What Questions Should I Ask My Car Accident Attorney?

What Questions to Ask a Car Accident Lawyer?
Posted: June 9, 2024

After a car accident in New York, hire an experienced car accident attorney to represent you. The right lawyer will protect your rights, deal with the insurance companies on your behalf, gather evidence to build a strong case, and fight to get you the maximum compensation possible for your injuries and losses.

However, not all car accident attorneys have the same level of skill, experience, and dedication.

Before hiring a lawyer, ask the right questions during the initial consultation to ensure they are the best fit for you and your case.

Here are some key questions to ask:

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1. What experience do you have handling car accident cases similar to mine?

You want to hire an attorney with significant experience handling car accident injury claims. Personal injury law is a broad field, so look for an attorney who focuses their practice on motor vehicle accidents.

Ask how many car accident cases they have handled, ask them to provide examples of past case results, and ask if they have experience with cases involving injuries similar to yours.

The more relevant experience your lawyer has, the better they will anticipate challenges in your case and craft an effective strategy.

2. What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of my case?

Question to ask an attorneyAn experienced car accident lawyer should provide an initial assessment of your case after learning the basic facts.

Ask them to identify potential strengths, such as clear liability by the other driver and well-documented injuries, as well as weaknesses, such as pre-existing medical conditions or potential arguments regarding comparative negligence.

You want a lawyer to give you an honest, straightforward analysis rather than simply telling you what you want to hear.

3. What is your approach to handling car accident cases?

Ask the attorney to walk you through how they typically handle a car accident claim from start to finish.

Find out how they will investigate your case, gather evidence, and build arguments to establish liability and damages. Ask whether they typically aim to negotiate a settlement or are willing to take cases to trial if necessary. Make sure their approach aligns with your goals for the case.

4. How will you communicate with me about my case?

Clear, regular communication is essential when working with a lawyer.

Ask the attorney how often you can expect updates on the status of your case. Find out who will serve as your primary point of contact and the best ways to contact them if you have questions or concerns. Make sure you feel comfortable with their communication style and that they are committed to keeping you informed and promptly responding to you.

5. What is your fee structure, and how are case expenses handled?

Most car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning their fee is a percentage of the settlement or verdict they obtain for you, and they only get paid if they win your case.

Ask about the lawyer’s specific contingency fee percentage and whether it changes if your case goes to trial. Find out if you will pay any upfront or ongoing case costs, such as filing fees, expert witness fees, and deposition expenses. Make sure you fully understand the financial arrangement before signing a fee agreement.

6. What is your estimate for the potential value of my case?

While no lawyer can guarantee a specific outcome, an experienced car accident attorney should provide a general range of your case’s potential settlement or verdict value based on the facts and their past experience with similar cases.

Be wary of any lawyer who makes promises that sound too good to be true. A trustworthy attorney will give you a realistic assessment of the range of compensation you may recover depending on the unique circumstances.

7. How long do you expect it will take to resolve my case?

Ask the lawyer to estimate how long it may take to settle your case or take it to trial based on factors like the severity of your injuries, the complexity of liability issues, the amount of insurance coverage available, and the backlog of cases in the jurisdiction.

While an attorney can’t give you an exact timeline, they should provide a general idea of whether your case is likely to settle relatively quickly or may take longer to resolve.

8. What is my role in the case, and what do you expect of me?

Find out what the attorney needs from you to effectively pursue your claim. Ask what documents you need to provide, such as medical records, accident reports, and insurance information.

Find out if you will need to attend depositions, medical exams, settlement conferences, or a potential trial. Make sure you are clear on what your lawyer expects of you as the client and that you are comfortable participating in the process as needed.

9. What challenges do you anticipate in my case, and how will you handle them?

An experienced car accident lawyer can spot potential challenges in your case from the outset.

Ask them what difficulties may arise, such as disputes over liability, arguments about pre-existing injuries, or a defendant with limited insurance coverage. Ask how they plan to deal with these issues and advocate for your interests.

You want a lawyer with a strategic plan for overcoming obstacles and achieving your goals.

10. Why are you the best attorney to handle my case?

Don’t be afraid to ask the lawyer to explain what makes them uniquely qualified to represent you.

Ask what sets them apart from other car accident attorneys and how their specific skills and experience will benefit your case. Look for an attorney who demonstrates genuine passion, dedication, and a commitment to fighting for car accident victims like you.

