Let’s say you’re heading home from work driving on Monticello Avenue in Norfolk when another driver rear-ends your vehicle. The property damage to your vehicle is extensive and you suffered serious injuries including a bulging disc in your lower back, a sprained neck, and possible nerve damage. You decide you need the services of a Norfolk car accident lawyer. You may ask yourself, “How do I find the best Norfolk car accident lawyer to handle my case?”
Below are three important things you must do to hire a fantastic car accident attorney to help maximize the value of your personal injury case.
No. 1: Do Your Homework by Visiting Independent Attorney Rating Websites
If you do an internet search for a car accident injury lawyer in Norfolk, Virginia (VA), you will likely find a bunch of lawyer web sites touting their credentials and why you should retain their firm. However, a better way to gauge the quality of the lawyer (or firm) is by visiting independent, third party web sites where the lawyer is rated by fellow practitioners in the community and by prior clients.
Good sites to visit include Avvo.com, Lawyers.com, HG.org and Yelp.
No. 2: Find a Lawyer with Actual Trial Experience
Many car accident attorneys tout their legal experience, but be sure to ask if they have taken cases all the way to trial. Why? Because actual trial experience is essential to getting the most money possible from the auto insurance company. If a lawyer has only settled a bunch of cases, but has never actually taken a personal injury case to trial, the auto insurance company will know that and gauge their settlement offers accordingly. Without the fear of your lawyer actually winning you a large verdict in court, the insurance company may make low-ball settlement offers. You want a Norfolk car accident lawyer who is comfortable in the courtroom and is willing to take your case to trial, if necessary.
No. 3: Hire a Lawyer Who Works on a Contingent Fee
If a Norfolk personal injury lawyer attempts to charge you by the hour for their services, look elsewhere. The vast majority of qualified, experienced personal injury attorneys represent clients on a “contingency fee” basis. This type of fee agreement means that your personal injury lawyer is paid contingent upon money being paid to you (i.e. your lawyer doesn’t get paid unless and until you get paid). If you agree to accept a settlement or a jury awards money through a verdict, your lawyer receives a percentage of the overall amount recovery.
Typically, most personal injury attorneys will receive 33.3 percent of the total amount of money recovery. So, for example, if your car accident injury case settles for $50,000, your lawyer will likely get a fee of around $16,500. But keep in mind, the amount a lawyer charges under a contingency fee is not uniform or standardized. Typically, contingent fees vary depending on the complexity of a case.
Contact an Experienced Norfolk Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Emily Mapp Brannon is here to help if you are in need of an experienced, aggressive Norfolk, Virginia personal injury lawyer. Give her a call and schedule a time to meet, in person. Emily offers free, confidential case reviews.