Every year, car crashes kill or seriously injure millions of Americans. These victims have both immediate and long-term needs. They need medical care and vehicle repair or replacement right away. They also deserve compensation for their economic losses, such as lost wages, and their noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
An experienced attorney addresses both these needs. Attorneys expedite the medical treatment and vehicle repair or replacement process. Furthermore, an attorney knows how to fight for the compensation you deserve.
If you Google a phrase like “hire a lawyer after a car accident,” you will receive about a million results. On the surface, most of these law firms look the same. So, it’s important to dig a little deeper and ask the right questions. Choosing the right Las Vegas personal injury lawyer may be one of the most important decisions that a family makes.
If you have foot pain, you will not visit an ophthalmologist, even though they are both doctors. Similarly, if you were injured in a vehicle collision, you need to partner with a car crash attorney. Another kind of lawyer may be very competent in another area, but come up short when it comes to vehicle collisions.
That being said, diversity is usually a good sign. A lawyer who does nothing but car crashes may be a one-trick pony. If the lawyer handles related claims, such as dog bites or slip-and-fall injuries, that’s typically a plus.
Nevertheless, your car crash attorney should devote a significant amount of time to car crashes. This dedication has a lot to do with experience, which is discussed below.
In the wake of a serious car crash, simply getting from Point A to Point B is a chore. That’s especially true on bad days. Most victims are barely able to get out of bed on many occasions. An attorney on the other side of town may score very high in terms of dedication, experience, and the other items on your list. But that long drive back and forth will get really old really fast.
So, your lawyer should be close to your home or job. Alternatively, your lawyer should be willing to meet you outside the office. Such meetings are not quite as good as an in-office visit, but they are almost as good.
There are so many lawyers nearby that you should not have to compromise on quality to find someone close.
Law Firm Size
This item is subjective. There are significant pros and cons to both big firms and small law offices.
Firms with more than two or three lawyers typically have lots of resources. These resources may include accident reconstruction professionals, private investigators, and nurses. All these people work hard for you.
However, large firms often delegate much work to paralegals. These professionals have less education, and usually less experience, than lawyers. Moreover, large firms often feel impersonal, both to the people who work there and the clients who use the firm’s legal services.
A solo practitioner or small firm usually lacks resources. These small offices may have connections with outside professionals, but that’s not quite the same thing.
Lack of resources can also be a good thing. The seasoned attorney who meets with you for your initial consultation will probably do most or all of the legwork on your case. So, you know that things are being done right. Most small firms also stress attorney-client relationships. Your case is not just a computer file.
So, the choice is yours. If you start with one type of firm and want to change, such a transition is not always easy, but it is usually possible.
Perform Online Research
Social media sites like Facebook and Google+ usually are good sources of information, as are lawyer-specific sites like Avvo and SuperLawyers. So, online research is an important part of this process.
However, take online reviews with a grain of salt. Anyone can post a good review or a bad review for any reason.
Often, the lawyer’s reaction to social media reviews counts most. If the lawyer addresses negative comments on social media, the lawyer obviously cares about his or her clients. That’s usually more important than a certain client’s experience.
Consider the Lawyer’s Experience
Online research reveals a lot. In the About Us or other section of their websites, most attorneys mention their law school graduation dates.
But a diploma date only tells part of the story. Many attorneys spend several years in another practice area before they take up car crash cases. Other lawyers spend their entire careers in a “settlement closet.” They are afraid of trial, so they always settle cases. Insurance companies know who these lawyers are, and these attorneys often do not get favorable offers.
At the same time, if the lawyer has tried a lot of cases, that could mean the attorney is not a very good negotiator.
So, there should be some balance. If the attorney mostly handles car crashes and other personal injury cases, about eight or ten trials a year is a reasonable number. Look for a figure in that area.
Reputation in the Community
We’ve all seen caricatures of money-hungry “ambulance chasing” lawyers, like Simpsons attorney Lionel Hutz, who was voiced by the late, great Phil Hartman. Unfortunately, these people do not just exist on TV shows. They are in the real world as well.
These individuals usually have a poor reputation among judges, insurance companies, and jurors. No one takes them seriously. Even if they score well in other areas, you probably want to avoid such attorneys.
If you drive to a new restaurant and see no cars in the parking lot, you may just keep driving. The opposite is also true. If you visit a new place and the hostess says there is an hour wait for a table, it’s probably best to go somewhere else. No one’s food is that good.
Similarly, your lawyer should be busy, but not overly busy. If you can see your lawyer without an appointment, there may be a reason his or her business is so slow. You also want to avoid lawyers who are too busy to devote sufficient attention to your case.
Connect with a Tenacious Attorney
You don’t just need any lawyer after a car accident. You need the right lawyer. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas, contact Henness & Haight, Injury Attorneys. You have a limited amount of time to act.