It’s sad to report that deadly crashes are increasing in Texas year-on-year. In 2021, 4,480 people died on Texas roads, over 500 more than the total number who died during the previous year. In addition, Houston, Texas, has seen an increase in car accidents of 14% in the same period.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Houston, Texas, or another part of the state, you need to focus on your recovery. At the same time, a car accident lawyer can help you to pursue the compensation you require.
Meeting a lawyer for the first time can be overwhelming, especially when you’ve been through a traumatic experience. But rest assured that they’re here to help and want to hear your story. Let’s explore some questions to ask a car accident lawyer to help you prepare for your first meeting.
Do You Offer a Free Case Evaluation?
Talking to more than one law firm before making your final decision is always a good idea. A free case evaluation is an important starting point for the lawyer and the client.
First, it allows the attorney to talk to you about your car accident. Tell them in detail about what occurred, and bring copies of evidence such as police reports and photographs. Also, provide them with medical bills and records related to the accident.
The personal injury lawyer will briefly review these. Their goal is to evaluate your case and decide whether it is likely to be successful. If they feel you have a strong case, they may agree to take it on and act as your legal counsel.
Additionally, the case evaluation gives you an opportunity to meet the attorney and see how comfortable you feel with them. It also provides a chance to ask further questions, to help you decide if they’re the right fit for you or not.
Have You Handled This Type of Case Before?
Not all personal injury lawyers focus on car accidents. They may work in other areas of the law and have limited experience with car accident claims. You want a lawyer on your side who has handled and succeeded with similar cases.
Don’t be afraid to ask them about their experience. A qualified and experienced lawyer will be happy to talk to you about their past victories. You can also read testimonials on their website from satisfied customers.
Car accident lawyers understand state laws regarding liability in auto accidents. They understand the evidence they need to gather to prove the other party was at fault.
Texas is an “at-fault” state in terms of car accident claims. This means that there may be several legal options open to you. An experienced Texas car accident attorney will be able to talk you through which route is best in your case.
Is There a Time Limit for Car Accident Claims?
One of the first questions an attorney will ask you is how long ago the accident happened. In many cases, the statute of limitations in Texas is two years from the date of the crash.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you’ve got nothing to lose by scheduling a case evaluation. But don’t wait too long. If you do, you may find you can’t pursue your claim, even if you have strong grounds.
How Much Is My Claim Worth?
This is the million-dollar question. No attorney on earth can give you a definite answer right away. Every case is unique, and the final settlement will depend on a number of factors.
However, this does not mean that a personal injury lawyer can’t provide you with an estimate. This is just a ballpark figure, and you should not take it as a guarantee. But based on their past experience of similar cases, they may mention a figure to give you an idea of the value of the claim.
This figure can be helpful when comparing car accident lawyers. If one lawyer gives you an estimated figure that is much higher than their competitors, this may be a red flag. Reputable lawyers will give you an honest assessment and will not try to secure your business with inflated estimates.
What Can I Pursue Compensation For?
In personal injury cases, you can pursue compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the costs you have incurred due to the accident. They could include:
- Totaled vehicles
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses, if you suffered severe injuries
- Lost future earning potential/business opportunities
Your lawyer will examine your medical bills, payslips, and other relevant documentation. They will use this to estimate the economic impact of the car accident.
Your personal injury lawyer will also talk to you about non-economic damages. This may include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment in life
Your lawyer will also estimate a settlement figure for non-economic damages. Armed with these estimates, they will go to the negotiating table, usually with the other party’s insurance company.
Many car accident claims can be settled out of court. Attorneys on both sides will negotiate until they reach an acceptable settlement figure.
What Problems Do You Anticipate?
Every car accident claim will hit a few bumps in the road. This does not necessarily mean that your claim will not be successful, and it doesn’t mean that you’ve hired the wrong lawyer. Experienced lawyers are able to anticipate the challenges that lie ahead, and they’ll be open about them.
If the lawyer can’t think of any potential problems, you should be concerned. This either means that they haven’t understood your case very well or they lack experience with this kind of claim.
How Long Will the Case Take?
Cases vary in length and depend on their complexity and how severe the injuries were. Insurance companies usually do not want to settle claims until the injured party has completed their treatment.
It is usually possible to conclude a settlement case within a matter of months. But if it’s necessary to file a lawsuit, this can take much longer. Even if the case doesn’t go to trial, it may still take years to settle.
Do You Have Trial Experience?
Although many car accident cases can be settled at the negotiating table, some do go to trial. A lawyer needs a different set of skills to confidently handle cases in the courtroom.
Don’t be afraid to ask the lawyer you are interviewing about their previous courtroom experience. Ask them about their success rate. The right lawyer for your case is one with a great track record that you feel confident can represent your interests well at a trial.
What Are Your Fee Arrangements?
A personal injury lawyer should not ask you to pay upfront. Instead, they should work on a contingency basis. This means that they deduct their fees from your settlement.
This is also known as a no-win/no-fee arrangement. You only pay the lawyer if they are successful. However, even in this case, you still need to ask for further details.
Ask your lawyer:
- What percentage will you deduct from my final settlement?
- Are there any other fees or payments to pay at the end?
Choose a lawyer with transparent fee arrangements. Never sign a contract unless you are completely happy with the terms.
Who Will Actually Work on My Case?
During your case evaluation, you will meet with a personal injury attorney who will assess your case. Normally, they will be your legal counsel for the duration. However, that doesn’t mean that they will necessarily do all the work.
Law firms employ a team of professionals to work on cases. This includes attorneys, paralegals, and secretaries.
You can ask your attorney about their qualifications and experience. This will help you feel confident that you have the best legal representation working for you.
O’Hara Law Firm – Your Car Accident Lawyer
A car accident lawyer can help you by fighting tenaciously for your rights. They’ll diligently sort through the evidence to try to prove liability and negotiate hard to achieve a fair settlement for you.
At O’Hara Law Firm, we have a proven track record of delivering results for clients who have suffered severe injuries in car accidents. We want to hear your story and see if we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Don’t wonder whether you have a case. Click here to learn more about car accident claims and to schedule a free case consultation today!