Auto accidents are not showing any signs of decline. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that although Americans drove less in 2020 during the pandemic, there was a 7.2% increase in traffic fatalities compared to 2019. NHTSA’s early estimates show that an estimated 38,680 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2020.
If you or your loved one has been in a car accident in Utah, getting medical help will be your primary concern. And after that, you should be calling a Utah car accident lawyer. Car crashes can leave you with injuries severe enough to turn your life upside down. With medical bills piling up and no pay, your finances will soon take a nosedive.
To secure the compensation you deserve, you will need to call an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. However, choosing a competent lawyer isn’t that easy. When looking for an attorney, you need to ask the right questions.
1. How Much Experience Do You Have?
When it comes to personal injury cases involving car accidents, experience is perhaps the most critical factor. As you may already know, car accidents are often complicated.
Whether you need to cross-check the evidence or determine the full extent of your damages, an experienced lawyer can do it better than a novice. Moreover, experienced attorneys can bring in experts like accident reconstruction specialists and expert witnesses to strengthen your case.
Experienced car accident lawyers are also much better at negotiations. They often know all the tactics insurance companies use to offer a settlement that is much less than your damages are worth. They can make sure you recover the compensation you deserve.
When hiring a Utah car accident lawyer,make sure to ask how experienced they are. Generally, the more experienced your lawyer is, the better.
2. Have You Worked on a Case Similar to Mine?
Car accident cases are as unique as they come. When you talk about work experience, never assume that the lawyer has worked on car accident cases similar to yours. Besides, most car accident lawyers specialize in a particular type of case.
For instance, sometimes, in accidents like whiplash, the damage and injuries may not be apparent. If your car accident lawyer has not handled cases like this, they may not be able to understand the full extent of your injuries. That, in turn, will prevent you from recovering the compensation you deserve. In other words, make sure to ask your lawyer if they have worked on cases similar to yours.
3. Can You Provide Me with Any References?
The only way to know if a lawyer is as experienced as they claim is to look up their references. You should ask your potential lawyer to provide references right out the gate.
The attorney-client privilege may prevent a Utah car accident lawyer from revealing case details. But, they can certainly provide you with a list of references.
You can cross-check these references with case databases to see if the lawyer did deliver what they promised. This will also tell you about the lawyer’s overall track record.
4. How Much of Your Attention Will My Case Get?
Working with a well-established car accident law firm is surely a good idea. But, sometimes, lawyers may take on too many cases at once. Your case might as well be sitting on a pile, screaming for the lead lawyer’s attention.
While a junior partner or a paralegal can be qualified to handle your case, it may affect the outcome. Instead, it is better to work with a lawyer who can work on your case personally. Be sure to ask the potential lawyer how much time they can devote to your case and what their current workload looks like.
5. How Much Compensation Can I Expect?
It’s often difficult to predict how much compensation you can expect, especially before studying your case. Several factors can affect your negotiations and/or the trial. There are no guarantees. And your lawyer should make it clear from the start.
On the other hand, if a car accident attorney promises you an exact sum, they are probably misguiding you. You wouldn’t want to work with a lawyer who overpromises and underdelivers. Always hire a car accident lawyer who tells you the truth, no matter how bad it is.
6. How Long Will My Case Take?
With your savings dwindling and medical costs rising, it’s only natural that you want your case to resolve as quickly as possible. It’s totally fine to ask your car accident injury lawyer how long will your case take.
However, never expect an exact estimate. Most car accident lawyers may provide you with a rough estimate, which might change as your case progresses. The cases that go to trial often take longer to resolve.
But sometimes, simple car accident cases can also take a few weeks or even months, depending on the circumstance. The point is, you should work with an attorney that paints a realistic picture.
7. Will My Case Go to Trial?
Most car accident cases never go to trial. Trials are expensive and time-consuming, which is why neither party wants to go to trial. However, you would want to hire an attorney with trial experience, should the unexpected happen. This will make sure you get the settlement you deserve, even if your case goes to trial.
8. What Should I Do to Increases the Chances of Winning My Case?
Although your lawyer will do all the leg work, you will also have an active role in your case as a plaintiff. For example, you may need to provide your lawyer with documents like photographs of the accident, medical test reports, and witness information.
Furthermore, your lawyer will ask you to maintain total silence about your case. Most car accident lawyers ask their clients to refrain from offering a recorded statement to the insurance company, usually until they have reviewed the case.
Likewise, you may be expected to refrain from sharing posts on social media or do anything that could damage your chances of winning. Ask your lawyer what you can do to strengthen your case, and make sure to follow their advice.
9. How Much Will Your Services Cost? And What Is Your Fee Structure?
Most car accident lawyers in Utah work on a contingency basis. So, the lawyer gets paid if only you recover the damages. Your lawyer will take a percentage of your compensation (the average in Utah is 33%) as their fee.
However, some attorneys may charge on an hourly basis. In this case, you will have to pay their fees and other expenses upfront. Thankfully many car accident lawyers also offer free consultation, and they usually discuss fees before signing a contract. Just make sure to get everything in writing and clarify your doubts before going ahead.
10. What Happens If I Lose?
If your lawyer works on a contingency basis, you may not have to pay any fees should you lose or fail to recover damages. However, some car accident lawyers may advance court-related costs and investigation or paperwork-related expenses in addition to the contingency fees. You might have to pay these costs (out-of-pocket expenses) even if you lose. Make sure to ask your potential lawyer who will pay these costs if you lose.
A general rule of thumb is never to hire a cheap lawyer. They may not charge you a penny upfront. But, you may end up paying a fortune in the end, regardless of the outcome of your case. Work with someone who charges reasonably and has an excellent track record.
As you can see, asking these ten questions can help you find a skilled car accident attorney. Remember, only an experienced and reliable attorney can help you navigate the complex justice system. Their expertise will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises down the line. Make sure to talk to an attorney of your choice as soon as possible.
Carlson Injury Law has a team of highly experienced and reliable car accident lawyers. We will fight to make sure our clients get the compensation they deserve. Please reach out to us today at (801) 845-4577 or fill out our secure online contact form to speak to our experienced attorneys.