Virginia drivers are responsible for about 2.3% of the country’s fatal car accidents. This figure does not account for how many Virginia residents obtain non-fatal injuries in car accidents each year. A car crash can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills and property loss. The good news is that car accident victims can recover compensation for these costs with a personal injury lawsuit. But before you can win compensation for a personal injury claim, you need to call a car accident law firm near you.
An auto accident lawyer can assist you during insurance negotiations, settlement talks, or if your case goes to trial. How do you find a car accident attorney taking clients near you? How much do their services cost? We are answering these two questions and many more in this guide, so keep reading to learn more.
How Do I Find a Car Accident Lawyer Near Me?
After you get into a car or truck accident, you should first seek medical care for your injuries. Then, you need to call a local lawyer. The emphasis is on local. Working with legal professionals in your area gives you a chance to meet with them face-to-face. Local lawyers also know the regulations and laws that apply to your jurisdiction.
Another benefit of working with high-quality lawyers in your area is that they know the unspoken rules of the local courts. They may even know the judges and prosecutors in your case, giving them a leg up during negotiations. Yet, finding a high-quality lawyer is easier said than done. You must spend significant time researching your options. Then, you must evaluate each lawyer based on credentials, track record, and more.
Below, we explain three strategies to make finding the right car accident law firm easier. Here’s how recommendations, Google, and your local bar’s website can help.
Ask for Recommendations
Do you have a family member or friend who has filed a car accident case in the past? If so, ask for a recommendation. But you shouldn’t only take recommendations from people who give the attorney glowing reviews. You should also consider the attorney’s track record. Did your friend or family member get the outcome they wanted? If so, that’s a good sign. The one downside to this strategy is that the same lawyer is not right for everyone. If you get a recommendation, you must still research the attorney’s credentials and schedule a consultation to see if it’s the right fit.
Run a ‘Near Me’ Search
Another strategy is to run a ‘near me’ search on Google. This query will give you a list of law firms operating in your area. Again, you don’t want just any lawyer who appears in the search results. Use search phrases like ‘car accident attorneys near me’ or ‘auto accident law firms near me’ to narrow down your search.
Unlike when you get a recommendation, you must research client reviews when you find lawyers on Google. Luckily, most lawyers post client reviews on their websites, which will pop up with your ‘near me’ search.
Search the Local Bar
Your local or state bar website is one of the best places to search for lawyers. Many people prefer this strategy because the bar will also show any disciplinary actions or complaints from previous clients. With a state bar search, you can search for lawyers by specialty, location, education, certifications, languages, spoken, and free options.
Of course, you can also search by the lawyer’s first and last name, firm name, or bar ID. Even if you don’t use the bar’s website to find lawyers, consider using it to verify their credentials. That way, you can find a reputable attorney.
How Do I Know When I Need a Car Accident Attorney?
You know you need a car accident attorney when you get injured in an accident that was 100% the other driver’s fault. 100% is important here because Virginia is a contributory negligence state. In contributory negligence states, victims can’t prevail in a personal injury claim if they share fault for the accident. So, you can’t win a claim if you are even 1% responsible for the accident that caused your injury.
Additionally, you should verify that you have something to gain from the potential lawsuit. An attorney will not want to represent you if you don’t have medical bills or lost wages that you need compensation for. If you are not at fault for the accident and you are eligible for compensation, call a personal injury lawyer. You can schedule a consultation to find out how much your case could be worth.
Those familiar with Virginia law know that you don’t technically need a lawyer to file a lawsuit. Still, suppose you find yourself in any of the next three situations. In this case, the benefits of seeking legal representation far outweigh the disadvantages.
You Need to File an Insurance Claim
Never speak to your or the other driver’s insurance company after an accident. Insurers don’t want to pay out car accident claims because they lose money when they do. So, they may try to trick you into admitting fault. It is always a good idea to hire a lawyer to negotiate with insurance companies for you. Insurers tend to play nicer when dealing with a legal professional who knows the consequences of bad-faith insurance.
Working with a lawyer can also increase the compensation your insurer or the other driver’s insurer offers. The cost of obtaining an attorney is more than worth the potential benefits, especially if they work on contingency (more on this in a moment).
