Choosing a car accident lawyer
Let’s say you are driving. You stop your car when you come across a red light. To pass the time, you start thinking about the task you want to accomplish by the end of the day anyhow, and then BAM! You hear that sound and when you tried to move forward and backward, you realized that someone has hit your car badly.
And, right at that very moment, all your big plans for the day will flush down into the gutter. You will spend your whole day waiting for the police to come in order to take down the information, you will be trying to find out to what needs to happen next, you will need to cancel all plans you had set in the morning because all you concentrate on is examining how badly you got hurt.
Moreover, if you are facing any kind of serious injuries from a car accident, you will definitely need to consult with a personal injury lawyer. It is highly recommended to do so. You should not think of hiring a lawyer just for help; instead of that, you should look for someone who is highly experienced in handling exactly your type of cases – and who you can trust.
And, if you are like all other people, you might have no idea what steps you should take when you are involved in a car accident. There is a high possibility that your friends and family members will advise you to talk with an experienced lawyer. But, as happens to most of us, you probably wouldn’t know how to choose the right lawyer to handle your case?
How to find the best lawyer for a car accident in Toronto?
So, how will you start looking for a right lawyer for yourself? Although, it seems to be a complicated task, it is really not a rocket science or an impossibly complicated process.
There are lots of ways to find a personal injury lawyer in Toronto. Once you get enough candidates, don’t forget to make a comparison. Create a list of all those lawyers you picked and meet with them individually. Discuss your case before making your mind to hire somebody. And don’t take them for granted. It might be possible that after hearing details of your case, they will reject to fight for you.
Have a word with your family, friends or colleagues who have been in touch with a personal injury lawyer. If they say that they have had a good experience of working with a lawyer, put the name of that lawyer into your list. But, don’t make compulsive decisions about hiring a lawyer on the basis of other recommendations. Different people will come up with different suggestions; don’t just decide to hire the recommended lawyer until you have met him/her in person. Disclose each and everything about your case and decide, whether or not you are comfortable working with him/her.
Before making up your mind, don’t forget to ask the following questions:
- Were your overall experience working with this lawyer good or bad?
- Did the lawyer seem passionate about his/her work?
- Was he/she keeping you informed on a daily basis?
- Did the lawyer provide you with up-to-date information?
- Did he/she respond your calls and emails in a timely fashion?
If you find that any answer of the above questions is not up to par, it is highly advised that you look for somebody else.
Another place to seek for an opportunity to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer is by getting in touch with other lawyers you know. Lawyers generally refer their cases to each other, and most of lawyers know who else can handle personal injury cases with the best outcome.
Most of local associations provide referral services which contain names of the lawyers, arranged by legal speciality. Most of referral services do carefully monitor their lawyers and include names of only those lawyers who are good at one or more types of cases and have solid experience in their area of expertise, e.g. some referral services list lawyers who are good in dealing with insurance companies. Before you take help of any referral service, don’t forget to ask about their qualifications and how thoroughly they screen their lawyers.
Choose only the best for you
In order to find out whether the lawyer you are thinking to hire is right for you or not, arrange a consultation with him/her to discuss your case and every possible ways to deal with it. Keep all your copies of all your documents with you, such as income loss information, medicals records and bills, police report, and papers signed with the insurance company. Majority of lawyers don’t charge anything for an initial consultation. But, it’s not the same with everyone. Before you fix your first meeting, find out whether or not the lawyer will be charging anything for it. If he/she charges a fee to discuss your discuss, you can try to go see somebody else.
What to look for in a good lawyer
Once you have found some candidates for hiring, don’t forget to review the credentials of the lawyers. You will be able to find all information on their websites or websites of their company. Take your time researching their profiles, success stories, settlements and court decisions, as well as designations, memberships, honors and other credentials.
See, the mantra is very simple. If you think that hiring an experienced lawyer would be the best option for handling your case, then make sure to consider the following:
- Significant experience – Before hiring, you need to ask the attorney whether he/she has handled any cases of the same type as yours ever before? Does she need any trial or will ask for a settlement directly? It is generally known that most of cases are being settled. However, at the other hand, there are a lot of cases which end up in the court. You need to look for a lawyer who is known among the audience as the one who is able to succeed with different cases, even with the hardest ones.
