Bagen Law Firm | December 6, 2022 | Car Accidents
The Florida Highway Safety Department reported more than 4,600 crashes in Alachua County and over 6,300 collisions in Marion County in one recent year. If you or someone you love were in one of those car crashes, it makes sense to talk to a legal professional. But how do you find the right Florida lawyer for your situation?
You may struggle with serious personal injuries, mounting medical bills, lost wages or income, a damaged car, and an uncertain future. When someone else injured you and caused you financial losses, you need to know how to find the best car accident lawyer in Florida to protect your rights.
Maybe you were heading to the University of Florida for a sporting event or traveling through North Central Florida on your way to a major theme park, or you were heading to the grocery store for your weekly shopping. A car accident could happen anytime and anywhere. No one expects a car accident, but when it happens to you, you need a compassionate, experienced Florida car accident lawyer working for you.
Of the thousands of personal injury lawyers in Florida, how do you know which lawyer or law firm to choose? In very general terms, you need to connect with a person or firm to represent you. Also, you must trust them to guide you through one of the most stressful times in your life. Keep reading for three helpful tips and a few bonus suggestions to help you find the best car accident attorney in Florida to handle your injury case.
Tip #1: Start by Researching the Best Car Accident Lawyer in Florida
The Florida Bar boasts many qualified and successful personal injury attorneys. So how do you find the best car accident lawyer near you? Location is one factor in choosing the attorney you want to work with, but many Florida lawyers can handle your car accident case regardless of their physical office address.
Some of the most important factors to consider when hiring a car accident attorney include:
- Does the lawyer have experience handling personal injury cases and specifically working with car accident victims?
- Will the lawyer understand your specific injuries, medical diagnosis, and treatment needs?
- Has the lawyer successfully dealt with numerous insurance companies in the past?
- Can the lawyer bring your case to trial if the insurance company won’t offer a reasonable settlement?
With so many valuable online resources, use several different research methods to learn as much as possible about potential personal injury lawyers.
Top Online Resources to Help You Choose the Best Lawyer for Your Car Accident Claim
You can start your search for a Florida car accident lawyer online by using these websites:
- Google or other search engines – Search both general and specific phrases to narrow your choices. For example, “car accident lawyer” will return thousands of results, while “Gainesville Florida car accident lawyer” will narrow your search to that geographic area. Click on law firm sites that interest you and look around to determine if you would find them a good fit.
- Legal websites – Once you click on a legal website, scour the pages to learn as much about the lawyer and law firm as possible. Review their practice areas to ensure they handle car accident cases like yours. Look for past client testimonials to understand how they treated other accident victims. Read previous success stories to understand what the firm has achieved. Consider any particular legal strengths, awards won, and distinctions earned that show the lawyer’s reputation in the legal community.
- Avvo – This is a lawyer review site where clients can share their experience working with a particular lawyer or law firm. While the firm may have solicited some of the comments, many clients will provide spontaneous reviews, both good and bad.
- Yelp – Customers from all business types can post a review on this site. It is not limited to legal businesses. The company or firm may request some of these reviews, but many people simply want to share their opinions and valuable insights, especially if they had a good experience.
- State and local bar associations – Every state and most counties have organized bar associations that provide information about their members. Check to see if a potential lawyer is a member in good standing with these associations. Does the lawyer hold any executive positions in the bar? How long have they held memberships?
- Attorney disciplinary board websites – Disciplinary boards accept and review complaints against lawyers. Check to see if the potential lawyer has received any past complaints or disciplinary sanctions. Ensure your potential car accident lawyer is in good standing and licensed to practice law in Florida.
- Social media – Media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn allow users to post almost any thoughts about any topic. Carefully consider how much weight these opinions should carry in your decision. Someone may have an axe to grind or be impossible to please. Not every attorney-client relationship is a good fit, so use your best judgment before relying on a stranger’s tip.
Look for information about the lawyer’s prior legal experience, their reputation in society, and their standing in the legal community. Consider how long they have practiced and the size of their firm or if they are a solo attorney. Also, note the number of cases previously handled, including trial wins and settlement victories.
Talk to People, Ask for Referrals
Former clients and friends and relatives of clients can serve as great resources when looking for the best car accident lawyer in Florida. Ask everyone you know for referrals and why they recommend a particular lawyer or law firm.
- Did the lawyer treat them with patience and compassion?
