After getting involved in a Tampa car accident, there are some questions that you absolutely need to ask a lawyer to ensure you protect your rights. You should start researching lawyers in your area to find one with a proven track record, and that can help you handle your claim successfully. By asking these crucial questions, you and your Tampa car accident attorney can be on the same page about what to expect from each other and maintain clear lines of communication throughout the claims process.
Getting Sound Legal Advice Is Vital After a Car Accident
If you were injured in a Tampa car accident, you probably have a plethora of questions, and some of them might be best suited to get answers from a professional who has the knowledge and experience to give you a tailored answer, depending on your case circumstances.
The aftermath of a car accident can be an overwhelming and stressful period; you may have to deal with insurance companies while you’re injured, missing work, and have medical bills piling up. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the insurance company will use tactics to try and undercut you and pay you as little as possible.
You may have different adjusters contacting you – one from the at-fault party and one or two from your own insurance company. The adjusters from your own insurance may want to discuss property damage and PIP benefits.
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and unsure about who you actually are obligated to speak to. They may bombard you with questions, which is the last thing you want to deal with while you’re injured, out of work, and emotionally drained from the accident.
As this is a very difficult time, you will have a lot of questions and probably want the guidance of a lawyer who has experience in successfully handling car accident claims. Insurance companies may appear to be offering help, but in reality, they usually have ulterior motives. As such, the time after a car accident is a critical period for laying a strong foundation for your case, and you’ll want a skilled attorney to help you navigate this process. This will increase your odds of getting maximum compensation for all of the damages and losses you suffered.
A final note – having a good lawyer can spell the difference between the success or failure of your case. That’s why you need to ask them some essential questions before working with them and make sure that your expectations are clear and realistic. Here are some questions we suggest asking a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer before hiring them.
What Legal Areas of Practice Do You Specialize In?
Florida has over 16,980 law firms that practice personal injury. While a diverse, multi-faceted lawyer is good in some situations, when it comes to Tampa personal injury attorneys, you want the best of the best handling your case. With so many to choose from, you need to make sure you find the right attorney who specializes and is an expert in handling car accident claims.
Every personal injury lawyer will have their own areas of specialty, from medical malpractice to workplace injuries or car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. And they will have varying degrees of success depending on their years of experience and skill level.
Navigating and assessing the value of a personal injury claim effectively and efficiently shares skills that a lawyer gains over time, with experience in actually handling these specific cases. From intake through trial, seasoned attorneys know the best strategies for every step of the personal injury claims process.
So, if you are injured from a Tampa car accident, what you need is a personal injury lawyer who understands the ins and outs of car accidents and the claims process. They also know the importance of investigating the accident, enlisting the help of other experts, gathering evidence, and tactics for advantageously negotiating with insurance companies.
Have You Successfully Handled Cases Like Mine, and How Many Have You Taken to Trial?
You should ask your attorney how many cases they have successfully handled and how many cases they have pursued in trial.
Most personal injury claims get settled out of court. In fact, only about 3% of personal injury claims involving car accidents make it to trial. That’s because there are some advantages to accepting a settlement offer out of court, such as saving time and resources.
Some attorneys prefer to settle as quickly as possible and work on a “client volume” philosophy rather than a “client satisfaction” standard. Unfortunately, these attorneys are looking to cut corners by saving time and money by settling cases quickly to avoid taking a case to trial. But a great lawyer will take the time to really understand our case and advise you on what’s best for your unique situation, which could mean going to court to fight for fair compensation.
While a settlement is good for some injury victims, it’s not always necessary. A good attorney can advise you on the best court of action to get the amount you truly deserve. Insurance companies may offer exceptionally low settlement offers if they see an injury victim working with an attorney who has a reputation for settling cases and avoiding trials.
To avoid this, you need to lay the groundwork for a strong case and maximize your chance of winning a full and fair compensation – by hiring experienced and skilled Tampa car accident lawyers. They will not let you settle for less than what you deserve and reject offers that don’t do you justice. They will also be prepared to go to court if that’s what is necessary to get you the full amount you are entitled to.
What Is Your Record of Past Verdicts and Settlements?
While the past verdicts and settlements are not an exact formula to predict the odds of your case outcome, they can serve as a good reference to see the attorney’s ability to negotiate and willingness to go to trial when it’s warranted.
You should also ask for the dates of the previous trials and settlements to see how active they are in the courtroom and how recently they’ve had to handle pre-trial negotiations. An attorney who is hesitant to share their courtroom track record could be a red flag.
Do You Have Good Standing and a Strong Presence in the Local and Legal Community?
An attorney who is actively involved in legal organizations and helps show someone who is devoted to their profession beyond just working cases. Civic participation is a good sign that the lawyer makes an effort to not only stay up to date with effective trial strategies and the latest legal techniques but also displays their dedication to service.
If your attorney is an active bar member and involved in trial lawyer associations, or won a significant amount of awards and accolades, these are good signs that you have a skilled attorney handling your case.
Will You Be Working Directly on My Case?
Perhaps you see a renowned Tampa Personal Injury lawyer that you expect will be taking on your case and handling it personally. You may have an initial consultation with them but later find yourself disappointed because you aren’t dealing with them directly throughout the legal process.
