Auto accidents are traumatic and disruptive for many reasons. Accidents place enormous financial and emotional strain on you and your loved ones, and the added pressure of handling insurance claims and a potential lawsuit can make things seem unbearable. One of the best decisions you can make is to select a Virginia auto accident attorney who will represent your interests and work to ease the stress that you are feeling. When hiring your personal injury lawyer, you should feel confident that you’ve chosen the best person to advocate for your needs. But, with all of the advertising “noise” out there, how do you know whether you are hiring the best? That’s going to require some research.
As a preliminary matter, all Virginia auto accident attorneys must graduate from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association, pass the Virginia bar exam, and meet the character and fitness requirements (i.e., demonstrate good moral character).
When selecting a Virginia attorney, you want to ensure they have the skills to achieve the outcome you seek—someone with insight into the insurance industry and the knowledge to avoid pitfalls that could negatively affect the outcome of your case. The right attorney will be familiar with auto accident cases and the process in Virginia, which will ultimately save you time and money. Confirm that the lawyer specializes in Virginia personal injury cases and do not be afraid to ask the attorney whether they have handled cases like yours.
When looking for a Virginia accident attorney, consider whether the lawyer is a good fit in terms of personal and professional style. For an overall positive experience, compatibility is essential. Your accident attorney must be someone you trust—someone you feel comfortable sharing all necessary information, including potentially sensitive information related to your injuries.
During your initial consultation, make sure the attorney listens to you without interrupting and they directly address your concerns. Lastly, consider their style and approach and ensure it will meet your needs—do you want to be heavily involved in every step or will you take a more hands-off approach?
Rates and Fee Arrangements
Naturally, you will need to discuss how your attorney will be compensated for their services. A trustworthy Virginia personal injury attorney will take the time to explain their rates and fee structure at the outset to ensure there are no surprises later. Some attorneys, including the team at Renfro & Renfro, offer a free consultation. Some auto accident attorneys will perform their work on a contingency fee basis while others may rely on a fee structure. Look for a Virginia lawyer whose rates are reflective of their value and experience.
Communication and Timeliness
Regular communication is essential to an excellent attorney-client relationship. At the outset, it may be helpful to ask how communication will take place (e.g., phone or email), what circumstances would warrant communication from your attorney, and what is the best way to contact them. You may also want to inquire about how quickly they often respond to client communications and if there is anyone else in the office that might assist with your case that you may be communicating with.
Your attorney should also be respectful of your time and be prompt and prepared for any meeting. If they are respectful of your time, it is a good indicator that they will also respect deadlines associated with filing necessary court documents or responses to an opposing party or insurance company. Missing deadlines can be disastrous for a personal injury case and result in delays or even dismissal, so you want an attorney you can trust to meet all deadlines.
Professionalism and Reputation
With the internet, there are many ways to research the online reputation of an attorney. While online reviews can be helpful, you should be cautious about relying solely on the opinions of others posted online (often anonymously). Attorneys earn their reputations by exhibiting professionalism, providing exceptional communication and through the outcomes of their cases. They have reputations in court as well, so an attorney who is well-respected among their peers is also a good indicator of their skill.
Success rates may be helpful for certain types of cases; however, they can be challenging to measure in personal injury actions where settlements and “wins” are based on monetary figures that cannot be compared between cases due to the significant differences between each case. That being said, you should inquire about a potential attorney’s successes.
Virginia auto accident cases are often emotional processes that take a considerable amount of time to resolve. The best thing you can do to achieve the best possible outcome is to select an attorney that will aggressively advocate for you. When selecting your Virginia auto accident attorney, look for a professional with the skills and experience to navigate the tricks of insurance companies and someone who will provide personalized service and consistent communication. The RVA personal injury attorneys at Renfro & Renfro have significant experience fighting for their clients. Contact us today for a free consultation.