Ochs Law Firm Blog

13 Questions to Ask Your Auto Accident Attorney

The days following a car accident in Casper, Wyoming can be confusing, especially as you grapple with injuries. But one point is certain: you need to call an auto accident attorney. A lawyer can help protect your future by negotiating with the insurance company and/or taking your case to trial. Simply calling a Cody, Wyoming attorney isn’t enough, however – you must know the right questions to ask so you feel prepared as your case proceeds.

13 Questions to Ask Your Auto Accident Attorney in Casper, Wyoming, and Cody, Wyoming

1. How Can I Protect My Car Accident Case?

Lawyers commonly tell their clients to put pen to paper and provide a detailed account of the events leading up to the accident. Your lawyer may also ask you to preserve evidence from the accident – including taking pictures of the scene, noting nearby cross streets, and looking for banks or businesses with video surveillance that may have captured the accident on film.

In addition, an experienced auto accident attorney will likely advise you to be wary of the other driver’s insurance provider. You may be told not to provide a recorded statement to the adjuster until you and your attorney have collectively reviewed the facts of your accident.

2. What Deadlines Need to Be Met?

You’ll need to be aware of several deadlines when filing a car accident claim. First and foremost, you should know you have a limited amount of time in which to file your claim. This is known as a statute of limitations and, in Wyoming, a lawsuit must be filed within four years from the date of injury.

Although the lawsuit itself does not need to be resolved within this window, it does need to be initiated to protect your rights in seeking compensation. After this deadline, you can no longer seek legal recourse against the other driver. Your attorney will likewise need to meet multiple court-imposed deadlines throughout the course of your lawsuit.

3. How Long Will My Case Take?

A case can take anywhere from several weeks to over a year to resolve, whether through a settlement or trial. It takes time to ensure you receive fair financial compensation for your damages and injuries. Meanwhile, the other driver’s insurer will comb through each witness statement, photo, and other information provided to find flaws in your case.

4. How Often Can I Expect to Hear From You About My Case?

You need to know if your attorney will provide regular updates on your case. Also ask if check-ins will be in the form of in-person meetings, emails, or phone calls. Last but not least, ask if the attorney will provide you with updates or if you’ll regularly communicate with a paralegal. Establishing basic communication protocols at the onset of your case will help you avoid stress in the future.

5. How Can You Help My Case?

It’s important to remember this is your case and, ultimately, you have the most to lose or gain. Asking how an attorney can help will grant you access to their game plan. In turn, your lawyer should explain how your case will be handled and outline a step-by-step approach for negotiating with the insurance adjuster and, if necessary, going to trial. If you don’t receive this information, you may want to consider different representation.

6. What Damages Can I Recover?

No two auto accidents are the same, and the damages available to recover can vary greatly from case to case. A car accident lawsuit commonly seeks compensation for:
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses

With this in mind, your Cody, Wyoming, the lawyer should identify the damages you’re entitled to seek based on your injuries. They should also provide you with a baseline figure that will start their negotiations with the insurer.

7. Can I Recover Future Medical Expenses?

The injuries caused by a car accident can be permanent, long-lasting, or even worsen over time. An auto accident attorney should know if you will need ongoing and/or frequent visits to chiropractors, physical therapists, and other healthcare providers. 
By reviewing your medical records, a lawyer should also know whether your injuries will require surgery at some point. With all of this information in hand, they should craft a plan that will showcase to the court – assuming your case goes to trial – your future medical expenses.

8. What Do I Do If the Insurance Company Makes an Offer?

Insurance adjusters notoriously seek to pay as little as possible for auto accident injuries. Their goal is to protect the insurance company’s bottom line. It’s therefore unlikely they will offer a fair settlement initially. You can protect your right to equitable compensation by accepting an offer only after your attorney agrees you should. Otherwise, you’re likely to get cheated out of the money you may need in the future.

9. Will My Case Go to Trial?

The truth is that most cases settle out of court. In fact, most plaintiffs never even enter a courtroom. Your attorney should tell you this upfront but also assure you they will prepare for trial if your case needs to move in that direction. And they should speak confidently of their abilities to deal with the insurance adjuster outside of the court – even as they keep the possibility of litigation in the back of their mind.

10. How Can I Improve My Chances of Success?

Many people believe that once they hire an attorney, they need to simply wait for the settlement check to arrive. Just the opposite, your Casper, Wyoming lawyer will need you to play an active role in your case. This may mean speaking with investigators or seeing additional physicians. Asking how you can serve the success of your case will help you understand your part in the legal process and remain engaged with your attorney.

11. What Is Your Specialty Area of Knowledge? 

You can find any number of attorneys in Cody, Wyoming, but not all will have the skill and experience to navigate your case to a favorable resolution. Different attorneys specialize in different legal areas. You want a firm that understands the complexities of a personal injury case – and who can negotiate with the insurance adjuster using a cool and calm demeanor.

12. Who Will Actually Work on My Case?

It’s important to understand the lawyer you initially meet with may not be the one who will handle most of your case. Many times, junior partners or even paralegals complete much of the necessary paperwork. Rest assured these people are well-qualified and have been thoroughly vetted by a senior partner. But the fact remains that you need to know up-front who will be handling your lawsuit so you don’t feel surprised later down the road.

13. Do You Think My Personal Injury Case Is a Strong One?

To recover damages in your case, you and your attorney must show the other driver was negligent and breached their duty of care by failing to act in a reasonably careful manner. You must also prove these behaviors caused the accident. If your case isn’t airtight, your lawyer may recommend you settle with the insurance company. Either way, you should get your attorney’s opinion of your case right at the onset.

If you’ve been involved in an auto accident in Casper, Wyoming – or anywhere throughout the state – one of the first things you should do is contact our office. We specialize in personal injury cases and have nearly two decades of experience protecting the rights of our clients. Schedule your consultation today by contacting Ochs Law Firm.

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Jason E. Ochs

Jason began his legal career in 2002 with a national multi-district litigation law firm in Newport Beach, California. There he worked on a variety of high-profile, complex-litigation projects including pharmaceutical and medical-device litigation across the country.

The Ochs Law Firm epitomizes professionalism and commitment to all of our clients, regardless of the size of the case or the might of the Defendant. We practice in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and California in personal injury litigation, medical malpractice, defective products, class action lawsuits, Qui Tam lawsuits, litigation across multiple districts, bad faith insurance, and civil litigation.

We look forward to providing top quality service and representation for you and your family.