- Did the lawyer answer emails or phone calls quickly and thoroughly?
- Did they understand every part of their legal strategy, and did the lawyer include them in the decision-making process?
- Were clients pleased with the final outcome?
- Did they find the lawyer’s fee reasonable?
- Would they use the same lawyer if needed?
Remember, every car accident is different, and one person’s experience may not resemble yours. However, glowing reviews about one particular lawyer or law firm may make your final decision easy.
Tip #2: How to Screen and Choose the Best Car Accident Lawyer in Florida
Based on your research, narrow your choices for your best car accident lawyer to the top five or fewer. Contact each lawyer by phone or on their website for your initial case consultation. Make sure your first meeting is free of charge. Most car accident lawyers in Florida accept cases on a contingency basis, so you should not have to pay to speak with a lawyer about your case.
Before you speak with an attorney, prepare a list of essential questions, so you don’t forget to ask anything.
Some potential questions you may want to ask might include:
- How long have you handled personal injury cases in Florida?
- Have you dealt with a car accident case like mine? Did you win?
- Are you familiar with injuries like mine?
- How many insurance companies have you negotiated with in the past?
- How many car accident claims have you settled? How many claims went to trial?
- How many car accident trials have you won?
- How long do I have to bring an insurance claim?
- Is there a deadline to file a lawsuit?
- In prior personal injury cases, what went well, and what problems did you face?
- Who will I work with if I hire your firm? A senior lawyer? An associate or paralegal?
- Who do I call if I have questions?
- Do you think I have a strong case?
- What do you think my claim is worth?
- How long will I have to wait for payment?
- How are the legal fees determined, and will you accept my case on a contingency fee basis?
During the initial conference, you should get a feel for whether you want to work with the person who will handle your case. Do they listen when you speak? Did they answer your questions in a way you can understand? Did they treat you with respect and empathy for your circumstances? Are you comfortable sharing your personal details with them?
Trust your instincts and listen to your gut because you will spend a lot of time working with this person during a difficult time.
Let’s Talk About Your Car Accident Case
After consulting your top potential lawyers, follow up with any additional questions that you still need them to answer or to confirm your final decision. Once you decide on the best car accident lawyer in Florida to handle your case, move on to the final step in this process.
Tip #3: Review and Sign an Attorney-Client Contract With the Best Car Accident Lawyer in Florida for Your Case
To officially create an attorney-client relationship, your car accident lawyer will prepare a contract for you. Read the contract carefully, and ensure you understand the terms, including exactly what your car accident injury lawyer will do for you and your obligations under the agreement.
Pay special attention to the fee agreement. If your personal injury attorney accepts your case on a contingency basis, you will not receive a bill for any phone call, email sent, or question asked. This is important because you don’t want to worry about how to afford a lawyer while you face medical bills and lost income during your recovery. You will pay your car accident attorney from the money they recover for you. Make sure you know how much they will receive once you receive a final settlement or judgment.
Ask questions about any part of the agreement you don’t understand. You have the right to know what you are signing and what to expect throughout the legal process. Once you fully understand the arrangement and are comfortable with the terms, sign the contract, take a deep breath, and relax. Transfer your legal concerns to your qualified personal injury attorney while you focus on your physical and emotional recovery.
Bonus Tips to Ensure You Hire the Best Car Accident Lawyer in Florida
The personal injury attorney you choose will need your help to do the best job possible. Prepare for every meeting and provide as much information as possible so your lawyer can prepare the strongest case on your behalf.
Gather important documents such as accident reports and witness statements if you can. Your attorney can also request police records for you. Keep your medical records and bills organized to ensure your lawyer knows about your treatment and related costs. Your lawyer can request these documents for you if you authorize their release.
Hiring the right car accident attorney is an important and personal decision. You have no obligation to hire someone simply because they offered a free consultation. Evaluate whether the law firm has the time and resources to accept your case and resolve it.
You have a lot on your plate, and finding the best car accident lawyer in Florida is an important step. Once you find the best attorney to handle your case, you can focus on your recovery, your family, and your future.
The car accident lawyers at Steven A. Bagen & Associates are here to answer your questions and guide you through the complicated legal system. We’ll fight to recover the most compensation possible and help you move forward with confidence.
Learn more about our dedicated team and the car accident personal injury legal services we provide during a free case consultation. Put our extensive experience to work for you. Call (800) 800-2575 or click the button below for your free consultation today.