- Credentials – Although, it is quite important that you hold good relationships with your lawyer, you should keep in mind that you are not hiring him/her to become your friend. You are hiring a personal injury attorney to handle your car accident case, get you decent compensation and medical treatment. You need to make sure that you get in touch with a lawyer who has a proven record of success. Look for credentials such as peer ratings from other attorneys, board certifications, and other legal awards he/she has been awarded. It is your right to look for and hire the best lawyer who is highly experienced in his/her own field. Simply getting the license of a lawyer to practice does not mean that a lawyer has enough experience to handle any type of cases properly.
- Money to finance your case – Majority of people don’t think of it while hiring a lawyer. However, a car accident case can be quite expensive. You need to make sure that your lawyer can easily handle your case from the starting point to the finish line and that finance side does not make any kind of impact on his decisions. Hiring an experienced lawyer and taking deposition are expensive. Make sure you hire a lawyer who can easily afford to do this. So, how would you do this? Well, it’s very simple. Just look around at his office. Does he reside in a good building, has proper staff, good location and sufficient space? If a lawyer can’t afford all these things, then there is a high possibility that he won’t be able to financially afford you case. Choosing a lawyer who can’t afford your case simply means compromising your claims to the opposite party’s benefits.
- The passion to handle your case – Undoubtedly, there are millions of lawyers to choose from. However, you need a lawyer who will fight for your case, paying most attention to your compensation and recovery, rather than thinking about huge amounts of money in his bank account first. Many lawyers will be telling you exactly what you want to hear from them in order to get your case. But, as they open a file with your case and find out that your injuries are not severe, or if there is lack of insurance coverage, they may start losing their interest to you and your case as well. Obviously, no one wants to work with a lawyer of such kind.
- Attitude to communication – Always keep in mind that you are striving hard to find a lawyer for your case, not a paralegal. Make sure that the lawyer you are hiring will be answering your calls, reverting back to your emails and responding to your queries. Don’t forget to ask the lawyer’s policy in this regard. For example, many attorneys tell their clients that they will answer all their calls and emails within 48 hours. They have a daily appointment schedule, either through a phone call or face to face, every six weeks. If they understand your needs and what’s going on in your life, they will be able to make sure that you will get the desired results you want to get. Also, if you know what the current status of your case is, it will help you to plan accordingly, pass the difficult time in your life and let you concentrate on your recovery.
Inquiring about lawyer’s general experience
After discussing each and everything moment regarding your case, there are few things you still need to consider or ask lawyer about:
- How long he/she has been having practice for?
- What is the percentage of personal injury cases he/she has won during his/her practice
- Does he/she represent defendants or plaintiffs? You don’t want to get represented by someone who is highly experienced in personal injury cases, but has been working mostly as a lawyer for defendants.
- WWill he/she be handling your case themselves or will pass it to another, less experienced lawyer working in the same office or company? It’s quite a normal practice that more than one lawyer work on the same case in the office, having less experienced lawyers to carry out daily tasks. Find out which lawyer will take the complete responsibility of your case. If there is any other lawyer that will be involved in your case, try to meet that lawyer as well to find out about his/her professional qualities and abilities.
Setting your goals
After discussing your case and getting results from negotiations with the insurance company, you can ask your lawyer about his/her expectations in regards to how much he/she thinks your case approximately worth and how difficult it will be to make the insurance company paying back the compensation.
You should let your lawyer know about the things you are expecting him/her to do for you, for example:
- Get as much compensation amount as they possibly can, instead of the amount offered by the insurance company
- Get a settlement for you as soon as possible, without too much hassle
- Get the highest compensation amount possible, no matter how much time it may take
If you are completely comfortable with experience and expertise of your lawyer and feel good about his/her ideas of how to deal with your case, chances are that you have hired a very good lawyer you can work with, who will be able to get a fair compensation successfully.