Hiring a Denver car accident lawyer is a significant decision. You want to hire an experienced attorney who will put your needs first while fighting for the compensation you deserve. You want a compassionate lawyer representing you who responds to your questions and concerns promptly and takes your injuries seriously.
To find out more about your prospective attorney, it’s essential to do your research and ask them a series of questions. Here are some of the most crucial questions you should ask your Denver car accident attorney.
What Is Your Education and Background?
Asking this helps establish them as a professional and helps you get to know the attorney better and find out why they are in business to help injured clients.
Related questions you might want to ask:
- Where did you go to law school?
- How long have you been practicing personal injury law in this state?
- What types of cases do you handle?
- How often do you handle cases similar to mine?
Do You Have Experience in Personal Injury Law?
You do not want an eye doctor to perform heart surgery, and you do not want a tax attorney to handle your car accident claim. They might be good at practicing their area of law but probably wouldn’t be as effective as someone with experience in car accident claims.
While a law firm might adeptly handle divorces, probate matters, and other legal issues, you want to hire an attorney with specific experience representing injured car accident victims. If your case involves complicated circumstances, ask whether the attorney has handled similar cases before.
Attorneys with vast experience handling your type of claim will have more specific knowledge and skills to apply to your case. While personal injury cases have many commonalities, hiring a lawyer with specific experience with your type of car accident injury claim is best. This is especially true if your accident involved a commercial vehicle, someone driving on the job, or catastrophic injuries.
An experienced lawyer for personal injury will hit the ground running to protect your rights. They will know how insurance companies work and how to fight for full compensation for your losses. They will have the necessary resources to gather evidence of accident liability and negotiate with large auto insurers.
Do You Have Any Client Testimonials?
An experienced and effective lawyer should have client testimonials ready for you to read. When you read them, think about the words clients used to describe the attorney and their services. Is this someone you want to represent your case? Client testimonials are an excellent way to get a sneak peek into how attorneys work with clients and manage their cases.
Have You Ever Faced Discipline by the State Bar?
You want to ensure that the attorney you hire is in good standing with the state bar. You don’t want to hire someone who has their license suspended or with a license in jeopardy.
How Many of Your Cases Go to Trial?
Only about 3 percent of all personal injury claims will go to court. Instead, the parties negotiate a settlement. Car accident cases involving severe injuries are more likely to settle out of court as juries are typically sympathetic to the victim. Putting an injured individual in a courtroom can be risky for insurance companies, so they are more likely to offer fair settlements in these cases to avoid going to court. If your attorney is significantly above or below this average, you should find out why.
What Steps Should You Take to Protect Your Car Accident Case?
In addition to preserving any evidence you can, your attorney will probably advise you to be wary of the other driver’s insurance company. They may ask you not to provide a recorded statement to the insurer until they can review the facts of your car accident with you.
Do You Have the Time to Work on My Case Now?
Short-handed lawyers who take on too many cases simultaneously won’t have the time to handle your claim, or they might not handle it effectively. Without the timely attention of a seasoned lawyer, you can quickly lose evidence supporting your case. If this happens, you are less likely to obtain the compensation you are entitled to receive. Therefore, you need an attorney who can dive in and give your case the time and attention it needs now, which will set it up for maximizing your compensation.
What Deadlines Apply to My Case?
You need to be aware of many deadlines when filing a car accident lawsuit. The one you should be aware of before hiring an attorney is that you have a limited amount of time to file your claim. This is called a statute of limitations.
For example, in Colorado, it generally means you have two years to file a lawsuit after sustaining your injury. However, this deadline can vary depending on the case’s specifics, such as if a government entity is at fault.
After that deadline expires, you have no legal recourse against the at-fault driver. Your attorney will also have their own legal deadlines throughout your claim.
What Strategy Should Your Case Employ?
Most car accident attorneys don’t provide specific legal advice in an initial consultation. Still, they should explain the possible approaches to handling your case. They may also offer a general overview of the strategy they will follow.
Related questions you may want to ask include:
- What strategies have you used for cases similar to mine in the past?
- What are the pros and cons of this strategy?
Will You Notify Me of Settlement Offers I Receive?
