You’ve been in a car crash, you’re injured, and it wasn’t your fault. Now what do you do? In this day and age, most people would start with the internet: “What to do when injured in car crash.” As soon as you click “search,” you are immediately confronted with countless articles and websites for personal injury firms all promising you answers, help and money.
This guide is designed to give you the tools and resources you need to protect yourself and select the right firm and attorney for your case. All you need to do is: (1) look; (2) listen; and (3) trust your gut.
Here is the truth: You will never get all the information you need to navigate a personal injury claim with the internet alone. The insurance claims process was purposefully designed to be complicated, deceptive and frankly, frustrating. Which leads us to Tip #1.
Tip #1: Look
Find the support you need, and quickly. Hiring the right firm and attorney for your case is the first and most important step in maximizing your recovery.
- Look for a local, well-established law firm with a good reputation in the community.
- Look for local attorneys that practice in the place that the crash occurred or where the defendant lives.
- If an insurance company refuses to make a reasonable offer on your case, there is only one remedy: file a lawsuit. For personal injury cases, this lawsuit can only be filed in one of two places: Where the crash occurred, or where the defendant lives.
- Importantly, only attorneys licensed to practice in these two areas can file a lawsuit on your behalf. Avoid having your case transferred to another firm and attorney for litigation and start looking local first and foremost.
- If you live in the area, or know people that do, start by asking your family, friends, coworkers, etc., if they know of a good personal injury law firm in the area. If so, ask about their experience with the firm, including client service, communication and overall satisfaction.
Tip #2: Listen
Keep in mind, no two personal injury cases are the same. But listen for “red-flags” when you meet with a personal injury attorney.
- Talking to others is an important first step in finding the best law firm for you. However, the viability and value of your case depends on a variety of complex factors that the average person will not know.
- Avoid making assumptions about what will, or should, happen in your case based on what happened in another. Instead, write down facts or questions you have about other cases and bring them when consulting with an attorney.
- The internet can also provide a plethora of helpful information on law firms, including practice areas, reviews, and testimonials. Once you have narrowed down your choices to a select few law firms, the next step is to schedule a consultation with an attorney.
- During your initial consultation, there are several questions you should ask, and more importantly, several red flags that you should listen for.
- Question: What is the fee in a car crash personal injury case?
- Red Flag: Anything more than 33% is a red flag.
- Typically, law firms have a standard 33% contingency fee, which means the fee will be 33% (or one third) of any settlement or award obtained on your behalf.
- For standard automobile personal injury cases, it’s no greater than 33% of your net recovery. If a firm has a fee percentage of greater than 33%, that is your first red flag.
- Be sure to ask whether their fee will increase if they file a lawsuit on your behalf. Some firms will have a 33% fee unless they file suit, in which case, the fee will increase to 40%.
Tip #3: Trust your gut
At Allen and Allen, we never increase our 33% contingency fee. Be on the lookout for firms that do. And find a firm that is exclusively devoted to representing injured persons in personal injury cases.
- There are several types of law firms. Some are general practices with a variety of specialties, and others focus on a specific area of legal practice, like personal injury litigation.
- Question: Does the firm only represent injured persons in personal injury cases?
- Red Flag: No.
- Once you have identified a local, trusted personal injury firm that solely deals with personal injury cases, the next step is to schedule a personal consultation with an attorney in that firm.
- Everyone is different and different people respond to and require different things. You may be faced with choosing between two equally qualified attorneys that want to represent you. So how do you choose? This is where your gut comes in.
- Trust your gut. Do you get a better feeling with one over the other? Does one attorney seem focused on moving your case quickly, as opposed to taking the time to do things correctly? Ask questions. Be up front about what you want and expect to happen during the representation.
The law has many complexities and nuances that a person not versed in the process will just not understand. Thus, it is essential that you find a firm and attorney that dedicates all of their time and resources to helping injured persons such as yourself.
At Allen & Allen, we have been serving and representing injured persons for over a century. We have experience with similar claims, we understand the industry and the professionals involved, and we can offer an unbiased and objective perspective while you are going through an emotionally charged time. Expertise is essential to ensure that you are getting the best recovery possible.
Overall, securing the expertise of an experienced personal injury attorney that you respect and trust is the only real way to ensure you’re getting the recovery you deserve. Here at Allen and Allen, I can advise you on the best course of action, tell you what to expect as your case moves along, and negotiate a settlement on your behalf. If you have any questions about your case, give me a call.