A free consultation with a car accident lawyer is a no-cost, no-obligation discussion. It allows you to learn about a law firm, evaluate the strength of your case, and discuss the next steps in pursuing compensation.
Free consultations are standard for personal injury law firms. You can use these consultations to find the right law firm to lead your case.
What Do You Discuss During a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer?
You and the law firm’s representative must direct the conversation during the free consultation. Some topics you may cover include:
Why the Law Firm Is a Good Fit to Lead Your Case (or Not)
The free consultation aims to determine if the law firm should (or will) lead your car accident case.
You may evaluate this based on:
- The courtesy (or lack thereof) you feel during the consultation)
- The clarity and honesty of the answer you receive
- Whether you believe the law firm gives a compelling pitch to lead your case
You may even ask the law firm’s representative bluntly: Why is your firm the right legal team to lead my case?
What Experience the Firm Offers When It Comes to Car Accident Cases
Experience is a key differentiator between one law firm and the next.
To evaluate a law firm’s experience, you may ask:
- How long has the law firm been in business?
- How many car accident cases does the firm handle?
- How many car accident cases has the specific lawyer (who will be leading your own case) handled?
While experience is not the only consideration when choosing a law firm, it is an important consideration. Ask a firm’s representative about the experience that qualifies them to handle your case.
How the Law Firm Has Performed in Other Car Accident Cases
Even more specifically, you may ask about a law firm’s case results in car accident cases. Car accidents that cause serious injuries can cost hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars. A law firm should have the resources to secure a large financial recovery when necessary.
You may ask the firm’s representative:
- How much compensation the law firm plans to seek for you (though they may not know this until they have reviewed your case)
- Whether the law firm will take your case to trial if necessary
- What some of the firm’s notable case results are
- How the law firm can assure you it will fight for the entire financial recovery you deserve
While past results do not guarantee that a law firm will secure compensation for you, they matter. Impressive results indicate that a law firm can secure large settlements and verdicts, which is a positive sign when looking for a car accident lawyer.
Which Attorney Will Lead Your Case
While the law firm’s representative may not know which specific lawyer will lead your case, they should assure you that:
- It will pair you with a specific attorney
- Your attorney will have prior experience leading car accident cases
- You will have your attorney’s phone number
- You can reach your attorney when you need them
If your attorney makes a personal investment in your case, they will fight tirelessly to secure the compensation you deserve. It is even better if that attorney has a track record of winning compensation for car accident victims.
What You Can Expect in Terms of Client Service
Clients evaluate lawyers on two primary criteria:
- Whether the law firm secures compensation for the client (and how much compensation the client receives)
- How the law firm treats the client throughout their case
A law firm that prioritizes client service can set itself apart from firms that simply treat clients with indifference (or treat them poorly).
A law firm dedicated to its clients will:
- Ask the client if they have specific goals or preferences for their case (and honor their requests, such as a wish not to be involved in the details of the case)
- Provide case updates at a frequency that the client is comfortable with
- Always treat the client with respect, compassion, and patience
- Be quick to respond to the client’s phone calls, text messages, emails, and other communications
The consultation alone may give you an idea about a law firm’s level of client service. If the firm’s representative is patient, thorough, and accommodating, it may indicate a client-friendly culture.
How the Firm’s Fee Structure Works
Many car accident lawyers use contingency fees. With these fees, the law firm receives no upfront compensation and covers the cost of completing the case. If the law firm secures a settlement or verdict for the client, the firm’s fee will come as a percentage of the financial recovery.
Even though this structure is common for law firms, you can ask during the free consultation if:
- The firm uses contingency fees
- If so, what percentage of your financial recovery the law firm will receive
- If not, what kind of fee structure the firm uses
You may want a law firm that uses contingency fees, as this will ensure the firm accepts the financial risk of your case.
Why Are Free Consultations Important for Car Accident Victims?
