In the United States, nearly 5 million people are involved in an auto accident each year. More than 200,000 of those auto accidents happen in Florida. That’s around 555 accidents just in the state of Florida, a day!
If you live in the state of Florida and have a valid Florida license plate, you are required to have a minimum coverage of $10,000 in both personal injury protection (PIP), and property damage (PD) on your auto insurance policy. Even though it is not required by the state of Florida, a lot of drivers have 10,000 per person/20,000 per accident (or more), bodily injury protection (BI) on their auto insurance policy. Unfortunately, some people do not carry insurance at all. Having uninsured motorist coverage (UM) will protect you and your family if you were injured in an auto accident that was caused by someone who did not carry auto insurance on their motor vehicle.
Being in a car accident can cause you to go through a lot of emotions. You want to make sure you and your family are covered by carrying the right coverages on your motor vehicle. Additionally, you want to make sure you have the right Attorney standing right by your side, who is going to help guide you through this tragic and emotional time, from beginning to end.
Here are 9 important questions you should ask your potential Attorney:
- Do you have experience with auto accidents? You want to make sure that the Attorney you are about to hire has knowledge about auto accident cases. Some auto accidents may be more complex than others. Therefore, you need someone with the background and knowledge of auto accident cases that will be able to handle any obstacle that may later develop down the road.
- What are your fees? Do you have an initial fee for consultation? In the state of Florida, Attorneys cannot take more than one-third (33.33 percent) of any settlement they were able to retrieve on your case prior to litigation. If it is a complex case and goes into litigation, then it could go up to 40 percent. Most Law Firms like, Brooks Law Group, do not have an initial fee for consultation, however, it is important to ask.
- What is the best thing I can I do to help my case? You can help your case by getting treatment for your injuries. The state of Florida requires a person who has been in an auto accident to seek treatment within 14 days and receive an ‘Emergency Medical Condition” (EMC) from an MD as a result their accident within those 14 days in order to qualify for their full Personal Injury Protection.
- Who is going to be working on my case? It is good to know who will be assisting the Attorney with your case for when your Attorney is not available. You want someone next in line who will work hand-in-hand with your Attorney on your case and they should provide you with the best client experience possible and not treat you like a number, but like a good friend who has your back.
- Do I have to pay the Attorney’s fees and costs if no money is recovered for my case? Attorneys do not receive any money unless you do. The attorney’s fees and costs that have incurred would be written off if no money is recovered for your case. Therefore, you will not owe anything unless your attorney wins the case for you.
- How long will my case take? The honest answer to this is that every case is different. You may be involved in the same type of accident as the person sitting next to you but yours could end up being a month longer than theirs was or you could be covered by a $10,000.00 policy and they could be covered by a $1,000,000.00 policy. The main focus of your case is you and getting your injuries taken care of so you can get back into your normal routine. The amount of insurance available as well as the injuries varies greatly on a case-by case basis so your attorney and case manager/paralegal will help you sort through your individual case.
- What do you need from me? You want to make sure that your Attorney has everything they need to assist you with your case. Anything you can retrieve at the time of the accident (if possible) will be helpful for your case such as: the police report, witnesses, photos of the vehicle and injuries you sustained, receipts of anything that you had to buy or fix because of the accident, copies of any documents related to your accident, and anything that you think will help your case.
- Have you had success in auto accident cases? You want an Attorney who not only has knowledge about your case but one who’s had success in their cases. You want to know you are getting the most back from your case.
- Are you experienced with taking cases to trial? There are a lot of attorneys out there who say they have experience with trial work and actually farm their litigation cases out to other law firms. You want to pick an attorney who has trial experience with proven results. Check out your potential attorney’s website to see if they have trial experience
Choosing an attorney can be a tough choice to make. We all know that direct referrals from friends and family members can be the best. However, if you are reading this blog, you are probably doing some of the research for yourself and that is OK. What if your friend or family member had a great experience with XYZ law firm and did not mention that it was a “cut-and-dry” case? What if your case is more complex? It is always a great idea to do the research for yourself before making the decision to choose your auto accident attorney.