When seeking legal advice, you need to know how to find the best attorney for you. After an accident involving motor vehicles, it makes sense to find an attorney with a proven track record of obtaining settlements or judgments within the practice area you need. After all, you would not want to contact a divorce attorney to handle bankruptcy or have a divorce lawyer handle a car accident case. Reach out to a motor vehicle accident lawyer.
Options for Identifying the Best Attorney
There are several options for identifying attorneys who can work with you on your specific case. One of the ways many people identify an attorney is through word of mouth. Not everyone has worked with a personal injury attorney in the past, so doing research is the best option for most of us. The good news is that, in many cases, an attorney will display testimonials from prior clients on their websites.
Here are some helpful ways to find the best attorney for you in Wisconsin or Minnesota
- Local Bar Association. Both the Minnesota Bar and the Wisconsin Bar offer an attorney search. This search allows you to identify an attorney who takes cases that are similar to yours. Once you have found an attorney, you can also use the site to learn more about their practice. You can do additional research by viewing the lawyer’s website and reading online reviews from prior clients.
- Basic Web Searches. Some victims of auto, truck, or motorcycle accidents do a standard web search using their preferred search engine and request names of attorneys. These names can be further researched using the local Bar Association. Accident victims should also review the attorney’s website to learn more about the types of accidents they handle and the results they achieved for their clients.
These are some of the basic available options. But finding the best attorney may take more legwork than simply identifying a name.
7 Questions to Ask a Lawyer Before Agreeing to Hire Them
Once an attorney has been identified as a potential source of legal advice, it is essential to ensure that specific questions are addressed. For example, it is easy to determine if an attorney is licensed to practice in Wisconsin or Minnesota by reviewing the bar’s website. However, some other things may not be evident by looking at the attorney’s website, including:
Will your office handle my case?
The last thing a car or truck accident victim needs to learn is that an attorney has referred their case to another attorney outside of their office. This can be frustrating for anyone. However, some firms may act as only a referral service for certain types of personal injury cases. Make sure you know who will handle your case and what office they will be working from.
Do you have sufficient time to work on my case?
Hiring a busy law firm may initially seem like a good idea, but it may not be the best-case scenario for you. If a law firm has too many cases, your case may find its way to the bottom of the pile and may be treated with less urgency than you feel you deserve.
Have you worked on cases that are similar to mine?
If you have suffered a brain injury, been involved in a multiple-car accident, or suffered serious injuries in a truck accident, you want an attorney who has worked on similar cases. While many personal injury lawyers will advertise their services based on specific criteria, you want to ensure that the attorney handling your case has worked with victims who have been in similar situations.
How will communication work if you accept my case?
One of the primary complaints many people have when working with a law firm is communication regarding their case. If an attorney has a full caseload, it may be challenging to follow up with all clients regularly. However, victims have a right to know what they can expect regarding communication. Making sure you understand when to expect communication from your legal team and what forms of communication are typically used can help ensure you know what is happening with your case.
Has your law firm been recognized for your work?
Do not mistake purchased awards for awards conferred by their peers or a board of their peers for their work when trying to find the best attorney for you in Wisconsin or Minnesota.
How would fees work in my case, including legal and other possible fees?
In most cases, a personal injury firm will accept cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that unless they successfully obtain a settlement, the client does not pay for legal fees. Before agreeing to hire an attorney, ensure you know what their fee arrangement looks like.
How long before my case resolves?
There is no cut-and-dry answer to this question, but it could take a few weeks, months or more to resolve your case. The attorney representing you should give you a realistic idea of what you can expect.
Indeed, there are other questions you can ask, but these will give you an idea of what to expect when working with a new lawyer.
Car Insurance Complications in Minnesota
Drivers in Minnesota are required to carry auto insurance. Minnesota is a “no-fault” state that requires an accident victim to file a claim with their insurer under their personal injury protection (PIP) policy. Specifically, a driver need not prove who is at fault when filing under their PIP coverage. However, the Minnesota minimum insurance requirements may be insufficient to cover losses.
