If you sustained serious injuries in a Florida car accident, a lawyer can help you recover compensation for your damages. However, before you decide on a law firm to handle your case, it is important for you to be sure you are making the right choice. Start by asking these critical questions:
Do I Have a Valid Florida Car Accident Injury Claim?
Before you spend the time and energy filing a car accident injury claim, you need to know if your case has merit.
The attorney and their team must tell you honestly if they believe you have a valid case and whether you have a reasonable expectation of collecting a settlement for your injuries. You can also ask what type of documentation you will need to produce to allow your lawyer to build a strong car accident injury claim.
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What Is the Approximate Value of My Car Accident Claim?
Although no car accident attorney can give you a specific dollar value of your claim, your attorney must give you a basic idea of what damages they will request in your claim and their potential worth.
In most cases, you should be able to include all costs you have to date concerning medical and care expenses, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses. Future costs for the following should also be added: lost wages, loss of earning potential, and pain and suffering.
Although not every case includes all of these items, it will be important for you to understand what potential damages you have for your claim.
How Do I Deal With the Insurance Companies?
After an accident, you may have to deal with two insurance companies: your own and the liable party’s. Your lawyer can manage your communications with both.
Florida is a no-fault state, so after a car accident, you can file a claim with your own insurer before your lawyer confirms the at-fault party’s identity. Ask if your attorney can make this easier for you by:
- Reviewing your policy to see what is covered and what is not
- Responding to your insurer’s requests for statements
- Cooperating with your insurer’s investigation into the accident’s causes
Dealing with the other party’s insurance company is often more complex. For this task, you really want a lawyer who is ready and willing to be as aggressive with them as necessary. Make sure that the lawyer you hire can:
- Protect you from the insurer’s tactics, such as asking for a recorded statement about the accident
- Serve as a go-between and relay messages between you and the insurer
- Meet to negotiate with them for a pretrial settlement that meets all of your needs
- Collect evidence against the liable party to refute any of the insurer’s attempts to prove their client’s innocence
- Take the other party to court if necessary and make sure the insurer follows relevant laws and courtroom procedures at all times
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Will My Case Have to Go to Court, or Will We Settle?
If you can settle your claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, it is generally favorable for everyone involved.
Settling before taking a lawsuit to court for your accident accomplishes two important objectives: it gets money in your hand much sooner than a trial, and it saves you money on legal fees.
In addition, because the at-fault driver’s insurance company understands the importance of saving on legal fees whenever possible, they will usually try to come to an equitable settlement before you feel compelled to file a lawsuit.
Although no lawyer has the ability to see the future, you should ask the lawyer whether your case seems strong enough to settle out of court.
How Long Will My Car Accident Case Take?
You should not expect a definitive answer to this question up front. There are many factors that will determine how long it takes to settle your case, including:
- Whether you have to go to court
- How many liable parties there are
- Whether or not the liable party’s insurance company is willing to negotiate in good faith
- How much evidence your lawyer needs to collect to build a strong case and how hard it is for them to obtain this evidence
- If there are unforeseen complications that your lawyer must deal with
It is, however, perfectly reasonable for you to ask for a rough estimation of how your case will proceed and how long it will take your attorney to complete it.
What Will My Lawyer Need from Me?
When you hire a car accident lawyer, you are placing your entire case in their hands. This means that they, not you, are responsible for filling out paperwork, negotiating with the insurance company, making arguments in court, and communicating with other parties involved in the case.
For these reasons, your lawyer should not need much, if anything, from you to build and present your case. If they do need something from you, it may be something like:
- A statement containing your version of what happened the day of the accident
- The names of friends, relatives, or others who may be able to corroborate your story
- Any photos, video, or documents you have related to the accident scene, the damage done to your car, or the injuries you sustained
- Your contact information, so the lawyer can reach you with updates, settlement offers, or additional questions about your case
Will I Have to Pay Any Legal Fees Up Front?
If you have just been through a serious car accident, you have many things on your mind – and probably a stack of bills piling up. This is especially true if you cannot return to work because of your injuries.
Many car accident lawyers will represent clients for no money up front. Some will even agree to collect their fees only if you settle your claim. That means you will have no out-of-pocket expenses for attorney’s fees.
When you have more important goals to focus on – like getting the medical treatment you need and recovering from your injuries – not having to worry about paying attorney’s fees can leave you free to focus on healing.
Who Will Handle My Car Accident Injury Case?
In some law firms, the partners and senior associates may take the first client meeting and then allow your case to be worked on by a lower-level associate.
That approach provides a perfectly acceptable level of service in most cases, as long as you know what to expect. However, if you believe the lawyer you meet will be the one handling your claim, it can shake your confidence in getting a good settlement if you learn later that they will not be handling the case.
Ask who will be available to answer your questions as they come up and who will handle negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
In addition, do not hesitate to ask how often you will receive updates on your case. You need an attorney who is proactive and eager to keep you in the loop.
Why Should I Choose You As My Car Accident Lawyer?
The right answer to this question depends on your priorities.
Do you prefer a car accident lawyer who will endeavor to get you a quick settlement, or do you want one who is willing to stick with it as long as it takes – even if that means going to court? Do you want to work with a large, high-powered, and resource-rich firm, or do you prefer the personal attention that comes from a smaller firm?
Call for a Free Car Accident Case Review Today
You can have all of these advantages and more when you work with the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine. Contact us at 1-800-747-3733 for a complimentary consultation with our team. You deserve to have a Florida car accident lawyer fighting on your side.
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