The right lawyer will instill confidence and make you feel supported during this challenging time.

How Do I Prepare for My First Meeting with a Car Accident Attorney?

Meeting with an attorneyAfter a car accident in New York, an experienced car accident lawyer can protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve.

Here’s what you need to know about preparing for your first meeting with a car accident lawyer:

1. Gather all relevant documentation

One of the most helpful things you can do to prepare for your meeting is to collect all the documents you have related to your car accident and injuries.

This may include:

  • Police accident report
  • Photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and your injuries
  • Medical records and bills related to treatment for your accident injuries
  • Health insurance cards and information
  • Auto insurance declaration page for all involved vehicles
  • Paystubs or other proof of lost wages if you’ve missed work
  • Repair estimates or total loss statements for your vehicle
  • Correspondence with insurance companies related to your accident

Having this documentation handy will allow your lawyer to quickly get up to speed on the details of your case and provide a more accurate initial assessment.

If you’re missing any of these documents, don’t worry—your attorney can help you track them down. Just bring what you have.

2. Write down how the accident happened

Before your consultation, take some time to write out your own detailed account of how the accident occurred, including:

  • Where you were going and what the driving conditions were like
  • What you observed the other driver doing just before impact
  • What happened to your vehicle upon impact
  • What you felt, heard and saw in the immediate aftermath
  • What you did immediately after the accident until now

Include as much detail as you can remember, but stick to the facts as you perceive them. Don’t try to speculate about what the other driver was doing or make guesses about how fast they were going – your lawyer will investigate those issues.

Writing it down in advance will ensure you don’t forget to mention any important details during your meeting.

3. Make a list of your injuries and medical treatment to date

The primary factor determining the value of your car accident claim is the severity of your injuries and the extent of medical treatment required.

To help your lawyer understand what you’re going through, make a list of:

  • All the injuries you sustained in the accident, including pain, bruising, cuts, fractures, etc.
  • All medical providers you’ve seen, including doctors, specialists, therapists, etc.
  • Dates of treatment and what was done at each visit
  • Medications, assistive devices, and other treatments
  • How your injuries have impacted your daily life, work, and relationships
  • Any pre-existing conditions that may have been aggravated by the accident

Provide your lawyer with a clear picture of the physical, emotional, and financial consequences of the accident. The more they understand your challenges, the better equipped they will be to fight for the full compensation you deserve.

4. Prepare a list of questions for the lawyer

Remember, the initial consultation is not just an opportunity for the lawyer to evaluate your case—it’s also a chance for you to interview the lawyer and determine if they are the right fit for you.

Take some time before the meeting to write out all the questions you have about your case and the legal process. Use the ones listed above as a guide.

Don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions and take notes during the meeting. You want to ensure you understand the lawyer’s approach and feel confident in their ability to represent you effectively. If the lawyer cannot clearly answer your questions or you are uncomfortable with their demeanor, consider continuing your search.

5. Be prepared to be open and honest

Finally, it’s essential to understand that for a car accident lawyer to evaluate your case and provide reliable legal guidance effectively, they need to know the whole story—even parts that may be difficult or embarrassing to discuss.

Prepare to openly and honestly answer questions about:

  • The full extent of your injuries and any pre-existing conditions
  • Any statements you made to the police or insurance companies after the accident
  • Any potential weaknesses in your case, such as if you were cited for a traffic violation
  • Your criminal history, driving record, and medical history
  • Your employment situation and lost wage claim

Attorney-client privilege protects your conversations with your lawyer, which means they cannot disclose what you tell them in confidence. Full transparency will allow your lawyer to anticipate challenges and build the strongest case on your behalf.

Hire the Right Car Accident Lawyer for You

Hiring the right personal injury lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. By asking the right questions during the initial consultation, you can find an attorney with the experience, skills, and approach necessary to effectively pursue the compensation you deserve.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in New York, the car accident attorneys at William Mattar Law Offices are here to help. With decades of combined experience and a focus on motor vehicle accident cases, we have the knowledge and dedication to guide you through the legal process and fight for your rights every step of the way.

Contact us today at (716) 444-4444 or through our online form for your free consultation and get answers to all your questions about pursuing a car accident claim.

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