Have you been injured in a San Antonio car accident? Vehicle collisions can have a devastating impact on both your daily life and your bank account. To get the compensation you deserve and need, you’ll probably have to file a personal injury claim with help from an experienced accident attorney who can investigate and prepare your case.
However, not all attorneys are created equal. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your crash, the severity of your injuries, your personality, and the insurance companies’ tactics, certain attorneys may be better suited for your claim than others.
While you can ask friends and family for advice, that should only be the start of your search for a lawyer. In this article, learn how to research law firms and ask the right questions during a consultation.
How to Research Lawyers Online
Today, most reputable law firms have a website, so it makes sense to start your search online. However, if you type “injury lawyer” into Google, you’ll get overwhelmed by ads, many of them from out-of-state companies and law firms. To find the right lawyer, you’ll need to fine-tune your search and keywords—and interpret the content on each law firm’s website.
When you first start looking for an attorney, you’re going to want to search for local law firms. Meeting with an attorney face-to-face is one of the best ways to get a feel for how they will represent you and is often one of the most productive methods of communication. When you work with a San Antonio attorney, it’s much easier to meet with your lawyer and drop documents off to their team.
Additionally, local attorneys will be more familiar with how judges and juries in your area typically rule on similar cases and will have a better understanding of local rules that may impact your case.
Experience and Track Record
Not all accident attorneys have the same experience and record of success. When you’re dealing with a serious injury, you want to find a lawyer who has extensive experience handling cases similar to yours. For instance, were you driving a motorcycle? Were you hit by a semi truck or another commercial vehicle?
Some attorneys have experience with motorcycle or truck cases and can provide an additional edge to your claim. Furthermore, some attorneys specialize in personal injury cases regarding certain types of conditions such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), spine injuries, or shoulder injuries. Did you or a loved one suffer a TBI from a wreck? Fine-tune your search with phrases like, “San Antonio brain injury attorney.”
Finally, does the law firm share information about its track record? Look for a legal team that is confident enough to share its clients’ stories and successes. However, big settlement values won’t give you an accurate impression of the lawyer; look for information about their approach to injury claims and how they add value to their clients’ cases.
Consider the Website’s Tone and Content
When you read through a lawyer’s web pages and blog, do they portray themselves as reliable and sympathetic? Is the site well-written and easy to navigate? If the firm doesn’t take the time and effort to develop a user-friendly website, it might be a sign that they are not dedicated to their client experience.
You should also look at the practice pages and blog articles that broadly match your situation, such as those discussing drunk driving claims, spine injuries, or bicycle crashes. If you don’t see content that addresses your situation, or if the website doesn’t provide situation-specific information, the law firm might technically handle those types of cases, but not have a lot of experience with them.
Certifications and Accolades
Many law firms will include certifications and other accolades on their website. This might include ratings and awards from legal resource websites like Martindale-Hubbell or even board certifications. For instance, Tom Crosley of Crosley Law is board certified in personal injury trial law. You can easily see his certifications and accolades on our Overview page.
However, not all awards carry the same weight. Today, many companies offer vanity awards that designate someone as one of the “Best in the City,” or are pay-to-play. When you’re weighing a law firm’s badges, look for awards or designations that are based on peer and client reviews, such as Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Preeminent rating. (We’re proud to say that Texas’ legal community has consistently given Tom Crosley high scores, and he’s AV Preeminent-rated.)
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Testimonials and Reviews
Finally, check out the testimonials on the firm’s website to see what their clients have to say about the firm’s service. Testimonials can be a great way to find out more about how the firm handles cases and clients. Of course, if a client submits a statement expressing their dissatisfaction with an attorney, the firm isn’t going to publish that on their website. This is why it’s also important to check out ratings and reviews on a relatively neutral third-party website like Avvo or Google’s business listings.
Knowing the Right Questions to Ask
Once you’ve narrowed down your initial options based on location, experience, and reliability, it’s time to contact your top choices. Calling your top prospect and setting up a consultation will help you determine whether this attorney is the best fit for your case. But only if you know what questions to ask.
What Is Your Approach to Client Communication?
Everyone has a different communication style. Think about your expectations and ask the attorney how often they will be providing you updates about the progress of your case. Although meeting in person is often useful, it’s not always necessary or convenient to meet face-to-face for every case update. Do they prefer phone or email? Are there certain situations when you should visit the office to speak to them? You should still meet in-person at least once, but the attorney should also provide other updates periodically.
Another important question to ask along these lines is how fast they typically respond to questions you ask throughout your case. Communication between you and your attorney should be frequent, personal, and prompt.
“Depending on the circumstances surrounding your crash, the severity of your injuries, your personality, and the insurance companies’ tactics, certain attorneys may be better suited for your claim than others.”
How Many of Your Cases Settle Out-of-Court?
Asking what percent of cases they settle outside of court can be an efficient way to determine the attorney’s approach to litigation and dispute resolution. The best attorneys only take a case to trial when court negotiations fail, but they also don’t run high-volume businesses that just churn out settlements. Ideally, you want to find a San Antonio injury lawyer that puts your interests first—not one that just wants a quick attorney fee or a high-profile jury decision.
How Does Your Fee and Billing System Work?
Most personal injury law firms provide free initial consultations, so you can ask all your questions without worrying about the cost. One of these questions should be about their regular fee system. Many injury attorneys work on a contingent basis, meaning that you only pay if they win or settle your case. The attorney will then receive a percentage of your recovery amount. Other attorneys, however, use an hourly rate that varies depending on their expertise.
You should also ask questions about case costs, the expenses associated with developing your case, such as fees associated with copying medical records, consulting with experts, and filing a lawsuit. Some law firms will advance these costs, while others demand money up-front.
RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Questions to Ask Before You Hire an Injury Attorney
Crosley Law: Experienced San Antonio Accident Attorneys
Don’t wait until the last minute to start looking for a lawyer. It can take time to find the right San Antonio accident attorney, and the attorney you choose will need enough time to investigate and prepare your case. At Crosley Law, we strive to treat every client’s case with as much importance as they do, and continually inform clients about the progress of their case.
If you’re looking for a personal injury attorney in San Antonio who will put you and your case first, contact Crosley Law today for a free consultation. You can complete our online contact form or call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000. We’re here to listen to your story and help you understand your legal rights and options.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.