When you are the victim of a car or truck crash, you may have to act quickly to retain a personal injury attorney to ensure you get the best possible settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Unless you have been through this before, you will probably be starting from scratch in your search for reliable, honest representation. Use the following guidelines to find the right attorney for you and your case.

You May Be Told You Don’t Need an Attorney

The first thing to be aware of following a traumatic accident is that several people, from insurance adjusters to police officers, may tell you that you don’t need to hire an attorney to help with your claim. In fact, this is one of the tactics insurance adjusters will use to try to get away with paying you less on your claim. The reality is that experienced attorneys are able to negotiate higher settlements that not only offset their fees, but give you more for your pain and suffering than you would be able to get on your own. Once you have decided that you do want to find an attorney, you will need to take a little time to find the right one.

Ask Potential Attorneys These Important Questions

It is important to your claim that you find an attorney as soon as you can after your accident. Your attorney will want to get to work right away on investigating your accident and responding to the insurance companies. However, it will be well worth it in the long run if you take the time to find out more about the attorneys you are considering hiring. The following are good questions to start with:

  1. How much experience do you have? While you want to make sure the attorney you are considering is not fresh out of law school, you will also want an attorney who has experience with your exact type of injury claim. If you were injured by a commercial truck, for example, you do not want an attorney who handles mainly car accident claims. Truck claims present unique challenges and you will need an attorney who can meet these challenges head on. While most crash claims settle out of court, you should also find out if the attorney has litigation experience in case your claim ends up going to trial. While your claim is technically a personal injury claim, a personal injury attorney without car or truck accident experience will not be able to get you the best results.
  2. What areas of law do you focus on? Any licensed attorney can take your case and represent you in legal matters, but a real estate or estate planning attorney, for example, will not know the intricacies of a crash claim. Make sure the law firm you hire has at least one attorney who focuses almost exclusively on car and/or truck claims. While the firm might accept a variety of cases, the lawyer assigned to your case should specialize in crash claims so that he or she can give you the best, most efficient service when seeking a settlement.
  3. What are your fees? Ask this question up front so that there are no surprises later on. All reputable attorneys offer an initial consultation for free, so don’t ever agree to pay for a first meeting. Attorney fees for car crash settlements should be pretty much the same from one firm to the next, but make sure you understand what additional expenses you will be charged for. An honest attorney will stick to what he told you in your initial meeting after the case settles or a judgement is made.
  4. What are my chances? After telling an attorney your version of what happened in your accident, he or she should be honest about your chances for a big settlement. If he doesn’t believe he could get you any more than what you have already been offered by the insurance company, he should tell you this and you should settle on your own. If the attorney makes big promises and can’t seem to back them up, walk away.
  5. Will you respect my wishes? In order to have a good working relationship moving forward, you should feel that you can trust your attorney and that he or she respects you as an individual, not just as an accident victim. You should get a sense of this in your first meeting. If you don’t feel there is a connection with the attorney, move on to the next firm on your list.

Have You Been Injured In A Kansas City Area Car Accident?

If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.


James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.