When you have been involved in an accident in NYC, there is much to consider. If your vehicle has been damaged, you may need to repair or replace it. Likewise, if you were injured in the accident, you may be dealing with procedures, medications, rehab and the associated bills.
In most cases, your auto insurance company will be responsible for paying the costs associated with your accident. However, insurance companies are often unwilling to pay the full amount you need to recover from the incident. In cases where you need help recovering compensation from the person or organization responsible for your car accident, you may need to hire an attorney.
NYC Car Accident Claim Basics
Car accidents often result in injuries and property damage. In the state of New York, all drivers are required to purchase auto insurance under a no-fault system, which means that your car insurance company will be responsible for expenses after an accident regardless of who is at fault. This system was created in order to make it easier for car accident victims to get immediate medical treatment.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often offer less money than the victim actually needs, leading to financial problems for the claimant.
How an NYC Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
In the state of New York, car accident cases can be complicated. Each of these cases is surrounded by a unique set of circumstances that requires a tailored approach in order to preserve your rights to collect compensation and ensure that you qualify for the maximum settlement amount possible.
It is also important to note that, as a car accident victim, you have only one chance to file a claim for your accident. The way in which this claim is handled will determine how much money you will be able to recover, which will have a significant impact on the rest of your life. For example, if you are not able to recover enough money to pay all your medical expenses, you may find yourself in debt. On the other hand, if you get an appropriate settlement, you will have the resources you need to move on with your life.
About Insurance Settlement Offers
In many cases, victims of car accidents receive quick settlement offers from their insurance companies. When victims receive these offers, accepting them in hopes of receiving an immediate windfall can be tempting, especially when you are dealing with medical bills and other expenses. However, because insurance companies want to settle car accident claims for as little as possible, the offers they make initially are rarely as high as they should be. If you don’t have legal representation, the offer you receive is likely to be even lower. An experienced car accident attorney will be able to review any offers you receive and advise you on whether you should accept. If the offer is not acceptable, your attorney will be able to help you take the next steps to recover the compensation you deserve.
How to Hire the Right Attorney
Once you have determined that you need to hire an NYC auto accident attorney, the options can be overwhelming. Because your attorney’s skill level will have a direct effect on the outcome of your case, it is important to make this decision carefully. Below are some of the most important factors to consider when hiring an auto accident attorney in NYC.
- Training and Background.
One important factor to consider when comparing different auto accident attorneys is the training received by each attorney, as well as their life experiences. Be sure to investigate the institution each attorney attended, and ask prospective attorneys to describe their interests during school as well. The more an attorney has studied auto accident and personal injury law, the more prepared he or she will be to take on the case.
- Experience level.
Although newer lawyers do not necessarily lack skill, experience in the field can be an invaluable asset when it comes to representing clients in personal injury cases. NYC attorneys who have experience working with auto accident cases will have a better knowledge base that they can use to make informed decisions about future cases.
- Track record.
One of the most important considerations for any car accident victim choosing an attorney is the attorney’s track record. The attorney’s rate of success with past cases tells you how likely he or she is to be successful in your case. When comparing the track records of different attorneys, be sure to compare both the percentage of cases won and the settlement amounts. Look for an attorney who is not only good at winning cases, but also is capable of bringing in substantial settlements that adequately cover all of the client’s expenses.
Every lawyer develops a reputation among past clients. While some lawyers may be known for being capable litigators who are easy to work with, others may have developed a reputation for poor customer service or other negative qualities. You can learn about the reputation of various attorneys by reading reviews from past clients and/or asking around town for information from people who may have worked with the attorney before.
Questions to Ask in an Interview
Even after you have narrowed down your choices based on the factors above, you may still be torn between two or more attorneys. The best way to make the right choice is to interview prospective attorneys and select the one who seems to be the best fit for your needs. To conduct a thorough interview, be sure to ask all the following questions.
- Have you handled a case like mine before? –The answer to this question will tell you how prepared the attorney will be to handle your specific case based on his or her past experiences.
- What sort of settlement do you believe I can realistically expect?– This question helps you understand how much your attorney believes he or she can reasonably obtain, either inside or outside of court.
- Will a trial be required? – It is always useful to know whether the attorney expects your case to go to trial so you can prepare accordingly. Asking this question also gives you an opportunity to assess the attorney’s willingness to go to court on your behalf if necessary.
- Who will be responsible for managing my case?– In larger firms especially, it is not uncommon for cases to be passed off to less experienced attorneys. In addition, some busy lawyers see and/or speak to their clients only rarely, leaving other staff members in charge of the majority of communications. Because of these tendencies, it’s a good idea to ask any prospective attorney about their plans with regard to the management of your case.
- What fees will you charge? – Before hiring any NYC car accident attorney, you need to understand the fee structure. While some attorneys may charge only a contingency fee, which means that you will pay the attorney a percentage of your settlement, others require you to pay for services by the hour regardless of whether you win the case. Some attorneys may charge both types of fees. If you decide to retain a specific attorney, be sure to double check the language in the contract to ensure that it reflects the fees you agreed on during your interview.
Having the right attorney can make all the difference in a personal injury lawsuit. When it comes to choosing a car accident attorney, you need to take the time to research your options and consider them thoroughly. Kaplan Lawyers has been representing car accident victims in New York for years. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.