Choosing the right lawyer to handle a car accident claim in Southfield, MI and the surrounding area is not an easy task at all. Michigan is home to hundreds of personal injury lawyers and almost all of them profess to be the very best at what they do.
With this being the case, how do you choose the right car accident lawyer to handle your claim? How do you separate the very best personal injury law firm from the rest? How do you find out if a lawyer is as good as they contend to be? Let’s take a look at some tips for hiring the right car accident lawyers for your case.
Important Factors to Consider While Choosing a Southfield, MI Accident Attorney
Experience is the single most important factor you should consider when choosing a Southfield car accident lawyer. Every time a lawyer handles a case, they tend to expand their knowledge, gain insights into how the system actually works, and learn how to deal with the various issues that might come up over the course of a personal injury claim.
The more experienced a lawyer is, the more confident they might be about resolving your case and achieving a positive outcome. An inexperienced personal injury lawyer – regardless of how skilled or knowledgeable they might be – might not bring the same level of confidence to the table.
Now, the question is – what kind of experience you should look for in a car accident lawyer?
Why Case-Specific Experience Matters
Ideally, you should look for a lawyer who has handled and resolved cases similar to yours before. Theoretically, a qualified and seasoned lawyer should be able to handle all kinds of personal injury cases. The truth, however, is that a vast majority of lawyers tend to specialize in a very specific area of personal injury law.
Stemming from this, if you are injured in a car accident, you should choose a lawyer who is experienced in handling claims related to car accidents. On the other hand, if you are injured by a commercial truck, you should choose a lawyer who is experienced in handling truck accident claims. Truck accidents can not only cause more serious injuries than car accidents, but the legal theories involved are also different.
In a vast majority of car accident claims, it is the negligent driver who can be held liable for the resulting injuries and property damage. This is not the case with truck accident claims, since the truck company that the driver works for can also be held liable under the theory of vicarious liability. As you can see, it is important to choose a Southfield car accident lawyer who has handled and resolved cases similar to yours before.
Ability to Go to Trial
Having a trial attorney on your side can significantly increase your chances of recovering full and fair compensation from the at-fault party. The more litigation experience your lawyer has, the more leverage you can gain over the at-fault party’s auto insurance company.
It should be noted that more than 95% of accident claims are settled out of court through negotiation and mediation. Still, it is extremely important for you to hire a lawyer who has sufficient courtroom experience and has litigated cases similar to yours before.
Why You Should Be Wary of Settlement Mill Lawyers
Insurance companies tend to keep track of Southfield personal injury lawyers who always prefer to settle cases – even if it means accepting low settlement offers. These lawyers are generally referred to as settlement mill lawyers.
The primary goal of a settlement mill lawyer is not to help you get the maximum amount of compensation possible, but to settle the case as fast as they can, just so they can pocket 30% to 40% of the settlement amount and move on to the next case.
Insurance companies love working with settlement mill lawyers as these lawyers are predictable in their approach and always willing to accept what the insurance company offers. They have no leverage over the insurance company since they do not have the necessary expertise or courtroom experience to take their case to trial – even if the insurance company’s offer is unreasonably low.
If you are represented by one such attorney, you almost certainly will not be able to recover the compensation you are entitled to.
Why Insurance Companies Take Trial Lawyers Seriously
A lawyer with trial experience has leverage over the insurance company, as they have the option of taking the case to trial if the settlement negotiations fail. The insurance company knows that if they make an insultingly low offer or if they try to push you around, your lawyer might decide to take your case to trial.
Litigation – as you probably already know – can be extremely expensive. The insurance company has to spend a lot of money to defend the insured (the at-fault driver) and convince the jury or judge that the settlement offer they made is fair and justifiable.
An experienced Southfield car accident lawyer can counter these arguments, explain why the offer they made is unjustifiably low, and convince the jury that you deserve to be fully compensated for your injuries and other losses.
If the verdict is in your favor, the insurance company will most likely end up paying the full value of your claim. From a business standpoint, it does not make any sense for the insurance company to spend money on litigation and then pay the full value of your claim. They can easily save money by making a reasonable settlement offer in the first place and avoiding litigation altogether.
It’s why insurance companies tend to take trial lawyers seriously. It is also why you should choose a capable and competent trial lawyer to handle your accident claim.
Proven Track Record of Settlements and Verdicts
If you have suffered debilitating and life-altering injuries, it is critically important to hire a Southfield car accident attorney with a proven track record of obtaining large settlements and jury awards.
With that said, a serious injury to the spinal cord can result in paraplegia (partial or total paralysis of the lower part of the body) or tetraplegia (partial or total paralysis of all four limbs and torso). Depending on the nature and severity of your disability, you might require lifelong treatment and care.
You might also require mobility devices and the assistance of a third party to perform activities of daily living like eating, showering, grooming, and dressing. Apart from this, your disability can impact your earning capacity to a great extent. In a scenario of this type, you might be entitled to a substantial amount of compensation, which a run-of-the-mill attorney might not be able to obtain for you.
