What to Look For In a Car Accident Lawyer
The particular combination of qualities that will be most important to you in selecting a car accident lawyer is something only you can decide. In making your decision, you may wish to consider the following:
- Competence: Does the lawyer have an in-depth knowledge of this area of law? Does the lawyer have a general practice or concentrate in the specific practice area of personal injury law? How long has the lawyer been handling these types of cases? What is the lawyer’s reputation? What do former clients have to say about their experience in online reviews? What results has the lawyer achieved in the cases handled?
- Professionalism and “the human factor”: When you call or visit the lawyer, how are you treated? Are you listened to? Are you treated with the compassion, dignity and respect to which you are entitled?
The right balance of these qualities is critically important. Competence is important because you want the best possible case result. Professionalism and “the human factor” are important because cases may take a fair amount of time, you will have a working relationship with the lawyer and the firm’s staff and getting along well should be a given, not something to struggle for. Moreover, as you are recovering from your injuries, attending treatment and rebuilding your life, your lawyer should be alleviating you of stress, not adding stress to your life just by the manner of interaction you have with the lawyer and his or her staff.
Car accidents happen every day. That is an unfortunate truth of our daily commute and other driving activity. The frequency of car accidents is due to the sheer number of cars on the road, the design and condition of the roadways, congestion and traffic, and issues surrounding driver skill and driver distraction. No matter what the contributing factors were, if you have been injured in a car accident, understand that the lawyer you choose ultimately affects your recovery. To put it simply, choosing the right lawyer can help you to maximize your claim and smooth the path to your post-accident recovery overall.
Do I Need an Attorney?
For someone who has suffered a serious or catastrophic injury, it is our opinion that the answer is a most definite yes. A knowledgeable, experienced and dedicated personal injury lawyer can make a tremendous difference in the how the case is handled and, in turn, the ultimate outcome. The outcome of the case may make a tremendous difference in the accident-injury victim’s quality of life for the rest of their life. Treating this as a casual matter, a “do it yourself” project to learn “on the fly”, could have disastrous consequences that literally could make a terrible situation even worse.
Let’s take a look at pre-litigation and post-litigation scenarios.
In a pre-litigation scenario, a claim for personal injuries is filed directly through the insurance company. The insurance company assigns the claim a claim number and a claim handler. The claim handler is a trained and experienced representative of the insurance company who has one job: to evaluate the claim and seek the lowest possible settlement for the insurer.
An attorney is critical here. If you were to handle your claim alone, you might omit information that could strengthen your case or think that the first offer was the last offer. Not infrequently, the initial offers from the insurance company represent only a fraction of what the claim is actually worth. A skilled attorney can speak to the insurance claims representative on your behalf, prepare a package that explains and outlines the medical records that support your claim, argue the issues of fault and comparative liability on your behalf and work and press to obtain a settlement that is favorable to you.
If negotiating with the insurance company does not result in a favorable settlement, filing a lawsuit may be necessary. Lawsuits in New York can be very complicated, beginning with the Statute of Limitations. This statute, which varies depending upon the type of claim filed, requires that personal injury claims be filed in the courts in a timely manner. Failure to file the lawsuit within this strict time period will result in the claim being time barred. Attorneys at Friedman & Simon are familiar with the Statute of Limitations and can assist you with filing and serving the Summons and Complaint, the documents that initiate a law suit, within the required time period.
After the complaint is filed, the insurer will assign the lawsuit to a defense attorney. This attorney is hired to defend the lawsuit and minimize the ultimate payout on the claim. Then, the lawsuit goes through specific stages. Each step in the litigation process is important and must be addressed with accuracy and precision with respect to legal requirements and case strategy. We believe that every step in a litigation must be viewed from the perspective that we are preparing to win the case at trial. By being ready to win at trial we will be in the strongest position to potentially settle the case favorably without trial.
Given the complexities of both the claim and litigation processes, we believe, as stated above, that accident injury victims are best served by retaining the services of an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer.
Contact Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. Today
If you or someone you know has been hurt in a car accident, speak to one of our personal injury attorneys today. Our attorneys are available and can answer your questions and provide a free initial case consultation without any obligation on your part. The court system is complicated. You need to focus on medical treatment for your accident-injuries and rebuilding your life. Let an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer represent you, advocate on your behalf and work to get you the best possible money recovery. Call now to discuss your claim at 516 932 0400.