How To Choose A Car Accident Lawyer In Houston – Forbes

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Updated: Apr 8, 2022, 3:00pm
Houston ranks in the top three locations for the worst traffic in the country. With traffic comes traffic accidents, and that means injuries. If you are injured in a car accident, you may want to get a car accident lawyer on your team to help you navigate the settlement process and even take it to court if necessary.
If you need a car accident lawyer in Houston, you want to make sure that you find the right fit—someone who makes you feel comfortable and can get the job done. Experience goes a long way when it comes to fighting insurance companies, so you need to vet out possible car accident lawyers before you decide.
Here are some things to consider when seeking out a car accident lawyer in Houston.
Conducting a Google search for car accident lawyers in Houston yields hundreds of results. There are certainly many to choose from. Finding the best for you means asking the right questions when you are considering them. Remember that you don’t need to select the first lawyer you meet; there are lots of options. Take your time and find the best one for you.
Here are the most important things to consider when looking for a car accident lawyer in Houston.
An excellent place to start when looking for a car accident lawyer is to ask for referrals from friends, family and colleagues. There’s a good chance that you know more than one person who has needed a lawyer in an accident case. When you find someone who has a referral, ask them specifically what they liked about working with the lawyer. This will give you a good idea of what to expect in the interaction. Also, ask about things they didn’t like so that you get a broad picture of the relationship.
If you come up short with referrals, then try searching for a car accident lawyer in Houston online. For example, search Google and field lawyers and law firms using reviews. Consider both the overall rating, as well as the number of reviews to get a good read on how satisfied clients are with the lawyers.
Ask lawyers that you are interviewing what their expertise is. While some lawyers specialize in car accident cases exclusively, others are more generalists who practice personal injury law dealing with other cases such as workers’ compensation. You can work with either, but you do want to make sure that a generalist has worked on a lot of car accident cases and be sure that they know the ins and outs of the insurance game.
Car accident lawyers in Houston should not be charging you an hourly fee to retain them. Injury attorneys work on contingency, which means they only get paid when you get a settlement. Their pay is a percentage of the settlement, so you want to be sure the fees fall in line with the industry standards of 33% to 40%. Settlement amounts usually factor these fees in so you aren’t losing money by having a lawyer work for you, but if someone is charging more than the standard, this might start to eat into what you take home from a settlement.
Most car accident cases don’t ever see the inside of a courtroom because lawyers can negotiate directly with insurance companies to get settlements. However, if your case is one of the 5% that go to trial because of serious injuries, you want to make sure that your lawyer has the experience to litigate the case. Going to court is very different from negotiating with insurance carriers, so you want to find someone who has the experience to fight.
You don’t want details about your case slipping through the cracks and getting forgotten about in negotiations or court proceedings. This means that your attorney needs to be organized. You can get a sense of organization by their office presentation. Everything should be in its place with files put away and not stacked on a desk. Take note of how the receptionist takes phone messages and how information is added to the file. A clean, organized office is a sign of a professional.
If you are in a minor fender bender, the chances are that you don’t need a lawyer for your car accident. However, if you have serious injuries, permanent impairment or are missing work due to your injuries, you likely want to get a lawyer on your team. The more serious the injuries, the more you need help navigating the world of insurance and settlements.
The lawyer will be able to help you get your medical expenses paid, lost wages and even pain and suffering. Victims with a lawyer tend to get more significant settlements than those without a lawyer simply because victims don’t always know what they are entitled to, and insurance companies won’t just give money that isn’t asked for.
The Houston Bar Association is the professional association of lawyers in Houston. It has a referral service that gives you recommendations of private practice lawyers who have been pre-screened in specific areas of law. You can use this service to create a list of potential lawyers.
You have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit on it. This means that you have to pinpoint injuries and losses resulting from the accident within a timely manner.
Texas insurance carriers have 35 business days to settle a claim once it is filed. If there is a delay, the insurance company needs to notify you in writing what the delay is and the expected decision date.
Kimberlee Leonard has taken her professional experience as an insurance agency owner and financial advisor and translated that into a finance writing career that helps business owners and professionals succeed. Her work has appeared on Business.com, Business News Daily, FitSmallBusiness.com, CentsibleMoney.com, and Kin Insurance.
Kelly is an SMB Editor specializing in starting and marketing new ventures. Before joining the team, she was a Content Producer at Fit Small Business where she served as an editor and strategist covering small business marketing content. She is a former Google Tech Entrepreneur and she holds an MSc in International Marketing from Edinburgh Napier University. Additionally, she manages a column at Inc. Magazine.

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