Becoming the victim of an auto accident can have a profound effect on your life. Even though an accident can happen in the span of a few seconds, it can result in death or injuries and hardships that last months, years, or a lifetime. With that in mind, victims of auto accidents should seek an attorney to ensure that they are compensated for their injuries and/or losses. However, not every attorney is qualified to handle every case. Clients should ensure that they receive the representation that they deserve. Here are five things to consider when hiring a Maryland car accident attorney:
History of Results
Car accident claims are about money. That’s it. The car accident lawyer’s goal has to be to maximize the amount of money the client can put in their pocket. There is no reason to run from this. Our civil justice system is based on the payment of money compensation to balance out the harm that was caused. The point is that you want a law firm that has the goal of getting you as much money as possible and has a history of doing it for their clients.
So when dealing with an accident claim, why jeopardize your potential recovery by placing it in the hands of an attorney (or law firm) without a proven track-record of obtaining money for clients? Really, it is like putting a high school kid in center field for the Baltimore Orioles. While skill obviously matters when looking for a lawyer, anyone with a potential auto accident claim must seek the help of an attorney who can turn that skill into results for their client.
One word of caution. So many lawyers have big verdicts and settlements on their website. Did they handle the case? I’ve seen lawyers that referred cases to us tout on their website of the result we got for their clients. How do they do that? Technically, they are also lawyers on that case. Ask the hard questions. Did you handle the case? Would your clients in those cases talk to me about what you did for them?
- Does Miller & Zois have a history of results? You know, I think we do.
In any auto accident case, the need for an experienced attorney is a no-brainer. You need a lawyer with experience representing plaintiffs in these types of cases. But how can you figure out who has real experience and who is just running television commercials so frequently that people just assume they have experience?
First, go back to results, right? There are a lot of lawyers that get good results because they get so many cases via good marketing because they are bound to get a few good scores just like a blind squirrel will still find acorns. But it is still a pretty reliable barometer to use as a threshold test.
Next, try to get a flavor of how they are viewed in the legal community. We always tell prospective clients to call other lawyers and ask for a list of names of the other law firms that handle these cases well. Most lawyers will answer honestly and you will hear the same few firms over and over again.
Finally, read what they write online. Are they really providing information that makes sense that you can use? Do they seem like lawyers who will fight for and stand behind their clients?
Knowledge and Resources
You are probably starting to see how interwoven these categories are. Our law firm offers free consultations on your case. So does pretty much every other personal injury lawyer in Maryland. So take plaintiffs’ lawyer up on this offer. Talk to them. You might not understand Maryland accident law and the best path through the system. But I bet you are smart enough to figure out who knows what they are talking about. Again, also read what they put online.
Certainly, it is not a full proof plan. I found great information on websites from lawyers who I do not think are qualified to handle the cases on which they are speaking quite eloquently. They probably cut and pasted their wisdom from somewhere. But, in combination with these other factors, it is a good gauge of who is who. Our firm puts our work online. You can see our depositions. You can read our trial transcripts. We have videos online where we talk about these cases. Evaluate us and evaluate other lawyers, too.
Everyone wants a lawyer who respects them and will fight for them. That’s obvious. The question is how to find the lawyer and how do you find and evaluate which lawyer will do that for you. You can look at testimonials, sure, but they do not give you a great flavor. On-line reviews are very misleading because you either have a firm who is pushing for online reviews which might give you an incorrect impression or you are listening to a few angry people who usually are just upset that the firm investigated their case and then declined to represent them. The best thing you can do is talk to the lawyer and ask the hard questions about the type of service you are going to receive.
You need someone with extensive knowledge of auto accident claims, vast experience of settling and trying cases, exemplary client satisfaction, and a track record of getting monetary awards for its clients. One gauge is the legal awards. The attorneys at Miller & Zois, for example, have been recognized by all of the major outlets that give out legal distinctions for Maryland personal injury lawyers: “SuperLawyers,” “Best Lawyers in America,” and “Avvo” and so forth.
I’m proud of these awards. These are useful, up to a point. But only up to a point. I certainly don’t think my inclusion on these lists is a critical component of why I’m qualified to handle your case. I think you really need to talk to other lawyers to find out who the big players are in Maryland injury cases and, circling back one more time, look at the results these lawyers have gotten.
Hiring Miller & Zois
If you are the victim of an auto accident, or an attorney looking to refer an auto accident case, contact Miller & Zois at 410-553-6000. We offer a free initial consultation for clients and have the tools required to successfully argue your case.