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Choosing a Car Accident Lawyer when you been injured

Choosing a Car accident lawyer when you been injured

October 2, 2018 by Chi-Hung David Nguyen

You are cruising down I-45 South for a day at the beach and like clockwork traffic builds up and you have to come to a stop in traffic.  You are just waiting for it to clear, hoping it is soon, and thinking about everything you have planned for your beach day.  All of a sudden you hear a crunch, you are jerked forward and backward.  Despite your shock and surprise you collect your thoughts, check your mirrors, and realize that someone has rear-ended you.

Just like that your beach day is gone. The remainder of your day will be wasted waiting on the police to show up and complete a crash report.  You will need to self-evaluate your injuries, and decide how badly you have been injured.  You still have to call and cancel your plans, and figure out your transportation. figuring out what to do about transportation, cancelling plans and determining how badly you are hurt.

More often than not, people have no clue what to do following a motor vehicle collision.  Most people suggest consulting with an attorney.  But how does one know which attorney to consult?

“Pin the Tail on the Attorney” is No Way to Find a Good Attorney

There is nothing random about finding a good attorney.  Trust and believe that there is a process to finding a good attorney, and it involves more than watching tv or googling the web and pinning the tail on an attorney.  There is absolutely no guarantee that an attorney’s ability to advertise his or her services relates positively to his or her ability to advocate for a client’s rights or to his or her desire to represent your interests. 

You can’t just see an assortment of attorneys and then play pin the tail on the attorney.  

Without a personal referral, or some other assurances, most folks wouldn’t trust a stranger with their pet. Why would anybody hand over such a relevant event, one with permanent and influential consequences, to a lawyer haphazardly found in an advertisement.

That is just crazy.  Now, there is absolutely zero wrong with marketing, but remember that the fact that an attorney can pay for a TV ad and other marketing has nothing to do  with the attorney’s capabilities or equally important, his or her passion to help you.

Choosing Your Accident Attorney

Surprisingly, choosing your accident attorney seems like it could be an imposing ordeal, but is a actually a simple process.

1. Word of Mouth.

Talk to people. Speak with friends, family, and co-workers to figure out if anyone has previously had to hire an attorney. Ask questions like:

  • Were you satisfied with the services provided?
  • Were you kept up to date, and appraised of the arising issues?
  • Were you kept in the loop by your attorney?
  • Were your phone calls returned in a timely fashion?
  • Was your attorney passionate about helping you?

Now is the time to be picky.  You are not hiring an attorney for no reason.  If the answer to any of the questions above is “no” then it would be a good idea to keep looking.  

2. GTS: Google that stuff

Once you’ve been given a word of mouth recommendation, go the extra mile and Google him or her. Or, if you were unsuccessful in getting a word of mouth recommendation, a simple Google search for an experienced Harris county accident attorney or for the best car accident lawyer in Houston, Texas can be a good starting point. Then, be sure to read the various websites and spend time looking at the lawyer’s credentials. Look for:

  • Experience.
    1. Does the attorney have experience with cases like yours?
    2. How frequently does this attorney go to trial?
    3. Is he or she willing to take a case to trial?  Will he or she push hard to settle? While most cases settle, and many should, not all of them do.
    4. IT is important to have an attorney that is known for a willingness to bring a case to trial. Would you be more afraid of a snarling beast or a lap dog?  Claims adjusters test attorneys, and are simply unafraid of those who appear unwilling to try a case.
  • Credentials.
    1. It is important to get along with your attorney and that they are personable, but you are not hiring a friend. You are hiring someone to zealously advocate for you.
    2. You need to make sure your lawyer has a successful track record.
    3. Look for credentials such as board certifications, peer acknowledgments, ratings from and other legal awards.
    4. It is well within your rights to expect a highly qualified lawyer. A license to practice doesn’t mean you know how to properly handle a case.
  • Litigation Costs. 

Most people don’t consider litigation cost when retaining a lawyer, and most don’t see the cost since car wrecks are typically prosecuted under contingency fee contract basis. However, car accident lawsuits are expensive, and your attorney needs to be able to afford a certain amount of litigation costs.

    1. It is important that your lawyer is able to handle your case from start to finish and that litigation costs don’t have a bearing on his or her effectiveness. Taking depositions, hiring experts, and mediation can be expensive. Make sure your lawyer can afford to effectively work your case.
    2. Go in for an office visit. If the building nice?  Is the space adequate for the operation?  Does the office seem properly staffed? If the answer is no, then the attorney likely can’t afford these things. Retaining an attorney who can’t afford to prosecute your case may resolve your claim negatively. An attorney’s financial challenges are not the client’s.
  • The Passion to Handle Your Case. 

There are hundreds and hundreds of attorneys, and you need to choose the right one.

    1. A good attorney is one who is passionate about what they do, and what they do is fight for you and your family.  A good attorney places the highest value in your recovery, than in his bank account.
    2. Some lawyers will hit you with some grade-A lip service just to get your case. Later, when it turns out your injuries are not serious or insurance coverage is lacking, he or she loses interest in or drops your case altogether. This is the exact type of attorney who you DO NOT want to be your lawyer.
  • Regular Communication.

Remember that you are retaining a personal injury attorney, not a paralegal, not a legal assistant, and not a receptionist.

    1. Make sure you to retain an attorney who you can reach by phone, or that will return your calls;
    2. Responds to email; and
    3. Directly answers questions.

For example, my clients know that I will return any call and respond to any e-mail within two days.  And, I make a point to go over my phone messages and e-mail almost every afternoon to ensure that I am providing my clients with an attentiveness that I would expect to receive in the same situation but on the other side of the coin.  I regularly schedule client meetings, either by phone or in person, every six weeks.  Communication helps me understand my clients, and helps me ensure they get the result they want and need.

Also, by keeping the client in the loop about what is going on in the case, it helps put the client’s mind to rest even during such a difficult time, and lets the client focus on recovering and getting better.  I regularly sign up clients who have been represented previously. The complaints about previous attorneys share a common thread; my lawyer doesn’t return my calls, my lawyer doesn’t return my e-mails, I have no idea about what is going on in my case.  Don’t be that client that gets sidetracked with a bad attorney.  Be the client who takes the time to find a good attorney, because it makes a difference. 

Follow my advice above, and you should have no problem finding a good attorney who will help you get through a very difficult time and get every penny in settlement that you are entitled to.

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