (street smarts and tactical skills).
- Good car accident attorneys have a bulldog mentality. The kind of counsel you want is aggressive in the sense that he or she isn’t afraid to go on the attack for the client. Excellent lawyers tend to have a general disdain for insurance companies, and make it their personal mission to extract every last possible dollar for their clients. Bad car accident attorneys are timid people-pleasers; they’d rather avoid tension and try to make everyone feel more at ease. Such attorneys employ statements like “Let’s just find some common ground.”
- Good car accident attorneys make accurate calculations. Not only can they add up economic damages, but they also know how to calculate non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, and loss of consortium. Bad car accident attorneys make guesses. They base their settlement figures on a past case, probably because that entails less work on their end.
- Good car accident attorneys communicate. They understand what their clients are going through and know how difficult it can be for a victim of a vehicle collision to sit back and wait. The great lawyers call, email, and send you information to show they’re working constantly on the case and that things are moving in the right direction. Bad car accident attorneys keep to themselves; they only communicate with clients when they absolutely have to. The rest of the time, they focus on finding new clients to fill their calendar and pad their incomes.
- Good car accident attorneys are readily available. If a client needs something, a solid legal counsel makes him- or herself available via phone calls and emails. Such lawyers may even give you their direct office line or email address. They make it easy for clients to get in touch when they have a question or a timely issue. Bad car accident attorneys are overworked. They spend so much time focused on adding new clients that they don’t have sufficient time to deal with the clients they already have.
- Good car accident attorneys care. They aren’t just focused on making money; they genuinely feel for people who are thrown into painful situations through no fault of their own, and want to do everything possible to make the situation better. Bad car accident attorneys take on cases purely for the money. If a case doesn’t appear to be heading somewhere fast, they hand it off or give it only a half-hearted effort. The client is nothing more than bait for money.
How to Find a Good Car Accident Attorney
If you’re in a large metropolitan market, you’ll likely find there are dozens of lawyers and firms that specialize in vehicle collisions and personal injuries. Instead of accepting the first lawyer you run across on a bus-stop billboard, take time do serious research into local firms.
Start by asking friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family members if they have any recommendations. Once you have a short list of potential legal counsels, go online and read reviews, ratings, and testimonials.
Which ones seem to be well respected? Which fail to get the results they promise? What sort of fee structures do they have in place?
You should be able to reduce your list to one or two lawyers or firms that could handle your case. Schedule initial consultations to see which attorneys you feel comfortable with and to get an idea of what they think about your case.
You should be able to find someone who’s a good fit.