How to Pick a Lawyer After a Florida Car Accident
You are driving down the road minding your own business and you stop at an intersection for a red light. Suddenly you hear tires screeching and you feel like car moving backwards and forwards. Your head slams into the back of your seat, or worse, you hit the steering wheel. You realize that someone crashed into the back of your car. In addition to worrying about that sharp pain in your neck and back, you’re not sure how your car is going to get repair, or how to deal with police. Most car accident victims do not know what to do; that is, other than listening to a friend say, “get a lawyer,” or worse, calling one of the all too many “lawyer referral services” that advertise on billboards, television or the radio. While you realize you need a lawyer, how do you make sure the lawyer you hire is the right one?How do You Find the Right Lawyer to Help You With Your Florida Car Accident?
Get a recommendation from someone you trust.
Get a personal referral. Speak to friends and colleagues and find out which attorneys they used. Make sure to ask:
- Did the lawyer keep them up to date with regular communication keeping them informed?
- Did the lawyer return their calls or emails in a timely manner?
- Was the lawyer able to address each of their concerns?
- Did the lawyer get a settlement which met their expectations?
Even after getting someone’s name, make sure to do an online search of that attorney’s credentials and experience. Most personal injury attorneys have at least one website which contains their biographical information, their experience and successes. Additionally, further internet searches for reviews from sites such as Google, Yelp or Facebook can also be helpful in finding a qualified, aggressive and successful attorney. When conducting a general internet search, be sure to investigate if the attorney you are considering has handled your type of case before? Does he go to trial? While most cases settle out of court; some should not. Injured accident victims need to make sure they are hiring a lawyer who is willing to try cases, even tough ones. Also, be sure that insurance companies know which attorneys are willing to take cases to trial, rather than accept a small settlement. Those attorneys ultimately receive greater out of court settlements.
Verify the Lawyer’s Credentials. Remember, while it is critical to have a good rapport with your lawyer, you are hiring him to be your fighter, not your best friend. That is why it is important to hire an attorney with a proven record of success. Pay particular attention to credentials such being a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Form, being highly rated by Avvo and having 5 star reviews on social media sites. Injured accident victims have every right to hire a qualified lawyer. Remember, just because someone is a lawyer and just because they have their name on a billboard, does not mean they are qualified to represent you.
As many lawyers have been found guilty by the Florida Bar, the entity which regulates Florida attorney, of ethical violations, it is imperative to verify if the attorney has a clean disciplinary record. This inquiry is easily done by visiting the Florida Bar’s website and checking the attorney’s record. Also, sites like Avvo monitor attorney discipline and list it on their site.
Make sure the lawyer has the financial resources to take your case to trial, if necessary. Car accident lawsuits are expense to prosecute. From paying the court fee to file a case, to taking depositions and hiring expert witnesses, even a “routine” case can cost more than $5,000.00; and many cases may require costs exceeding $100,000.00. Most injured accident victims don’t think about the needed costs when they hire a lawyer. And, many times, even a well-meaning attorney, may not have the financial ability to do everything needed to maximize the value of your case.
Technology. With the rapid evolution in technology, many attorneys have not implemented tools to help clients communicate with their office. While most attorneys regularly receive and respond to emails, make sure the attorney you are researching also accepts and responds to text messages. This easy way of communication allows clients to keep in touch with their chosen attorney in an easy way.
Also, make sure the attorney’s office is paperless, rather than being limited to old style paper files. This advancement will allow the attorney easy access to your file, and make it readily available for client access.
By following these basic guidelines, an injured victim of a Florida car accident will be able to find an attorney who meets their expectations and personality to obtain the largest financial recovery.