If you’ve been a victim of a car accident, you likely want to make sure you find the best auto attorney possible. However, there is no best auto attorney, as every case and lawyer is different. An attorney who successfully handles one claim may be unable to represent someone in another type of claim, which makes it essential to know what you should look for in an attorney.
Choosing an attorney after a car accident can be a complicated process. Learn how to find the best auto attorney near you and how Nessler & Associates can serve car accident victims in Illinois.
What Does an Attorney Do in a Car Accident Case?
Car accident attorneys handle the legal aspects of a car accident claim. This includes filing a personal injury claim, helping you receive compensation for damaged property, and working with insurance companies. This means that one attorney may serve in different roles in your case.
In most cases, you can expect your attorney to:
- Assist with filing legal paperwork
- Gather evidence for the case
- Argue who is at fault for the accident
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- Fight a denied insurance claim
- Help recover additional property damages
- Represent you in court if your case goes to trial
Regardless of how your attorney assists with your case, all car accident attorneys provide help navigating the legal system. Nessler & Associates can ensure all documents are filed on time, determine whether you have admissible evidence for your case, and argue for a fair settlement.
Should I Get an Attorney?
There are a few situations where you might be able to handle your claim without an attorney. If your claim is small, the other party is cooperative, and you have evidence of your damages, you might not need a lawyer. It’s even possible to successfully argue for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, on your own: you just need strong evidence of your damages.
However, if you don’t have the time or energy to learn how to argue your case, if the financial impact of your claim would be significant, or if the accident had a severe effect on you or a loved one, it’s best to get an attorney. For instance, if you or a loved one suffered a brain injury in the accident, an attorney can handle the case so that you or your loved one can focus on recovery.
You should also seek an attorney if any part of your case is unclear or contentious. Some examples include if it’s unclear who’s at fault if insurance states your medical treatment was unnecessary, or if you aren’t sure whether you have evidence of damages.
What to Look for in an Auto Attorney
The best auto attorney for your case will vary depending on what your case looks like. However, there are some qualities you want to look for in your attorney, regardless of your type of case.
Experienced with Car Accident Claims
Even if someone can practice law, they may not be familiar with your type of claim. Many personal injury attorneys focus on tort law, which includes various types of legal injuries and damages. Since tort law can range from car accidents to medical malpractice, an attorney may not have the necessary experience to pursue a car accident claim.
Many law firms display examples of successful cases on their website, which can give you an idea of the types of cases they usually take. If you’re unsure, however, you can always ask.
Familiar with Similar Cases
Not all motor vehicle accidents are alike. Laws can differ depending on the type of vehicles involved, and some victims (like pedestrians) suffer different damages. Seeking an attorney who has handled cases like yours means that they will have a stronger understanding of relevant laws.
For example, if you’ve been involved in a bus accident, you’ll want to talk to an attorney familiar with commercial vehicle claims. Similarly, motorcycle accident victims are more likely to face high medical bills, long recovery times, and bias and benefit from a lawyer familiar with their challenges.
While you shouldn’t expect to hear from your lawyer every day, a good attorney will communicate with you regularly to provide updates and gather any information they need for the case. Similarly, if you reach out to your lawyer with questions or new information, you should hear back within a reasonable timeframe.
You may or may not hear directly from your lawyer. Some attorneys communicate directly with their clients, while others relay information through a paralegal or assistant. If you’d prefer to communicate directly with your attorney rather than an assistant, ask the attorney about who handles communication.
Within Your Budget
Most personal injury claims, including car accident claims, last months or years, even if both parties are fully cooperative. It’s crucial to find legal representation that you expect to afford for an extended period so that you don’t have to change attorneys midway through your case.
If money is tight, look for a car accident lawyer who works on contingency. An attorney who works on contingency won’t require payment during the case, nor will you owe them money if you lose the case. Instead, they will take a portion of the earnings as payment once you win the case. Many personal injury attorneys, including Nessler & Associates, work on a contingency fee arrangement because they believe everyone deserves effective legal representation.
Regardless of your budget, look for an attorney who is upfront about what they charge. It’s common for attorneys to seem affordable until you find out their hourly rate or are hit with a surprise fee that wasn’t outlined when you retained their services, such as printing fees or court fees.
