If a negligent driver caused a car accident in Texas that injured you or someone you love, you may be considering your options for seeking compensation. You may know that you stand a much better chance of getting maximum compensation if you have an attorney representing you with your claim, but you are probably wondering how to find a Texas car accident attorney for your claim in your area.
Finding the best car accident attorney near you is not always easy, as you have numerous choices in the Dallas and Southlake areas. However, you should look for certain things in an attorney and resources to help you in your search. Read on to discover the qualities you should consider when choosing a car accident attorney in Texas to make sure you get the right attorney to handle your car accident injury claim.
What to Look for When Choosing a Texas Car Accident Attorney
To increase your chances of getting the most from your Texas car accident claim, you need to consider the following factors when researching attorneys near you:
Arguably the most important aspect of a car accident lawyer is experience. You should look for an attorney who has considerable experience handling your type of car accident case. Some lawyers focus primarily on vehicle accident claims, whereas others handle other areas of personal injury, such as medical malpractice or mass torts.
Some lawyers only focus a small percentage of their practice on personal injury law, and they may primarily handle other areas, such as criminal defense or family law.
Choose an attorney who focuses exclusively on personal injury law and has significant experience handling car accident claims specifically.
A lawyer who focuses solely on personal injury and car accident claims will likely have more experience dealing with insurance companies and the intricacies of car accident claims.
Some people believe they need to choose a lawyer with many years of experience. While this is true for the most part, you can receive quality and effective representation from a lawyer who just started their practice. They may be more vested in your case since they're trying to build a clientele. However, they may lack the resources and the intangible benefits a more experienced lawyer can provide.
In addition to experience, you may want to look for a car accident attorney who holds board certification in personal injury or trial law. A board-certified personal injury trial attorney can provide unmatched representation, as they have completed intensive training and education in their field.
Negotiation and Litigation Skills
You also want to choose an attorney with extensive experience negotiating favorable settlements for clients. Dealing with insurance companies can be frustrating, as many insurers attempt to deny or reduce claims by employing questionable defense tactics.
A lawyer who understands how insurance companies operate can anticipate these tactics and work to hold the insurance company accountable for their policyholder’s actions. Choose a lawyer with tenacious negotiation skills who has recovered substantial settlements for their car accident clients.
In addition, you need to choose a lawyer with a track record of securing successful verdicts at trial. Although most Texas car accident claims settle outside of court, there is no guarantee the insurance company will offer a fair settlement during negotiations, no matter how adept your lawyer is.
If the insurance company refuses to negotiate a fair settlement or denies your claim outright and won’t budge, your attorney may have to file a car accident lawsuit on your behalf and fight for your interests in court.
You need an attorney who can negotiate effectively but who also has the litigation skills to go to court and fight for you if necessary to help you get the full compensation you deserve.
As you consider filing a car accident claim and go through the process, you will no doubt have many questions and concerns along the way. You also want to be updated regularly as to the status of your case. You seek to hire a car accident lawyer because of their legal knowledge and experience and the benefits they offer in handling your claim. However, it doesn’t do much good if the lawyer ignores you or doesn’t respond to your calls and emails.
Look for an attorney who fosters open communication with their clients. You want to ensure the attorney speaks and writes clearly in layman's terms you understand, and your attorney should provide you with their cell phone number or another resource where you can get in touch with them anytime you need them.
If your attorney cannot or will not communicate with you, how then will they be able to effectively deal with the insurance companies and the courts when handling your Texas car accident case?
Choose an attorney who sees you as a human and not just another case number. Choose one who will take an active interest in your case and keep you updated throughout the process.
Related to communication skills, you want an attorney who is available to take your calls or respond to your emails promptly. As stated above, you need to ensure you can get in contact with your attorney when needed. If a lawyer doesn’t offer a phone number or email where you can reach them, you may want to look for a lawyer who will.
Honesty and Ethics
Some personal injury lawyers promise big payouts for their clients and claim they can handle car accident claims quickly. In truth, no one can predict how much money you will receive for your Texas car accident claim or how long it will take. Too many factors can influence compensation amounts and the claims process, and if an attorney promises you substantial awards quickly, they are probably not on the up-and-up.
Instead, an honest attorney won’t sugarcoat your situation and make unfounded promises they can’t keep. Look for a lawyer who gives you straight facts about your claim, even if it’s not what you want to hear. It’s better to get honest and straightforward answers upfront rather than waste your time (and money) hanging your hopes on something that may never come to fruition.