This is a common occurrence, especially with larger firms that have a large team of attorneys and handle a high volume of cases. The managing attorney may assign paralegals or associates to work on your case, but ultimately, they are responsible for handling your case.
What Is Your Current Caseload and Can You Afford to Give My Case the Dedication It Requires?
When you’re looking for a lawyer, it’s only fair that you expect one who can give you the dedication and attention you deserve. As such, it’s okay to ask about their current caseload and if they can honestly give your case the commitment to win you the best possible outcome.
And a firm that bites off more than it can chew is unable to give your case the attention you need and deserve. Personal injury claims are not something to be taken lightly, and a good attorney will have the compassion and professionalism to give you the tailored and undivided attention you deserve.
Another question you can ask is how soon they will start working on your case. If they get to work on your case right away, they might be too busy to handle your claim with proper resolve.
Is There Anything You Expect From Me as a Client?
While your attorney’s job is to handle the legal proceedings for you, you may still be expected to participate to some degree. It’s best to discuss this with your lawyer upfront, so you both have a clear agreement and understanding of your preferences and what your responsibilities or roles may be as the client.
Is It Possible for Me to Speak With Any of Your Past Clients Who Have Had Cases Similar to My Own?
With Google Reviews and website testimonials, it’s easy to get insight into past clients’ experiences. However, speaking directly with a past client who has worked with this attorney can give invaluable insight into the actual experience of working with them. Perhaps a friend, family member, or business associate referred you to this lawyer. If so, ask them about their personal experience in dealing with this attorney.
They may be able to give you an idea of the attorney’s responsiveness, ease of communication with the attorney and other associates working on the case, and how communicative the attorney was with them during the case process.
How Much Is My Claim Value Worth?
Tampa car accident attorneys have experience with so many different cases. This is what gives them the skill of assessing and evaluating the value of a claim. They have handled numerous cases and had to review tedious details and facts of a case in order to find all the details and information that can help determine an estimate of a claim’s value. They may also be able to use their past similar cases as a reference to give you an estimate of your claim value.
How Much Is Your Fee?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a very unique payment structure called a contingency fee. What that means is that they only get paid if you win, usually by earning a percentage of your settlement. You will start by having a written retainer agreement that clearly states that the attorney will work for you, and you agree on the percentage amount to be paid to your attorney.
You can also negotiate a percentage with your attorney, but they work arduously to get the most money possible, so it’s only fair to give them a justified percentage of your award. The average percentage a personal injury lawyer takes from the recovery is about 33%, but it can be more depending on the case circumstances.
Make sure you read through all of the fine print and fully understand the agreement before you sign anything. Your attorney has a right to include disbursements and any fees advanced by them as pursuable and recoverable expenses, regardless of the outcome of your case. So, in other words, if you lose the case, you could still be on the hook for paying your attorney disbursements for court expenses, deposition costs, and other fees they incurred while handling your case.
Do You Have the Resources to Successfully Handle My Case?
Your attorney will need to cover some expenses upfront in order to take on your personal injury case. It’s fair and completely appropriate to ask them if they have the financial resources that are needed to see your case through. The expenses associated with handling a personal injury claim can be as high as 5% of the entire recovery amount that the victim would ultimately receive.
If you choose an attorney who lacks adequate resources or connections to advance any expenses that come up, they will have limited potential to wage on your behalf. In the end, this will negatively impact your compensation amount.
What Are My Odds of Settling Out of Court?
Insurance companies are notorious for starting with a hit below the belt. They offer lowball settlement offers and hope that the injured party will simply take the money. But an attorney can give you trusted counsel on whether it’s really a good offer or not (and most of the time, it’s not good enough).
Your lawyer can help you account for all the damages you incurred from the accident so you don’t fall into a trap that insurance companies use to minimize their own liabilities.
What’s the Average Timeline It Takes to Resolve a Car Accident Claim?
It varies depending on your case. You’ll need to take into consideration how complex your situation is and ask questions like:
- How bad are my injuries?
- How many parties were involved in the accident?
- Do you need to go to court, or can you reach a satisfactory agreement with the insurance company?
- How operate and willing are the opposing parties to reach a settlement?
What Separates You From Other Lawyers?
Asking this is important since there are so many Tampa personal injury lawyers to choose from. They should have a great answer as to why you are better than the rest or at least why you should work with them.
If you can, inquire about techniques and strategies they use to handle cases and see if their values are aligned with yours. They should have the expertise to show for by way of having a successful track record. You can also tell if an attorney is worth hiring if they are able to plan proactively and be adaptable. Most importantly, your attorney should be compassionate and devoted to fighting for your rights. Transparency and trust are also key.
Get all of this information from the get-go so you know if this attorney is the right fit for you.
Contact a Skilled Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Today
Choosing the right attorney who can really commit wholeheartedly and fight tenaciously for your rights is not a walk in the park. You need to do research and your fair share of due diligence.
Ask an attorney these questions and any other ones you may have to make sure you make the right decision on such a salient matter. This will ensure you get all the necessary information and crucial details to make sure it’s a good decision to proceed with this attorney.
Call us today to schedule your free initial consultation, and we will happily answer all of your questions.