Free consultations are important, and you should take advantage of them, because:
- Your choice of a lawyer is critical: Lawyers win cases. Your choice of which law firm to hire can significantly influence the outcome of your case. Therefore, you should vet prospective lawyers, and free consultations are an important way to vet a law firm.
- Consultations give you key insight into a firm: A consultation can tell you much about a law firm and allow you to avoid headaches down the road. For instance, if a law firm’s representative is rude to you, it may be a clear flaw in the firm’s culture. It is better to see this flaw before hiring a law firm than after.
- There are no obligations when you complete the consultation: You have nothing to lose by completing a free consultation. The meeting is free; you don’t have to hire a law firm simply because you complete a consultation. Therefore, there is little reason not to speak with the firm’s representative.
The more information you have about a law firm, the more informed your choice of a lawyer.
How Do I Know Which Law Firm to Hire After a Car Accident?
You should use several different criteria when choosing a law firm to lead your car accident case.
You may consider:
- How the law firm’s representative treats you during your free consultation
- Whether the law firm has secured large financial recoveries for other car accident victims
- How long the law firm has been representing car accident victims
- Whether the law firm has an office in (or near) the city where your accident happened
- What former clients say about the law firm
Nobody has a closer view of a law firm than former clients. Therefore, put significant stock in how former clients review the firm. Overwhelmingly positive reviews can influence your decision to hire the firm.
Why Do Car Accident Victims Hire Attorneys?
Hiring a lawyer because of:
- Your discomfort leading your own case: Many car accident victims have little (or no) experience with insurance claims and lawsuits. When a car accident victim needs compensation but must complete a claim or lawsuit, they may turn to a lawyer with far more experience than they do.
- A law firm’s financial support and resources: The offer of a law firm funding one’s case can be compelling. Rather than spend your own time and money building an insurance claim or lawsuit, you may accept a law firm’s offer to build (and fund) the case for you.
- Your need to recover: If you have physical or psychological ailments, your recovery must be your priority. When you hire a lawyer, you no longer have to worry about your case. You can rest, receive treatment, and recover while your lawyer manages every detail of your case.
- A lawyer’s familiarity with completing car accident cases: There is no substitute for legal experience. Your case may strengthen because of a lawyer’s prior experience with car accident cases.
Most car accident cases end with a settlement. However, many car accident victims have no negotiating experience. Rather than go head-to-head with insurance companies or other liable parties, you may retain an experienced negotiator of your own—a car accident lawyer.
What Does a Car Accident Do for Their Clients?
An attorney will oversee every detail of your case, which may include:
- Obtaining all evidence related to the accident, which may include video footage, eyewitness accounts, reconstructions of the collision, and photographs of the accident scene
- Documenting your accident-related damages, which may involve collecting medical records, soliciting expert opinions, pulling past income statements, and recording your own accounts of your pain and suffering
- Negotiating a settlement on your behalf, at which time your lawyer will demand that liable parties pay you fairly
- Completing a trial, if they need to
Completing car accident cases requires time, effort, and follow-through. Cases can take weeks, months, or even years to complete, depending on the complexity. An attorney will see your case through to the end and will keep you posted the entire time.
Recoverable Damages Your Lawyer May Seek Compensation For
Recoverable damages are different for each car accident victim, but many cases include similar types of damages, which include:
- Healthcare expenses: Medical expenses can mount quickly after a car accident, placing the victim under great financial strain. Your attorney will work for liable parties to cover all your accident-related medical bills.
- Pain and suffering (and treatment): This can include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other forms of emotional anguish and psychological distress. It may also include physical pain, lost quality of life, and certain other symptoms.
- Lost income and other professional damages: If you experience any professional harm because of your car accident, your lawyer will demand fair compensation from liable parties.
- Property expenses: Your lawsuit or insurance claim should pay to repair or replace property damaged during the car accident (including your vehicle).
Your lawyer will work with both you and their experts to identify all your recoverable damages.
Hire Your Car Accident Lawyer as Soon as You Can
Do not wait any longer to speak with a law firm. Your personal injury lawyer may have a brief window for filing your case, so call them as soon as possible.