Along with honesty, you need to choose an ethical attorney. Personal injury lawyers must adhere to certain regulations and requirements when dealing with clients, insurance companies, and the courts.
For example, an attorney cannot accept a settlement offer on your behalf without your approval. They must also collect evidence properly, conduct due diligence and discovery ethically, and navigate the legal process effectively.
You also want to choose a lawyer who has similar moral values as you and one who seems to employ good judgment when making decisions regarding your case. If your attorney does not show integrity and ethical fortitude, they may be a dishonest attorney who will not provide the quality, professional representation you need.
Many personal injury lawyers promise to provide aggressive representation. However, that can be a double-edged sword in some cases. While you want a lawyer to fight for you when necessary, an aggressive attorney can come off as a bully and may attack the opposing party when making their case. Neither the courts nor opposing counsel take kindly to overly aggressive attorneys, and their actions can sometimes backfire and do more harm than good.
Instead, you want an assertive attorney who will protect your rights and interests and advocate for you each step of the way. An assertive lawyer can present your case in a way that garners attention from opposing parties or the courts but is not overwrought in their actions.
You need an attorney who can assess the situation and provide practical solutions to help you get a favorable outcome, not one who may end up creating an uncooperative environment that negatively impacts your case.
Compassion and Empathy
You and your family have already suffered greatly due to the negligent actions of another driver. You need a lawyer on your side who understands what you are going through and will treat you and your family with the utmost compassion, dignity, and respect.
If the lawyer doesn’t seem to care about your situation or is aloof when you try to communicate with them, they may not be the best car accident attorney near you to handle your claim.
You want to choose an attorney who has high client ratings as well as top peer-review ratings. You can research the lawyer on Avvo and other online sources, and you should search for the lawyer on the State Bar of Texas website. These resources will provide any positive and negative client and peer reviews the lawyer has received along with any disciplinary actions the State Bar of Texas has imposed upon them, if applicable.
Additionally, you can check the lawyer’s website to see if they’ve posted client testimonials regarding their services. You can also check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if they or their firm have received any negative feedback from clients.
One of the best methods for researching a lawyer’s capabilities and representation is to speak with past clients. Many lawyers build their practice on word-of-mouth recommendations. If your lawyer can’t or won’t provide references and referrals, they could be trying to hide something, and you may want to look elsewhere.
Fees and Billing Practices
Most car accident attorneys in Texas work on a contingency fee basis. Under this arrangement, you pay nothing upfront for the lawyer to represent you, and your attorney should only accept a fee if they recover compensation for you. If the attorney cannot recover compensation on your behalf, you shouldn’t owe them anything.
Discuss the attorney’s fee schedule and their expectations for receiving payment when all is said and done. Make sure you clearly understand what percentage of your financial award they will take for their time and services and whether they will make you pay for court costs and other fees if they don’t win your case. Be sure to get everything you discuss in writing before signing a contract.
Ask the lawyer how they plan to handle your case. As stated, most car accident claims in Texas settle without having to go to trial, but there is always the chance you will have to take your case to court.
Discuss with the lawyer their strategy and how they plan to help you get the compensation you need. Some personal injury lawyers will recommend you accept an initial lowball settlement offer just to resolve your case, whereas other attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you to maximize your financial recovery no matter how long it takes.
Personalized Attention and Comfort Level
Since each car accident claim is different, you want an attorney who will provide personalized attention to your case. You want to choose a lawyer you feel comfortable working with and one who will treat you and your loved ones with the care and respect you deserve.
A lawyer who takes the time to get to know you and your family will likely have more interest in successfully handling your claim and helping you recover full and fair compensation for your injuries and losses.
Contact an Experienced Texas Car Accident Lawyer Today
You have a lot to consider when trying to find the best car accident attorney near you in Texas. Your best course of action is to consult with several attorneys and do the necessary research before making a decision.
The Texas car accident attorneys at the Francis Firm have more than 25 years of collective legal experience, and we pride ourselves on delivering personalized, honest, and ethical legal representation that gets results. Our law firm’s founder, Michael Francis, is a board-certified personal injury lawyer in Texas, and we have recovered more than $20 million for our injured clients. Contact us today to receive a free consultation about your Texas car accident claim and discover how we can be the best car accident attorney near you in Southlake, Dallas, Fort Worth, and the surrounding areas.