People who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents are often unsure where to turn for help. But, with medical expenses rapidly becoming unmanageable, income interrupted, and insurance companies angling to avoid or minimize payment, many are looking for the right advocate.
Those who have never worked with an attorney before and don’t have a reliable source of personal referrals often turn to search engines, online rating sites, and other sources. In theory, searching for “best Massachusetts car accident lawyer,” or even “best personal injury law firm” should point a car accident victim in the right direction. However, there’s a fatal flaw in that plan.
What Does “Best Car Accident Attorney” Mean to You?
Without specific criteria, “best” is a subjective term. One injury victim might be looking for the most aggressive car accident lawyer in the area, who will compromise nothing and fight at trial for the largest verdict possible. But, another may be more concerned with finding an attorney who will listen carefully to his concerns and thoroughly explain his options and what to expect at every stage of the case.
In short, “the best car accident lawyer” and “the best car accident lawyer for you” are different concepts. While there are certain variables that should be important to every car accident victim, others are more personal and client specific.
Factors to Consider in Choosing a Car Accident Lawyer
Considerations for every injury victim:
- Experience with car accident cases specifically—every type of personal injury case has its own technical issues and expert witnesses
- Knowledge of the relevant substantive law and legal procedures
- Commitment to achieving a positive outcome for the client
- A track record of success in litigating car accident claims
Client-specific considerations are a bit more complex. For example, it’s important that the client feels he or she can trust the attorney. But, that trust may spring from different places for different clients. For example, one client may be comfortable placing his trust in an attorney who demonstrates a strong fighting spirit, while another may achieve that sense of trust because the attorney listened carefully to her concerns and thoroughly answered her questions.
The Role of the Free Consultation in Choosing the Right Car Accident Lawyer
Though a search engine, a referral from a friend, or the number of stars on the law firm’s Google Maps profile may provide a solid starting point, the free consultation with a personal injury attorney is critical to making an informed decision. Unfortunately, many car accident victims don’t take full advantage of the initial consultation.
That’s understandable, of course. The free consultation provides an opportunity for an injured person who may be confused and apprehensive about the future to get answers. The free consultation provides an opportunity to gather important information such as the potential value of the claim, how long the victim has to file a lawsuit, and how the process is likely to unfold. But, that’s only one piece of the equation.
The free consultation also provides an opportunity for you to get to know the attorney, to assess factors such as:
- Your comfort level in asking questions and providing information
- Your faith in the attorney’s knowledge and ability
- Whether you feel the attorney is listening to and understanding your concerns
- Whether the attorney explains the law and procedure in a way you can understand
Of course, there may be other specifics that are important to you. Only you know exactly what is necessary for you to feel comfortable and confident in working with an attorney. Whatever your key concerns, make sure to take advantage of your free consultation to assess your fit with the attorney in addition to gathering information.