With the help of personal injury lawyers, victims of car accidents can be compensated for pain and suffering, as well as other damages that were caused by the crash. Also, experienced lawyers can get you the money needed to cover medical expenses and lost wages.
However, finding a good lawyer can be complicated for those who may not know any better and fall victim to some common hiring mistakes. Are you looking for personal injury lawyers in the San Jose area to take on your car accident case? If so, be sure to avoid these six common mistakes.
1. Not Doing Thorough Research
For a long time, people have used word-of-mouth referrals to find lawyers for specific needs. This method is still a good option. However, today’s technology has made it easier to research personal injury lawyers.
When you want to know more about attorneys and their law firms, an internet search can provide great information, including:
- Client reviews: Google Reviews, Yelp, and Super Lawyers
- Reputation: Avvo and Martindale-Hubbel
- Licensed to practice: State Bar of California
Too often, people believe attorneys can handle any case. This notion is a huge misconception. Choosing the right attorney is also knowing what is a personal injury lawyer.
Like the medical field, the legal field has many people who specialize in a specific area. Do your research to ensure the personal injury lawyer is the right attorney for your case.
2. Failing to Interview Multiple Personal Injury Lawyers
It’s easy to get sidetracked by the aesthetics of a well-designed website. Specific colors give the illusion of power and success. Images that may not be the actual attorneys or clients show the positive client and attorney relationships.
The best way to know if the people in the images are the real attorneys and actual clients is to meet with the attorneys. Like with any other decision, you should interview multiple prospects. Ask the personal injury lawyer questions, such as:
- How long have you been a personal injury attorney?
- What is your success rate?
- What is the largest settlement you’ve won?
- Where did you earn your degree?
- Do you have investigators, paralegals, and other personnel to assist with my case?
These are just some examples to ask. Choose other questions specific to your circumstances when looking for an attorney to handle a personal injury case resulting from a car accident. You don’t want to get blindsided after you hire the attorney.
3. Hiring a Lawyer Who Doesn’t Have the Right Experience for Your Type of Case
If you’ve seen enough news about car accidents, you know there’s a big difference between a fender bender and a car accident involving a drunk driver or wrong-way driver. Each accident has various nuances. You want a personal injury lawyer experienced in handling your specific needs.
You’re involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist. There is no insurance company to go after. Some attorneys may not want to take on this type of case.
You want someone experienced in getting your carrier to pay for your damages. Or the other party has financial assets you can legally go after to satisfy your financial losses.
Unfortunately, car accidents often end in a loss of life. It doesn’t matter if you’re the driver at fault or not. If you’re in an accident where someone dies, you want a personal injury lawyer with a proven track record in defending drivers involved in these types of cases.
4. Selecting an Attorney Who Is Not Licensed in the State of the Accident
If you reside in Florida and get into an accident in California, can a Florida attorney represent you in that case? Unless that attorney is licensed in California, they might not be able to handle your case.
There are instances where an attorney can get added to a case via pro hac vice. Why go through the trouble when you can hire an attorney licensed in the state where the accident occurred? For accidents in California, you need a personal injury lawyer who knows California laws and procedures and has a dedicated team of investigators.
5. Not Discussing Fees Before Signing a Contract
You will hear that personal injury lawyers don’t collect any money unless they win the case. However, what happens after they do win a settlement? Don’t get blindsided with extra charges after resolving your case.
Ask the personal injury lawyers if there is a retainer fee or what percentage of your settlement goes to them. You also want to know if there is a cap on fees. Some attorneys may charge incidental fees, including:
- court filing fees
- administrative fees
- process servers
- deposition costs
- medical records
- postage and mailing
- expert witnesses
6. Thinking that You Don’t Need Help From Personal Injury Lawyers
Victims of car accidents who did nothing wrong can lose their personal injury case. This is because insurance companies want to avoid paying for damages, even when their policyholder was negligent in the accident.
Most personal injury cases never make it to court because a skilled attorney has negotiated a settlement. A skilled and qualified personal injury lawyer will be able to build a strong case for victims and aggressively negotiate why compensation is owed.
You Deserve Compensation for Your Injuries
Personal injury lawyers know what it takes to get a fair settlement for their clients. Without one, you may not get the compensation needed to receive the best care for yourself and your passengers.
Don’t be naive. The insurance companies do not have your best interest at heart. If you get injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, you need an attorney specializing in personal injury cases.
Our San Jose car accident lawyers at Valley Accident Attorneys are ready to fight for your legal rights. Contact us today for your free consultation.