Finding a good car accident lawyer in Maryland is no easy task. Many lawyers use expensive TV ads to boast of their successes or invest thousands of dollars in glitzy websites. In the traumatic aftermath of a car wreck, injured motorists often feel they lack the time to research attorneys. They frequently call the first lawyer they see in the ads. This is a serious mistake.
Hiring an attorney who is not up to the task of representing you is one of the worst things you can do. The insurance companies have the money for in-house lawyers who specialize in personal injury claims. A lawyer’s skill, experience, and expertize will directly affect the amount of money you recover. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we have represented hundreds of people who were hurt in car accidents. We will take your injury case all the way to trial if necessary.
Baltimore car accident lawyer Randolph Rice is here to explain how to know which lawyer is best for you.
Common Mistakes People Make in Choosing a Car Accident Lawyer
Choosing a car accident injury lawyer is an important decision. Sadly, many accident victims rush it and fail to do the necessary research.
Relying on Ads
The law firm that spends the most on ads may not be the best firm for you. Some attorneys are style over substance. They work on a high volume of cases and assume a quick turnover. These attorneys are more interested in obtaining a settlement than securing the right settlement for you. Auto accident victims should beware of so-called “settlement mills” or “factory law firms.” They are eager to get onto the next client and may treat you as a number. Settlement mills are in the business of settling cases fast to pay for their expensive advertising budgets.
Don’t believe everything the attorney says in his or her ad. Look below the surface. Read client testimonials and reviews. Seek out people who used the lawyer in the past.
Failing to Shop Around
People shopping around for a new car seldom buy the first one they see or test drive. However, some accident victims opt for the first lawyer a friend recommends or the first attorney they meet. Many car accident victims are in pain and desperate for someone to take on their case. Don’t let your discomfort affect your decision making. Clients who meet a handful of attorneys before signing a contract and ask probing questions are more likely to find a good car accident lawyer.
Hiring a General Practice Lawyer
Personal injury is a specialized area of the law. While a car accident lawyer may operate in a handful of related areas, avoid hiring a general practice lawyer. The attorney who advised you on your will is probably not the best person to fight the insurance company in an auto accident case. You would not allow your GP to perform brain surgery on you. A good car accident lawyer is usually one with a long track record of car accident injury results.
Not Hiring an Attorney with Courtroom Trial Experience
Most car accident injury cases don’t end up before a judge or a jury. However, your attorney should be prepared to take your case all the way to trial if necessary. If the insurance company lawyers know you hired counsel with no courtroom experience, they may assume your case will never make it to trial. They are less likely to give you a good offer. Hire a trial attorney even if you think your case won’t get that far. Some insurance companies are unreasonable. Taking your case all the way to the courtroom is the best course of action on occasions.
Paying a Lawyer Up Front
Most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency basis. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we won’t ask for money up front. We operate on a ‘no win, no fee basis.’ Car accident cases are different from family matters in this respect. You should not pay upfront for the services of a car accident lawyer in Maryland or another state.
Hiring a Lawyer with Too Many Cases
Car accident claims can be very complicated, depending on the extent of the injuries, whether facts are disputed, and the number of parties involved. The intricate stages of a case include fact-finding, discovery, depositions and possible mediation. Hiring a lawyer who is overwhelmed by his or her workload can harm your case.
The attorney may cut corners, fail to give your case the time or attention it deserves, or seek a speedy settlement that’s not in your best interest. It’s not always easy to find out if a lawyer has a heavy workload. From the outset, ask how much time will be devoted to your case and how many other cases the lawyer has. Check out reviews and ask to talk to the lawyer’s previous clients. If the attorney will not put you in touch with former clients, he or she may have something to hide.
Failing to do Research
When shopping around for a good car accident lawyer in Maryland, check out a range of sources. Read reviews from clients and listings on lawyer directory sites like Avvo, Martindale-Hubbell, and Super Lawyers. Research previous cases won by the attorney on the law firm’s website. Find out what percentage of cases are referred to an injury lawyer from other attorneys. Good injury lawyers receive a large number of referrals within the legal profession.
Hiring a Lawyer You Dislike
Personal injury cases involve long meetings and painstaking details. No matter how stellar a lawyer’s reputation, you should avoid attorneys you dislike or those you won’t feel comfortable working with. Often you will get a gut feeling from the outset about whether you like a lawyer and can have a good working relationship. Your attorney should be patient and understanding about the ordeal you went through.
Failing to Vet Support Staff
Paralegals and legal assistants often update clients on the status of their cases and ensure the channels of communications between car accident claimants and lawyers remain open. They are the people you will initially talk to about your case. You should meet an attorney’s legal assistant or paralegal at an initial conference. Ask yourself if the support staff member is somebody you can work with.
Questions to Ask a Car Accident Lawyer in Maryland
Most people who end up injured in car accidents knew very little about insurance claims or lawyers before they were hurt. The insurance companies thrive on the ignorance of hurt motorists. They assume people who are injured will be desperate for cash and will take the first offer. Unfortunately, this is often the case. A lump sum can appear high until you work out your medical costs and the money you will lose for time off work.
A good car accident lawyer will carefully explain the process to you. He or she may not be able to tell you exactly what your case is worth. But the lawyer will recognize and advise on a reasonable and an unreasonable offer.
You should be prepared to ask a series of probing questions during an initial interview with an attorney. Questions should include the following:
- How many years have you practiced personal injury law?
- What kinds of injuries have you dealt with? If you suffered a spinal injury or a brain injury, ask the attorney if he or she ever dealt with similar cases.
- How many car accident victims do you represent every year?
- Does your practice include other areas of the law?
- Which law school did you attend and when did you graduate?
- What are your ratings on services like Avvo and Martindale-Hubbell? How is your firm rated by the Better Business Bureau?
- Can you talk to previous clients?
- Do you belong to bar associations and professional organizations?
- How often do you handle similar cases?
Baltimore, MD Car Accident Lawyers You Can Trust
Finding a good car accident lawyer in Maryland is not as easy as you may believe. There are plenty of lawyers in the market for your case. However, not all of them will be a good fit for you. The personal injury process is also a two way one. In some cases, lawyers reject potential clients due to a wide range of reasons.
At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we offer free consultations for people who were involved in car accidents. They may be drivers, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists or others. Please call us today at (410) 694-7291.