There are many aspects to great car accidents attorneys. Here are some.
Accidents on the roads remain tragically common, and in some places are even rising, including here in South Carolina, where there were 604 fatal crashes in 2021 and 690 so far this year. It’s clear that the roads — and the way we drive — are not getting any safer.
It’s a state-wide, national, and global health crisis that claims the lives of some 1.3 million people around the world every year. And it’s not only people in cars, trucks, and motorcycles who are affected but pedestrians and cyclists too. When a road traffic accident happens, it can be devastating, leaving people dead and others maimed for life and causing untold physical and mental suffering.
If you or someone you know have been in an accident on the road that you didn’t cause and wasn’t your fault, it’s time to get justice. That means holding the guilty party to account and making them pay for what they did. You need to prove that they caused the accident through reckless, drunken, distracted, or other behavior, and you don’t have much time to do it. In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim is three years from the date of the accident. This means you need highly experienced car accidents lawyers to help prepare your case, negotiate with the other parties and get you a settlement.
So how do you find the expert car accidents attorneys you need to make your case succeed? Not all lawyers are the same, as many specialize in different areas of the law. And so, hiring an attorney with little or no experience of car accident claims might not get you very far. Here are some pointers to bear in mind when seeking out specialist and experienced car accident lawyers.
Tips for Finding Good Car Accidents Attorneys
You’ve probably seen lots of adverts for all kinds of attorneys, including the personal injury kind, all over the TV, papers, and internet, and some may be local to you. Does it matter if they’re in your state or way out of town and even halfway across the country or more? It depends. Some folk like the local touch, supporting a law firm in their area and being able to drop in and have a chat, and that’s certainly something our clients in and around the Greenville area of South Carolina like. Others may not care, however, especially in the internet era when everything can be done online, including client consultations and filing legal paperwork.
Wherever the car accidents attorneys you’re considering are located, however, there are some essential elements you should check out before you become a client. They include:
Car Accidents Experience
Car accidents cases can be complex, involving a great deal of evidence-gathering that includes getting witness statements and police and medical reports. Most cases are settled out of court, with only a small percentage making it before a judge and jury when negotiations with the other party or parties fail. That means intense negotiations are needed between both sides, and experienced car accidents attorneys will know how to deal with everyone.
It’s all the more important when negotiating with insurance companies. They will typically make the lowest offer possible, hoping that the victim will take the money and move on with their lives. However, good car accidents attorneys know insurance firms’ tactics and will fight to get what’s right for their client in monetary terms.
So how do you know if a law firm has extensive car accidents experience? Just because they say they do, in ads or on their website, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. You need to do some digging and find out for yourself. Look at any online reviews of the law firm you can find, and see what kind of cases they usually handle. Ask friends or family who may know the law firm what their opinion of them is, and ask the car accident lawyers themselves directly — what kind of car accident experience do you have? If they have none and you still take them on, and your case ends up in court, you might regret it.
Awards and Association Membership
When you’re going through any material about car accidents attorneys, or looking at their website, see if they’re members of any legal organisations or associations and if they’ve won any awards. This can tell you a lot about the type of law firm you’re considering to represent you, and if they have specific auto accident experience. We, for instance, list the awards our car accident and other lawyers have won on a recognition page here on our website.
Most people naturally want to know about costs when they’re weighing up various car accident lawyers — what are they going to charge, and can you afford it. Many law firms operate on a contingency fee basis so that people who may not be able to afford hefty upfront fees can get access to justice. You’ll almost certainly have seen the words “no win, no fee” on lawyers’ ads and websites, along with “free consultation” — but what do these mean in reality?
Ask law firms about the details of their fee structure, and if it is no win, no fee, what is the percentage they will take if they get a settlement for you. It’s usually around 33% of a compensation payout, but if it’s a lot higher, you may want to look elsewhere. And are there any hidden fees that might be a huge shock to you later on, like evidence-gathering, court, and other costs? You need to know now, so don’t be afraid to ask.
Ready for Court?
Because most personal injury cases don’t go to court, as lawyers will usually negotiate a settlement with an insurance company, many car accident lawyers may never have seen the inside of a courtroom. If it turns out that your case is headed to court because negotiations have failed, you’ve rejected a compensation figure, or the at-fault party is refusing to pay, you need car accidents attorneys who have many years’ experience in court. Ask your prospective lawyers if they’ve taken car accident cases to court, and get all the details, including what the outcomes were.
Some car accidents attorneys might be great at talking but not all that good at listening. Building a solid case and getting the result you want is based on good communication with your lawyer — your legal partner who listens to what you want and doesn’t treat you as just another money-earning number. You may be able to get a sense of this during an initial call or meeting, and if you find they’re a bit impersonal and want a quick result, so they get their fee, it may be best to move on.
Looking for honest, reliable, and highly experienced car accident lawyers? Contact the experts at Clardy Law Firm now and get a free consultation about your case.