Retaining the services of a car accident attorney is the best way to file any claim and hold liable parties accountable. You likely have several potential attorneys from which to choose, so it is important to make sure that you retain the right one for your car accident case.
You should ask the attorney a lot of questions and carefully weigh the answers before agreeing to retain their services. The following are some important questions to ask a prospective attorney.
What Is the Legal Fee?
Before you even agree to an initial consultation, you should know the potential fee(s). Most personal injury consultations are free of charge, so you should take advantage and at least meet with a prospective attorney.
Typically, personal injury lawyers have contingency fees based on the amount of settlement or judgement. Many attorneys generally charge between 30 and 33 percent of any settlement. If the matter requires a court filing, the fee often increases to about 40 percent to reflect the cost of the additional legal work required in the matter.
What Should I Bring to an Initial Consultation?
You should ask about what kinds of information an attorney wants you to bring to an initial consultation to help determine whether or not you have a case. A copy of a police report, if available, is a good idea, as well as any medical bills, discharge papers from an emergency room, and record of a medical diagnosis.
Photos of your vehicle, repair estimates, and evidence of lost income can also help illustrate potential damages and which driver likely caused the accident. You would want to bring the contact and insurance information of the other motorist as well. If you have witnesses, providing their names and contact information could also help.
Do I Have a Case?
You need to know if an attorney believes in your case. A prospective attorney should give you honest answers about the strengths and weaknesses of your case and how it might be handled, in and out of court. The attorney should be able to explain what works in your favor and what might be done to strengthen any weak aspects.
What Damages Might Apply?
You cannot win a settlement without suffering losses. The most obvious being the damage done to your vehicle and any medical costs you incurred due to your injuries.
Other damages might include lost income due to an inability to work while healing. Pain and suffering and other non-monetary losses are possible in some cases. Your car accident attorney can help you identify all valid claims.
How Can I Help Provide Evidence in My Favor?
Your attorney should advise you on what types of evidence that you might be able to provide that will help prove your claim. For example, if you suffered a painful injury from a car accident, your attorney might suggest that you keep a journal and detail the amount of pain and how it affects your daily life. This will show how your life has changed because of your car accident injury.
Providing your attorney with contact information of any witnesses could also help, as well as photos or videos of the accident. If your vehicle has a dashcam, its video footage might help too.
What if an Insurer Calls Me?
You are generally responsible for your medical bills while awaiting a potential claim payout. If you suffer from injuries that prevent you from working for a while, you might fall behind on your bills.
When you retain an attorney, insurers and opposing attorneys must communicate through your lawyer. They cannot call you after you provide them with your attorney’s contact information. Your attorney can contact them if necessary and likely gain their cooperation. Still, you should try your best to make reasonable payments. If you get a settlement, you would be reimbursed for any relevant payments.
How Should I Prepare for a Deposition?
Fault for the accident might be contested by the other driver or their insurer. If that happens, you might have to undergo a deposition with an opposing attorney. Even if the matter is not contested, the other vehicle’s insurer will likely want you to provide your side of the story.
Your car accident lawyer should help you prepare for a deposition by advising you on likely questions that will be asked and your responses. Meanwhile, your attorney should prepare to depose the other driver if that person is disputing fault for causing the accident.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
You should know the statute of limitations just in case you might need to file a personal injury lawsuit. In Ohio, the state allows up to two years to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages against all liable parties. As long as all potential defendants are known, you would have up to two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Your lawyer will make sure you meet all deadlines in a timely manner.
Loveland Car Accident Lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office Help Accident Survivors
You can get legal help from our Loveland car accident lawyers at the Wolterman Law Office. Call us at 513-488-1135 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about your options after a car accident. Located in Loveland, Ohio, we represent clients in Hamilton County, Fairfield, Norwood, and Forest Park.