Insurance company representatives are usually quick to help pay for your car’s damage and immediate medical bills.
But stop. Wait a second. Why are they so fast about it?
Insurance is a for-profit industry, and they maximize their profits by paying people like you as little as they can get away with. It’s very likely they owe you more than they are offering. And they are quick to make that low offer, because once you accept it, you can’t just go back later and let them know you’ve got more ongoing bills from your accident, even though you do. That’s their trick.
…So how does one get them to pay what they rightfully owe? How can you force them to make sure you and your family have the money you need to pay all those medical bills, not to mention the cost of damages to your car and lost wages from missing work?
Hire a personal injury attorney.
Now, of course, not all attorneys are created equal and hiring the best doesn’t cost you any money. In fact, the right accident attorney makes a world of difference to your personal injury case, because hiring the wrong attorney could put you a very bad situation.
If you’ve never had to choose a personal injury attorney before, it’s probably very confusing. There’s a lot of noise all around you, from radio to your close friends and family, all offering different advice.
Here’s our advice. If you want to know how to find the best injury lawyer for you and your family, read on…
Assess Your Own Situation
- Think about what hurts. You don’t have to say it out loud if you don’t want to, at least not at first. But you should really take an honest look and see whether you’ll be back to the doctor for more checkups because of this injury. Neck and spinal injuries are real sleepers — they get worse slowly over time. Head injuries are extremely serious.
- Always seek medical attention, even if you think you’re fine. Again, it’s hard to go back later and make a case when an insurance company or their lawyers can easily say, “You were fine earlier and accepted our first offer, so no, you can’t have more.”
- After you receive medical attention following your accident, that’s the time to call a personal injury lawyer.
What You Should Look For in an Attorney
This is extremely valuable experience. Some have the experience and some don’t. So don’t go to a law firm that can’t point to several years’ worth of trial victories and large settlements.
Their website is an easy way to tell. Lawyers that have such experience will post specific examples and testimonials on their website.
Not having any such trial experience on their website doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have any to speak of, but why risk it when so many lawyers do?
Go to review sites. Check the law firm out on Avvo and Yelp. Take a look at their Facebook page. What are their actual clients saying about them?
People complain about a lot of strange things, so look for patterns. Repeat complaints of long case duration, lack of transparency, etc. can indicate patterns to avoid. Similarly, they can indicate attributes you’re looking for, like personal attention, big settlements, efficient processes, and more.
Every single car accident is unique. Specific experience is a must. Many small law firms specialize in very specific types of accidents and injuries, like those involving bicycles or motorcycles. Larger firms will have a varied team with a wide range of particular specializations. Make sure you contact an attorney who can do what you yourself need done.
Most lawyers will offer a free consultation to discuss the details with you. During this consultation, you can ask about their process. If they can describe the specific actions they will take and why, then you can trust them. If they offer up things like “we’ll see” or “we like to just wing it,” then head for the door, pronto.
Every case has advantages and challenges. If a lawyer tells you “it’s in the bag” and offers no description of potential roadblocks, you may be dealing with a salesman and not an attorney.
Every law firm should also be able to make the financials very clear up front. The last thing you want after winning a settlement is surprises that cost you more than you thought you’d have to pay.
What You Should Avoid from an Attorney
No communication is not the same as bad communication. Bad communication is where you are led to believe one thing when the reality is something different. If you walk out of a meeting with an attorney and you don’t understand the next steps, there’s a likelihood of bad communication. Watch out.
If you ask a question and the attorney dodges it or declares that you’ll be informed later on, question the motives. Why any attorney should hide things from a client is a mystery.
If you have the feeling that the lawyer you’re talking to is out for his or her own personal gain and not after your best interests, you should trust that feeling and walk away.
When to Fire an Accident Attorney who’s Not Working Out
Prolonged Timeline with No Estimation of Completion
An organized process follows similar timelines every time, with minimal variation here and there. If your attorney can’t even give you a ballpark figure or at the very least describe the step of the process your case is in, it’s possible they don’t know and don’t want to admit it.
Failure to Properly Analyze the Case from the beginning
If your case has too many surprise challenges, and you find yourself answering questions that could have been asked from the onset, it’s conceivable your case was evaluated incorrectly. You would do well to speak to another personal injury attorney for another free case consultation to see what the differences are.
Poor Communication When Challenges Arise
If something comes up to cause an issue or when you need to provide something and you aren’t notified, that causes delays and makes things difficult for all parties involved.
If you’re in Southern California and you or a loved one have been in an accident, please call Kuzyk Law for your free case evaluation. We’ll talk you through our processes, ask you about your condition and the details of the accident, and we’ll describe all the various ways we might be able to help you. You can call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (661) 945-6969.