If you are represented by a Southfield car accident attorney who has a track record of obtaining large settlements and jury awards, the insurance company will take your claim seriously, as they know that they cannot get away with paying a fraction of what your claim is actually worth.
As your attorney’s track record shows that they are capable of taking the case to trial and recovering substantial damages, the insurance company might be more than willing to make a reasonable settlement offer. Simply put, the very fact that you have an accomplished civil litigator on your side can work to your advantage during the settlement negotiations and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Network and Financial Resources
Depending on the severity of your injuries and the number of defendants involved, your lawyer might have to invest a great deal of time, effort, and money in order to build a proper case.
Your lawyer might have to consult with accident reconstruction specialists, forensic experts, manufacturing experts, engineering experts, medical experts, mental health experts, and vocational rehabilitation and evaluation experts to determine the value of your claim and build a strong case against the at-fault parties.
These experts tend to charge hundreds of dollars per hour, which means your lawyer might have to spend thousands of dollars to get their opinion or to get them to testify in court. Apart from this, your lawyer also has to take care of the expenses associated with investigating your case, the cost of gathering the required evidence, administrative expenses, court costs, and deposition costs.
Needless to say, a small law firm might not have the financial resources to take care of all these expenses and might be forced to cut corners, resulting in not being able to build a winnable case. They might not be able to take the case to trial as well since litigation can be prohibitively expensive. As a result, you might be left with no option but to settle the case – even if the compensation offered is not sufficient to cover all your monetary losses.
It’s why you should choose a Michigan personal injury law firm that has sufficient financial resources and manpower to handle complex claims.
Attorney’s Fees and Case-Related Costs
Southfield car accident lawyers generally work on a contingency basis, which means you have to pay them only if they win your case and recover compensation for you. They do not charge a flat fee. Instead, they take a cut out of your settlement or jury award (typically 30% to 40% of the compensation awarded). Apart from this, you also have to reimburse them for case-related expenses like filing fees, document request charges, expert witness charges, deposition fees, copy and postage charges, and more.
Let us assume that you are awarded a sum of $250,000. Assuming your lawyer spent $10,000 on your case and takes a 30% cut out of your compensation, you will actually only receive $165,000.
Furthermore, some lawyers tend to ask car accident victims to pay a portion of the case-related expenses upfront. Some lawyers also ask their clients to reimburse them for out-of-pocket expenses – even if they lose the case. Hiring such a lawyer can be a very bad deal for you, as you might not only fail to get the compensation you deserve, but also have to pay the lawyer out of your own pocket on top of it.
Ideally, you should choose a Southfield personal injury attorney who can take care of all these expenses and will not ask you to reimburse them even if they lose your case.
Personal injury law is an intensely competitive industry and earning a reputation for excellence is not easy at all. If a lawyer stands out from the rest in terms of their track record and accomplishments, it means they have worked extremely hard to earn it.
When you choose a reputable lawyer, you can be sure that they will do everything they possibly can and go the extra mile if needed to achieve a positive outcome. They know that every time they take on a case and represent a client, their hard-earned reputation is on the line.
The best way to judge a lawyer’s reputation and standing in the industry is to find out what kind of awards and recognitions they have received in their career. The highest possible honor a personal injury lawyer can hope to earn is the AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.
The best part about Martindale-Hubbell’s rating system is that it is peer-reviewed. It allows lawyers to rate each other anonymously on a wide range of metrics like expertise in a specific area of practice, legal ability, and ethical standards. For more than 150 years, Martindale-Hubbell’s rating has been considered an objective indicator of a lawyer’s ability and credibility.
Simply put – if a lawyer has obtained an AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, they are a cut above the rest. This is something you need to keep in mind while choosing a lawyer to handle your accident claim.
Legal Help Is Here from the Most Trusted Accident Lawyers in Southfield, MI
If you have been injured in a car accident and plan to sue the at-fault party, you need effective, aggressive representation that can get the results you want. For nearly 30 years, The Lobb Law Firm has been at the forefront of fighting for the rights of injury victims in Michigan.
Led by Joseph R. Lobb – an AV-rated civil litigator with decades of experience – our legal team has helped thousands of Michigan residents get the compensation they deserve and has earned a reputation for taking up complex claims that most other firms might refuse.
Our dependable lawyers are highly accomplished and stand out from their peers in terms of legal expertise, negotiation skills, and litigation experience. With decades of combined experience in handling claims related to motor vehicle accidents, we know the tactics used by insurance adjusters inside and out. We know how to take them on and negotiate with them. If we are not able to get an adequate settlement, we will take your case to trial and make sure you are fully compensated for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Call our law firm today at 248-591-4090 or get in touch with us online using our contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced Michigan car accident attorneys.