You Don’t Understand Personal Injury Law
Pro se representation is legal in Virginia. That means you can represent yourself in your car accident case if you wish. However, experts don’t recommend doing so unless you understand personal injury law. And by that, we mean you understand all legal statutes and precedents that apply to your case. The judge will not stop to explain the rules around your case. You have to know these facts beforehand.
Most people do not have this level of expertise. Even lawyers who work in fields other than personal injury do not typically represent themselves. Your chances of recovering compensation increase with the help of an experienced car accident attorney.
You Need to Sue the Negligent Driver
Virginia allows injured car accident victims to sue the other driver that caused the wreck. Plaintiffs and defendants must have legal representation during a trial. You can represent yourself, but you will run into the barriers we discussed a moment ago. Hiring a trial-ready attorney is the better choice for most people.
An experienced car accident lawyer knows the evidence and arguments needed to win your case. They also understand which damages you’re eligible for. Your attorney’s goal is to use their knowledge and connections to get you the most compensation available.
What Makes a Qualified Auto Accident Lawyer?
The qualities of a qualified auto accident lawyer include car accident specialization and a reputation for winning cases like yours. Learn more about highly qualified car accident attorneys below.
Car Accident Expertise
Not all personal injury attorneys have experience with car accident cases. Finding a legal representative with extensive experience ensures they have the skills and knowledge needed to get the best possible outcome for your case. Sometimes, a lawyer may not mention their specialty on their website. In that case, you can call the law firm or schedule a consultation. Consultations are often free and provide the perfect opportunity to ask about the attorney’s prior experience with cases like yours.
A Strong Track Record
Having experience with car accident cases isn’t enough. If you want the most compensation possible, you need to work with an attorney with a strong track record. But how do you figure out a lawyer’s success rate? You can always ask during your free consultation. You can also verify their success rate through online reviews. Look beyond the lawyer’s website, as they may cherry-pick positive reviews and leave off negative ones to prevent you from seeing the bigger picture.
Should I Go to Trial for an Auto Accident?
You should weigh the pros and cons before going to trial for an auto accident injury. On the downside, going to trial is costlier and takes far longer than settling. If your medical bills are piling up, you may not have time to wait for compensation. In that case, settlement is the better option. The same is true if you work with an attorney on a non-contingency basis, as a lengthy trial could become cost-prohibitive for you.
What Are Their Fees Like? Are They Expensive?
Legal representation is notoriously expensive. But when you work with the right personal injury lawyer, it doesn’t have to be. That’s because many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. Contingent fees are contingent upon the outcome of your case. If you win, you pay for your attorney’s services out of your compensation award. The amount you pay is a percentage, as determined in the original representation agreement.
If you lose your personal injury case, you may not owe your lawyer anything at all. Many car accident attorneys agree to forfeit their pay if they lose your case. That also gives lawyers a strong incentive to succeed. Of course, not all attorneys use this structure. The initial consultation is an ideal time to work out the financial kinks. Ask your attorney about their fee structure. Lawyers who don’t accept contingency fees may charge a flat rate or by the hour. If this is the case, you may want to consider settling instead of going to trial, as the former will save you money.
How Do I Find a Car Accident Lawyer Taking New Clients?
The best way to find a car accident lawyer taking new clients is to call their law firm. Some law firms will provide this information over the phone. Others may require you to schedule a consultation to learn more. Keep in mind that many law firms never stop taking on new clients.
That may sound like a good thing because you can always seek representation. But this may also be a sign that the attorney is overbooked. An overbooked law firm may not have the time or resources available to devote to your case. One of the rules the American Bar Association sets out is that lawyers should never agree to represent someone if they don’t have the competence or time to represent them well.
Looking for a Virginia Law Firm Specializing in Car Accident Injuries?
Friends and family members, Google, and your local bar’s website are excellent resources for finding car accident lawyers. If you were recently injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, use this guide to find the best attorney for your case.
Do you need a car or truck accident attorney in Norfolk, Virginia Beach or Chesapeake, Virginia? The Decker Law Firm specializes in personal injury cases like yours. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.