Some attorneys are known for an aggressive approach where they try to recover as much as possible from the other party, even if it makes the case last longer. Others are more focused on getting it over with: they want to help their client sort out the case and receive their compensation without dragging out the claim. Depending on the facts of your case, you may want an attorney with a specific type of strategy.
For instance, if you’re seeking a lesser amount of damages from a driver who admits fault, you may prefer to go with a less aggressive attorney since the case is straightforward.
On the other hand, if you’re dealing with an uncooperative insurance company that claims you’re at fault or won’t pay the full amount owed, a more aggressive attorney will get the insurance company to back down and may even be able to get more money from them.
You should feel comfortable disclosing all of the facts of your case to your attorney. When your attorney has the full story, they can represent you more effectively. Additionally, if the opposing counsel is able to catch your lawyer by surprise, it could cost you and your lawyer the case.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to an attorney about your case, find a different lawyer.
How to Find the Right Attorney
Finding the right attorney can be challenging: many online directories are full of sponsored listings and advertisements, and the state bar provides little more than names. Though choosing an attorney will require plenty of research, there are some tricks that can help you narrow down your options.
Determine What You Need
A significant part of selecting the right attorney involves choosing someone with the right experience. Determining your type of case, how much you can afford in legal fees, and what kind of approach you’d like your lawyer to take will allow you to rule out attorneys who don’t fit those criteria.
Ask for Recommendations
Virtually everyone will get into a car accident at some point in their life, and even those who haven’t yet been in an accident will know somebody who has. Ask friends and family members if they’ve worked with a car accident attorney before and who they would recommend.
If you’re looking for an attorney who works for low or no fees, specify that when you ask for recommendations. For instance, if you tell friends that you need a lawyer who works on contingency, you’re more likely to receive recommendations for firms like Nessler & Associates than one that charges hefty fees.
Check the Attorney’s Disciplinary Records
If an attorney has been previously disciplined for unethical conduct, the American Bar Association requires those disciplinary records to be visible to the public. When considering an attorney, search their name on the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to see if they have ever been disciplined by the state bar.
Speak to Multiple Attorneys
Every attorney is different: two attorneys can specialize in the same field yet handle cases in very different ways. You may find that one attorney pursues cases too aggressively for your liking or feel that another one doesn’t take your concerns seriously. Consulting with multiple attorneys will ensure that you find a lawyer who will handle your case appropriately and that you feel comfortable with.
Many car accident attorneys offer free consultations, allowing you an opportunity to discuss your case with the attorney and ask them questions. Use these consultations to determine if the lawyer or law firm is right for you.
You can sometimes find out information about an attorney on their law firm’s website. However, that can’t replace a discussion with someone from the firm. Your consultation gives you the chance to explore the attorney’s relevant experience and determine how comfortable you are with them.
During your consultation, your attorney will ask you questions about your case, but this is also an opportunity for you to ask the attorney questions as well. Some questions you can ask include: q
- What percentage of your cases are car accident cases?
- How long have you been taking these cases?
- Have you handled a case similar to mine before? What were the results?
- How long do you expect the case to last?
- Will you or someone else provide updates on my case?
- Who will represent me? (It’s possible you may be represented by another attorney in the same law firm rather than the one you’re speaking to.)
You can also ask questions specific to your case. Write down any questions you have so that you remember to ask the attorney during your consultation.
Consult with Illinois Car Accident Attorneys, Nessler & Associates
A car accident takes only a few seconds to throw your life into disarray. You could be so severely injured that you cannot work, suffer severe pain, or have permanent disabilities. Between mounting medical bills, a totaled car, and everyday living expenses, the thought of spending even more money on an attorney may be overwhelming.
Our team at Nessler & Associates doesn’t believe you should have to carry the burdens of a car accident on your own. A no-fee guarantee means that legal fees won’t be a concern: we’ll only be paid for our services if we successfully win or settle your case. With lawyers skilled in car accident law, any auto accident victim can rest assured that their case is in good hands.
If you or a loved one are still picking up the pieces after a crash, Nessler & Associates is ready to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us at (800) 727-8010 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.