Personal injury attorneys are legally and ethically obligated to inform their clients about any settlement offers from the opposing party or their insurance carrier. Since it’s your claim and not your attorney’s, you have a right to know when the other party or their insurer makes an offer to settle and for how much. It’s then your decision to decide if you want to settle for that amount. However, you should consider your lawyer’s advice when making this decision.
Are You Willing to Take My Case to Trial if Necessary?
You want an attorney who isn’t afraid to go to court if the other party doesn’t provide you with a full and fair settlement offer. Your lawyer must do all they can to protect your interests, including litigating your claim if settlement negotiations don’t work out the way you want them to.
Furthermore, suppose you win your case at trial. In that case, you will want to know what happens if the insurance company appeals the court’s decision. Will they represent you in the appeal?
Do You Have Trial Experience?
Not only do you want an attorney willing to take your case to trial, but you also want one with trial experience. Going to trial raises the stakes in your claim, and it’s not for a novice attorney. You want an attorney who can effectively show the court that the opposing party’s negligence caused your injuries and that you suffered compensable damages. Doing this takes experience and confidence.
How Long Will My Case Take?
No one can tell you exactly how long your case will take. While the vast majority of cases settle out of court, some do go to trial and will take longer. Some simple cases where liability is clear may only take a few weeks or months to resolve. Others, where there are multiple injured parties or multiple at-fault parties with unclear liability, can take months or even years to settle or end in trial.
Your attorney should give you a general idea of how long your particular case might take to resolve. They should also tell you what might speed up or slow down your timeline.
What Your Case’s Strengths and Weaknesses?
When you meet for an initial consultation, the attorney will ask several questions to determine several things about your claim. You may want to ask them what they believe the strengths and weaknesses of your claim are. An experienced attorney should name a few of each after learning the details of your accident and injury. It’s best to be aware of these strengths and weaknesses at the outset of your claim so you know what to expect.
What Is My Case Worth?
The lawyer should also estimate what your case might be worth after hearing the details of your losses.
They typically base this estimate on:
- What cases similar to yours recently settled in your area
- The severity of your injuries
- The value of your economic and non-economic damages
- The strengths and weaknesses in your case
- The value of the insurance policies involved
- Any previous experience they have with insurance companies or claims adjusters
However, keep in mind that this is just an estimate.
What Is My Role in My Case?
Lawyers expect different levels of participation from their clients. For example, your attorney probably won’t want you to talk to witnesses or the insurance company without prior approval, but they may need you to gather documentation of your injuries and other similar tasks.
Related questions to ask:
- What do you need from me to have the strongest possible case?
- What should I avoid to win my claim?
How Do You Handle Client Calls and Emails?
Reputable lawyers are usually busy meeting with their clients, researching cases, attending depositions, or representing their clients in court. Personal injury clients shouldn’t expect that they will personally speak with their attorney each time you call.
However, the lawyer should tell you how they will handle your calls and emails. Different law firms have various ways of managing client contacts; for example—a receptionist might direct you to a paralegal who will answer your question.
If the paralegal can’t answer it, they will speak to the attorney and call you back. Or the receptionist might take a message and have the attorney return your call. Other attorneys might even provide clients with a direct phone number to call or text them. Whatever their method is for communication, make sure you feel comfortable with it.
What Are Your Fees?
Most personal injury attorneys work on contingency fees. Under such an arrangement, they don’t receive any money unless and until they either settle your claim or win a court award on your behalf. If they don’t receive any money for your claim, you owe them nothing. If you do receive money for your claim, they receive their fees from your settlement or award. This means you don’t pay them upfront for their services and don’t need any money to get your car accident claim started.
If they use contingency fees, you will want to find out what percentage of your compensation they receive, depending on if the case goes to trial and its complexity. You should also find out if they absorb other fees associated with your case, such as legal filing fees, postage, copy fees, or expenses to obtain documents or records.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer should be a priority if you or someone you love recently suffered injuries in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence. The attorney you decide to hire can make or break your claim; therefore, it’s essential to hire an experienced attorney who genuinely cares about your case and gets you the compensation you deserve.
Most Denver personal injury law firms offer free consultations. Schedule a consultation and ask many questions before you decide to hire them, so they can answer your questions and provide more information about their services.