Asking the right questions of your lawyer after a car accident can provide you with a great deal of clarity regarding how your case will be managed and what you should do to protect your rights. Some important questions you should ask your lawyer or a prospective lawyer include what fees you will be charged, how long the case might take, the outcomes of previous clients’ cases, and what rules and laws apply to cases such as yours.
Armed with answers to these questions, you will have a much better idea of what to expect–and what is expected of you–as your case progresses.
Important Questions to Ask
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PDOT), on an average day on the Pennsylvania roads, about 14 crashes are reported every hour. Given the frequency of their occurrence, a lawyer who works regularly on car accident cases should be familiar with the process of these types of cases.
Here are some of the most important questions to ask your car accident lawyer in Pennsylvania after suffering a car accident.
Specialty And Experience
There are many branches of the law and many types of lawyers. Some lawyers specialize in criminal law, others in marriage cases, and others in personal injury law. You want a lawyer with experience handling car accident cases to handle your case, even though a lawyer who specializes in another part of the law is legally qualified to represent you.
On the same token, another reason to seek the assistance of a lawyer for a car accident claim is that a lawyer who handled these claims in the past can help you avoid their common pitfalls. While you may be able to handle your case on your own, a lawyer can guide you along the way.
Ask your attorney how many cases they handled in the past that were similar to yours, what the outcomes of those cases were, and if you can speak to an actual client to get a direct review from them.
Who Will Handle the Case
Some law offices simply try to churn out as many settlements as they can for as many people as possible with little focus on the fairness of a settlement or performing due diligence for each case. Such firms are sometimes known as “settlement mills.” On the other hand, some legal practices feature a few senior lawyers with vast amounts of knowledge and experience. These practices may be supported by many junior or trainee lawyers on staff who may be assigned to your case–even when you expect a senior attorney to work with you.
To clarify this point, you should ask who from the team will be handling your case, who your point of contact (or POC) will be, and how you can get in touch with your POC. Ask about how many meetings you can have with your attorney, how communications will be handled, and whom to reach out to if you have any issues or your circumstances change while the case is underway.
Timelines, Fees, And Laws
After ensuring they have the knowledge and experience needed to handle car accident cases, there are a few other important questions to ask. These questions include details about how long the case is expected to take and what your filing deadlines are. You should also ask about the laws that apply to your case, what kinds of evidence will be needed to support your claim, and what fees–including upfront, contingency, and settlement fees–your lawyer will take for handling your case.
As per Section § 5524 of Title 42 of the 2014 Consolidated Statutes of Pennsylvania, you typically have two years to file a claim for personal injuries or losses that resulted from the acts or negligence of another party.
A few oversights in filing can irreparably harm your case. These include missing a filing deadline, not obtaining the right kinds of evidence within the required statutes, filing a claim with the wrong court, or missing other relevant deadlines such as insurance company filing deadlines. Make sure you ask your attorney about these deadlines and other rules or laws–both related to insurance as well as state or local laws–that can affect your case.
Other general questions you can ask include what your expected payout might be, what you can do to help improve the chances of success in winning a settlement, and what the likelihood of going to trial is. However, the answers to these questions will depend on the specifics of your case and your attorney may not be able to give you a definitive answer to them. You can also ask what will happen in the event that you lose. This information can help you know about your options regarding appeals and potentially resubmitting a claim if it is initially denied.
Contact Us Today
Cordisco & Saile LLC handles car accident and personal injury cases in Pennsylvania. Please contact our team today at (215) 642-2335. We can walk you through what you need to know about car accident law and relevant filing timelines for personal injury cases. We can also discuss with you what to expect while your case is underway and other important questions that you may want to ask your car accident lawyer so that you can calmly and confidently make decisions about your case.