What Kind of Lawyer Should I Hire For My Car Accident Case?
When it comes to the decision on “what type of attorney to hire”, I would simply suggest that the analysis used is the same as that used when hiring any other type of professional.
The bottom line is that you are going to want to hire an individual with experience in the field.
The same way that you wouldn't hire an electrician to do a plumbing job, or a orthopedist to do an ear nose and throat procedure, you'll want to find a lawyer that has experience in the field of your concern. I'm often asked if personal injury is an area of expertise or specialization, or if there are some areas of expertise or specialization within the overall category of personal injury law. There are various ethical rules that talk about and govern the use of terms like specialist. So I'm using that term in its broadest conversational sense.
Personal injury lawyers may handle any of a number of sub-categories of injury case. For example: automobile accident cases, slip and fall cases, dog bite cases, product liability cases, assault cases and libel case. Some lawyers to hold themselves out as concentrating or focusing their practice in a particular area of law for example automobile accidents. But whatever the focus of a particular lawyer’s practice, the key question a prospective client should ask that lawyer is:
“How many of those type of cases have you personally handled?” A follow-up question would be: “How many of those cases have been in litigation and how many you taken to trial?”
I think it's a fair question to ask a lawyer that you are interviewing for a job how many years that lawyer has been in practice and how many years of practice experience they have handling personal injury cases. It's also a fair question to ask how many years of personal injury experience that lawyer has as a plaintiff's attorney as opposed to as a defense attorney. I’ve had many clients over the years that say they want to hire the “best” attorney. There is absolutely no problem with that. However, while there may be questions about how one defines “best”, the reality is if you are injured in automobile accident in Baltimore City or Baltimore County, it's simply not necessary for you to retain the foremost, nationally-recognized airline disaster law firm. In fact, a firm that handles multi-million dollar mass tort types of claims might actually be ill-suited to handle an automobile accident case. They might not be familiar with the procedures and the concepts involved. A barometer, and a fair barometer, of a lawyers skill set is not necessarily the dollar value involved in the cases that they handle. For example, take a person involved in an automobile accident involving a cervical and lumbar strain sprain who incurs less than $5,000 in medical expenses and a few hundred dollars in lost wages. That person may be, and I would argue will be, better served by hiring a lawyer who has handled hundreds or thousands of similar cases, than they would be by hiring a lawyer who has handled a single motor vehicle accident involving a trucking company with huge policy limits and obtained a recovery in excess of a million dollars. Now, the second lawyer has handled a big case and got a very good result for their client. However, the client should be looking at the lawyer who has handled or tried hundreds or perhaps thousands of more typical, routine day to day, usual and customary personal injury cases .That lawyer has been in the trenches, and has the hands-on type of experience that will most likely benefit the client. You should want the best, always. But the bottom line is the type of lawyer you should hire is the lawyer that has substantial experience handling cases identical to yours.
If it’s an auto accident, then you want a lawyer that has handled hundreds or thousands of auto accidents, and has litigated a lot of them.
Years of experience, and the scope of experience are important. A single really good result is important. I would suggest volume, however, the sheer number of cases handled and number of cases tried is just as significant a criterion , if not more so. I've handled thousands of cases over the years.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 7/10/20.
I extend a complimentary case analysis and free legal opinion on cases to all my potential clients. I'd be please to personally meet with you to discuss and the specifics facts, and law applicable to your claim. Contact me.