Like any other US city, car accidents occur in Baltimore every single day. In fact, according to the Baltimore Sun, 520 deaths were reported in 2015 alone.
While some accidents are fender benders, others are fatal and a bigger percentage involves injuries. Unfortunately, most drivers seldom admit fault. They often come up with tons of excuses about why the accidents are not their faults.
As you’ve probably guessed, insurance companies then get involved. And the situation even becomes worse! Insurance companies handle tens of car crash claims in a day. If you have never handled a car wreck before, you will begin to realize that your focus and that of the insurance company representative are completely different. While you want your life back, the insurance representative is focused on how the company can pay as little as possible or shift blame to you where it is possible. It is literally a battle zone.
Even more unsettling is when you call your family physician (in case you are hurt) and you get this kind of reply: “Unfortunately, I don’t handle car accident cases”. Now, you can’t go to work, your car is damaged and sitting in some tow yard and they are charging you by the day! What can you do?
You will definitely look for a car accident lawyer.
The good news is that car accident lawyers are everywhere. You’ve probably seen their signs all over Baltimore and heard their catchy slogans on podcasts, but just because they have the money to push these adverts doesn’t mean that they are best in the industry.
By now, you are probably thinking, “So, how do I find the best and I am a greenhorn when it comes to hiring lawyers?”
Don’t fret; here are practical tips that you can leverage to find the best car accident lawyer for your claim:
1. Start with Referrals
What is the first thing that you do when you want to try a new restaurant or when you want to hire an electrical company? You will first ask your family and close associates for a recommendation, right?
Referrals are one of the most important steps for finding any kind of contractor, including car accident lawyers. Considering that so many accidents happen in Baltimore every year, it is quite a safe bet that someone you probably know needed the help of a car accident attorney at some point.
What’s more, getting recommendations can help you narrow your options. Sometimes, what’s important is a place to start.
2. Avoid Jack-Of-All-Trades
Whenever you search for “best car accident lawyers in Baltimore,” you’ll come across tons of websites. The truth is, some of the attorneys that you’ll find on these websites are jacks-of-all-trades. They are ready to defend you today in a car accident case, and tomorrow if your neighbor’s teenager is caught with a pound of marijuana, they will still be ready to represent them.
Avoid such lawyers when you can because they simply lack a deep understanding of the car accident industry. You may not get all the compensation that you deserve because such lawyers might end up filing evidence the wrong way, ultimately creating an opportunity for the defense team.
3. Contact Past Clients
When you are doing your search online, you will come across review sites or forums where lawyers brag about their “high” success rates. Don’t fall for such gimmicks; take your time and speak to their past clients to verify whether or not the claimed success rates are true. But how do you find a lawyer’s past clients? Simply check whether there are people who have left reviews about the lawyer and send them a brief email detailing your intentions.
4. Visit The Lawyers Website
One of the simplest ways of telling whether a business is legit or a scam is spending a few minutes on their websites. Check how the website is organized, their blog activity, the types of articles that they post, how people interact with their articles and whether their posts are presented in polished grammar or formatted professionally. Are the internal links on various pages active and directing you to the right landing pages?
Dubious websites have weird structures and unusually bright colors. You’ll be bombarded with tons of ads and pop-ups that are even irrelevant to the services you are looking for. You will also get tens of broken links and navigation buttons that don’t work. And when you read the articles that they post, you’ll notice glaring errors that make you question the attorney’s seriousness.
5. A Lecturer Or A Published Car Accident Lawyer Is A Good Bet
Ask the lawyer you plan to work with to share a few of his or her works that have been published in magazines or personal injury journals. Alternatively, enquire if they have been interviewed on any TV show or whether they have a presentation they are proud of. If the lawyers have not been published anywhere, never given any personal injury-related presentation, and never been hosted on any TV show, take keen interest of anything that they claim to know about the industry.
In fact, you can ask them to share their education and qualifications, especially if their online portfolios don’t list such details. If they hesitate to get you this information, then you should definitely know that they may not be the best lawyer for your Baltimore car accident case.
6. Are They Active Members Of Any State Or National Trail Lawyers Organization?
Another important tip that’s closely related to education and qualification is a membership to industry groups and organizations. Any serious Baltimore attorney collaborates with and learns from other stakeholders in their industry. In today’s difficult environment where insurance companies are not afraid to use dubious means to make their clients look bad, it pays to hire a lawyer with network and one who understands the ins and outs of the industry. A lawyer who is not affiliated to any reputable industry group or organization cannot promise much.
7. Is The Attorney Ready To Go To Trial?
Find out if the car accident lawyer you plan to hire is ready to go to trial if necessary. If the lawyer prefers to refer cases to other trial attorneys, you should know beforehand lest you get in a contract that you don’t understand. Strive to know, for instance, whether referral to a trial attorney will increase the fees that you will finally pay. Most importantly, you need to know who will see your case through to the jury verdict.
8. Know The Firm’s Fee Structure
Most car accident lawyers in Baltimore tend to create their fee structures on a case by case basis. Before you sign any contract with an attorney, understand the fee structure that they will use in the case. Will they charge hourly, contingency, or a mixture of both? Note that if they are charging on a contingency basis then they shouldn’t expect any payment until they win you money in the settlement. In other words, there is no cost that you will incur if they cannot get you any money in the end. It can be a good offer compared to an hourly basis because it will always incentivize your attorney to focus on your case and ensure that you get a good outcome.
Picking a car accident lawyer in Baltimore isn’t different from choosing any other contractor or professional. Start with referrals, get someone with experience, talk to their past clients, do some background check on their services, and go with a specialist.
The above-highlighted tips are just the proverbial tips of the iceberg when it comes to secrets of finding the best Baltimore car accident lawyer. Most importantly, and irrespective of the attorney you choose, always remember that you are a client and ultimate decision rests with you. Don’t allow anyone to arm-twist you.