If you have been injured in a car accident, it is extremely important that you have experienced representation, particularly when your injuries are severe.
You deserve fair compensation when your accident was caused by the negligence of another, and you are left dealing with injuries received through no fault of your own.
If you are searching for a Colorado Springs car accident lawyer, here are 10 questions to ask your car accident lawyer, in order to determine whether they are a good “fit” for your particular case.
These questions include:
- How do you charge/what is your contingency fee? Most auto accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means if your case is not successful, your attorney receives no money. It is important to know how attorneys charge for their time.
- Will I be responsible for court costs and fees? Even if you sign a contingency agreement with your attorney, you may be responsible for court costs and certain other fees. In some cases you will be responsible for investigation costs as well. Make sure you have all the financial details up front so you are prepared for the costs.
- Do I have a good case? This is probably the first question you will discuss with your attorney. Your attorney, on your behalf, must prove negligence on the part of the person who injured you. That person must have breached his or her duty by neglecting to act in a manner another reasonable person would have done. If this burden of proof cannot be met, it is unlikely your case will be successful.
- Who are the Defendants in my case? You may be focused on the person who was driving the other car, and whose negligence resulted in your accident. An experienced attorney can determine whether that person has sufficient insurance or assets to fully cover your losses. There may be other defendants your attorney can add to the lawsuit, including the driver’s employers, the manufacturer of either car or car part, or the entity which designed the road (if that design is flawed).
- How long will I have to engage in litigation to recoup my losses? Every state has statutes of limitations which can be from two years to ten years. The majority of the statutes are two years, however it is important to discuss these time constraints with your attorney.
- What are my damages? In most cases medical expenses are recoverable damages. Other damages you may be entitled to—depending on the circumstances surrounding your case—include lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional trauma and, in some cases, punitive damages.
- Do you have sufficient time to devote to my case? If you call the attorney “everybody” is going to, remember that he or she may be so booked up that there is simply not enough time to give your case the attention it deserves.
- Will my case go to trial or will it settle? Your attorney may not be able to definitively answer this question, however the vast majority of personal injury cases settle before they reach the trial phase. “Settling” a personal injury case occurs when the insurance company makes you an offer, and you—on the advice of your attorney—agree to that offer. If you go to trial, the outcome of your case is, of course, dependent upon the jury, therefore in many cases it is better to settle your case for a reasonable amount rather than risk going to trial.
- How long will my case take? It often takes a considerable amount of time for a case to actually go to trial—yet another reason many cases settle. If you need money immediately, settling for a reasonable amount could be your best option.
- What is my participation in my case? You will want to discuss with the attorney what his or her expectations are as far as your participation. Will you get regular updates? Will you be expected to attend multiple meetings with your attorney, or can updates be handled via telephone, e-mail, etc.? These are important questions in today’s busy world.
Knowing the right questions to ask your car accident lawyer will help ensure you find an experienced professional who will put your needs first and foremost, and will help you be properly prepared for the next steps of the process.