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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

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Choosing a Car Accident Lawyer - Five Helpful Tips

Posted on in Car Accident

No matter how large or small, being in a car crash can be overwhelming, to say the least. Choosing the best personal injury lawyer after your car accident can be one of the most important, yet difficult, choices you’ll have to make during this process. You must decide if you need medical treatment and if so, where should you go and who will pay for it? You must figure out how to get a rental car and where to get your car fixed and who will pay for that? You might also deal with a wage loss that puts great financial strain on you and your family, not to mention facing all the things you were able to do before you were injured that you can no longer do. You also have the insurance company telling you that you don’t need a lawyer, your friends telling you that you do, and tons of TV commercials telling you where to go!

We’d like to help make at least a part of this process a little easier for you. Choosing the right personal injury lawyer can make all the difference when it comes to how stressful this process will be for you and how happy you will be with the outcome. Therefore, we are providing you with our top five tips to consider when choosing a car accident lawyer:

#1 – Choose a local firm.

There are lots of attorneys who are willing to come to you to get you signed up, regardless of where their office is. This may seem reasonable since so many things can be done over e-mail nowadays, but you want an attorney who is familiar with the area where the crash happened and can visualize what you are describing. You also want to work with an attorney who knows and has good relationships with local medical providers. At some point in your case, the attorney’s office will need to communicate with your medical providers to get copies of your records or to request a special report. This process will go much smoother if you are working at attorney who is familiar with your providers procedures and has already developed a relationship with them. If something in your case comes up suddenly, you’ll likely want an attorney that is close to you and can provide immediate help. The last thing you want is to be driving for hours to visit your attorney.

#2 – There are benefits to choosing a smaller law firm.

As a general rule, the bigger the law firm the less personal attention you can expect. At Hoggatt Law, we make sure to keep our caseload small so that we have the time to give every client and potential client the attention they need and deserve. We never go more than 30 days without communicating with our car accident clients and our attorneys are never too busy to talk to you. We are available almost any time to answer questions or provide support to our clients and we will never let ourselves get so big that we can’t do that anymore. Smaller firms tend to have less turnaround of employees, so you can rest assured knowing the person you start out the case working with is the person you will finish the case with.

#3 – Meet in person and then trust your gut.

Some law firms have intake coordinators who, after they sign you up, will pass you off to someone else you’ve never met. If you are considering signing up with a law firm, first ask to meet with the attorney and paralegal who will be handling your case. This will help you have a much better idea of whether you want these people to handle your case or not. Do you feel welcome in the office? Do you feel like they are listening, and they care or are they trying to rush you out the door? Are you comfortable asking questions and being honest? Does it seem like they know what they are doing? Choosing a law firm to help you with your case is a big decision and should not be taken lightly. In many cases it is worth meeting with more than one firm and deciding which feels best to you.

#4 – Ask about their results.

The majority of car accident cases can be settled without having to file a lawsuit and litigate a case. Find out how often the firm you are considering files lawsuits on their claims. If it is happening often, it may be because they are unprepared at the time of settlement, they are not good at negotiating, or they are difficult for the insurance company to work with. On the other hand, you want to be wary of a firm that never files lawsuits because you want an attorney that you know will aggressively fight for you if your situation warrants it.

Consider looking at a law firms reviews online. Just as you would when choosing where to go out to dinner, you want to know what other people who have been there have to say. Google reviews tend to be the most common and up to date but you can also look at a law firms reviews on Lawyers.com, Avvo.com, or even Facebook. Looking at a company’s recent reviews can provide helpful information to consider in making your decision.

#5 – Be wary of false promises.

There are two questions prospective clients always want the answers to – “how long will this take?” and “what is my case worth?” For the most part, the most honest answer to those questions will always be “I don’t know yet.” The primary factor in determining how long it will take for a car accident claim to settle is how long your medical treatment goes on for. It is generally unwise to try to settle a case before your treatment is complete, and there is usually no way to know how long it will take you to get better. Similarly, there are lots of factors that go into the value of your case including liability, the severity of the crash, the evidence available, the amount of your medical bills and wage loss, the severity and permanency of your injuries, any pre-existing conditions, and a host of other things. With the rare exception, it is impossible for an attorney to know how much your case is worth when first meeting you or how long your case will go on for, so be wary when a law firm offers these kinds of promises.

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

970-225-2190 | 1-800-664-3151

123 North College Avenue, Suite 160,
Fort Collins, CO 80524

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Greeley, Colorado 80634 |
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Longmont, Colorado 80501 |
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