Top Five Questions to Ask an Auto Accident Attorney

Image of a judge's gavelThe hours, days, and weeks following a car accident can be a difficult and frightening time. Not only is there the psychological toll, but bills for medical expenses and repairs can pile up quickly. If the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, it may be time to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to recover those damages. These car accident attorneys can provide expertise and guidance, as well as help to get your life back on track. That’s why we nailed down the ultimate, top five questions for evaluating any auto accident lawyer.

How is My Case Similar to Previous Ones You’ve Handled?

This is a great question to begin with, as it gives a lot of insight into several areas of their practice. By asking them to reflect on your claim, it demonstrates their level of understanding into your specific case. No one wants to feel like an important legal matter is just another file folder piled up on a desk. Great attorneys provide more than legal expertise; it’s also the peace of mind that comes from being taken care of on a personal level. 

Secondly, asking about their previous work helps establish a sense of history and experience. Though car accidents are often different, the lawsuits should still follow some basic themes, particularly the focus on establishing negligence and damages. An attorney that’s able to produce several similar cases is much easier to trust. Even if they’ve practiced for years in personal injury law, auto accidents cases are unique, meaning you’ll be better off with someone well-versed in these types of claims. 

How Long Do I Have To File a Car Accident Lawsuit?

After a traumatic auto accident injury, there may be a need for some rest and recovery. However, it’s a good idea to contact an auto accident attorney sooner rather than later. Personal injury laws in Indiana state that victims of auto injuries have two years to file charges. This extends to anyone suffering from injury, including passengers or pedestrians. This also applies if the victim passes away from their injuries and a victim’s family pursues a wrongful death lawsuit. If the two years have passed, it’s likely that the claim will be dismissed by courts. However, an Indiana auto accident attorney can help in any case.

While two years may seem like a long time to file a lawsuit, there may be some good reason to hold off. Certain physical injuries such as nerve damage or chronic pain conditions may take time to develop. In the event a personal injury accident is filed days after it occurs, it’s possible the injury could worsen, limiting the potential for damages in the case.

How Can I Manage Expenses Related to My Case?

Because auto accident lawsuits can take extensive time to resolve, it’s very common for victims to worry about current medical bills. Though they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries, these are very real charges that need to be dealt with as quickly as possible. It’s not always reasonable to expect someone to run up a credit card or dip into their savings account. 

Though your attorney can’t provide direct financial support, a sign of a seasoned auto accident lawyer is their ability to help provide solutions for your expenses and fees. Regarding immediate bills, they may be able to suggest trusted lenders for a short but reliable cash infusion.  Additionally, their firm may also have ties or a working history with contingency based medical billing vendors who can delay payment due dates. But most importantly, a good attorney should offer payment solutions and plans for their own fees, perhaps not accepting payment until your case has been won. Though there’s no set standard for managing your expenses, you can evaluate your attorney based on their willingness to work with you as a client.

How Long Will My Car Accident Negligence Lawsuit Take?

It’s understandable for a client to ask an attorney for a timeframe after an auto accident. Victims are anxious to return to normalcy and take care of medical and repair bills that arise. However, the truth is that these cases are all unique and have varying levels of complexity.  If a lawyer starts throwing out guarantees on how quickly their car accident cases are settled, it’s probably too good to be true. Lawsuits change, develop, and extend; an honest attorney will not be able to give a hard timeline as they want to focus on providing you with the best level of legal care possible. 

But while they may not be able to give you an end-date, this question can shed light on the reality of their workload. It’s not unheard of for lawyers to take on multiple cases at a time, even if this means significantly delaying the start dates of each suit. A trustworthy attorney should be focusing on a lean number of cases so that they can devote an equal amount of time to each one. Just ask point blank how full their docket is; if it’s backed up several weeks or months, it’s another factor to consider.

What Strategy Will You Use for My Auto Accident Lawsuit?

When it comes to auto accident injury lawsuits, the devil is in the details. In order to even begin establishing negligence a worthwhile attorney will need to review every aspect of the case, beginning with the crash itself and following through to every injury, diagnosis, repair, and final bill. Though they probably can’t lay out their entire approach in a preliminary meeting, a seasoned attorney should easily explain the steps they take to determine the best defense. 

This strategy preview is a great question for evaluation because it gives a glimpse into what level of critical thinking and ingenuity of the lawyer. Attorneys work best when they have access to a large number of resources, as any of these can prove vital to the success of a case. Yes, basic information like accident reports, victim testimonials, police records, and insurance claims are obviously a great place to start. But beyond that, an auto injury attorney may get a bit more creative and ask for some additional items. These could include:

  • Medical reports to detail extent of injuries
  • Psychological evaluations for post traumatic stress
  • Photographs or videos of the accident scene
  • Auto repair bill
  • Additional testimonials from family or friends related to accident

You may have many more questions, and that’s okay! These are only meant to be a good place to start when evaluating any auto accident attorney. By choosing someone with experience and know how, recovering from a car accident can be a lot less stressful. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident and suspect that injury was caused or worsened by  negligence, contact  Christie Farrell Lee & Bell to share your story.