While the minimum amount of personal injury protection coverage is $40,000, there are some things you should know about the coverage limitations:
- $20,000 can be applied to medical expenses
- $20,000 can be used to cover non-medical expenses such as lost wages
- Claims must be filed within six months of an accident
While filing a PIP claim does not require you to prove who is at fault, it does matter if you can provide information that clearly shows the other driver caused the accident.
The reason for this is that you may be able to file a secondary claim against the driver if these situations apply to your case:
- Medical expenses are $4,000 or more
- You suffered a permanent injury
- You suffered permanent disfigurement as a result of the accident
- You are going to be (or were) disabled for 60 days or longer due to the accident
These factors mean that finding the best attorney for you in Minnesota is even more critical. Even minor injuries can result in expenses that exceed $4,000, making an attorney an extremely helpful resource for pursuing a personal injury claim.
Car Insurance Complications in Wisconsin
Drivers in Wisconsin do not operate under a no-fault system. Under the fault system, drivers must maintain $25,000 in coverage for injuries caused to another person involved in the accident. Naturally, the challenge is that $25,000 could be insufficient to cover an accident victim’s losses caused by a negligent driver.
Traumatic brain injuries can seriously alter a car accident victim’s life. The victim may be unable to return to their normal employment because they may need round-the-clock nursing care. The losses suffered would exceed $25,000 in less than a year.
Because a severe injury can be financially devastating, you should find the best attorney for your case in Wisconsin to ensure you have the best chance of recovering compensation. Other factors in the law are important for you to understand before filing an initial insurance claim.
Understanding Your Legal Team’s Resources
Depending on the complexity of your case, you may need experts to help establish financial losses. Previously we discussed someone with a traumatic brain injury unable to return to their normal employment. An expert may be needed to recreate the accident to establish fault.
A medical expert may need to document pain and suffering, treatment options, and other facts which bolster a settlement demand. If your case is particularly complicated, find out from the attorney what resources they have available to help with your needs.
A personal injury lawyer should explain to you what resources they believe may be needed to prove your case. The more complicated the case, the more complex the resources. Sometimes these resources can be expensive, so it is important to ask how the person will be paid.
Insurance Company Negotiations After an Accident
When searching for the attorney to handle your case in Wisconsin or Minnesota, you should discuss any prior insurance company contact. This will help ensure that the attorney you hire has a full picture of what has transpired since the accident, so they can be confident about taking on your case.
You want to feel confident about hiring the right legal team. That means you want a lawyer with whom you feel you have built some rapport and who will pursue the challenges of negotiations with the necessary aggressiveness required in many cases. Remember that once you hire a lawyer, they oversee all communication with the insurer. Your attorney should keep you informed of any communication they have with all insurers involved in your claim.
Review All Agreements and Ask Questions
Initially, you will have an opportunity to meet with an attorney for a consultation. In general, these consultations are free of charge and no-obligation. You should also be aware that anything you discuss with the attorney during the consultation must be confidential. They cannot disclose it publicly or otherwise.
If you have found an attorney you believe is the right lawyer to handle your case in Wisconsin or Minnesota, then the next phase of the process is hiring them. This means you will be presented with a fee agreement.
Read the entire agreement thoroughly. You should ask if you have any specific questions regarding anything in the agreement. If you feel something is not clear, ask for clarification. Only sign an agreement when you feel confident about the contents.
Finding the Right Attorney Matters to Your Case
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to any personal injury case. You want an attorney who will advocate for you, the victim of a roadway accident. While it is easy to determine if an attorney is appropriately licensed, there is no simple checklist to ensure they are the right person for the job.
The right attorney can make all the difference in your case, whether your accident occurred in Minnesota or Wisconsin. You want to make sure that you have the right information to start searching for an attorney, but more importantly, you want to make sure that once you hire an attorney, they will focus on your case and how best to represent your interests. Never settle for a lawyer who cannot provide you with the representation you deserve following an accident.
Contacting a car accident lawyer should not create more stress. Finding the right in Wisconsin or Minnesota to handle your case may be easier than you think if you know what you need. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.