Just like in the game of basketball, not all players can be Michael Jordan.  They might all graduate from a top college.  Be a top pick in the NBA draft.  Score points and play defense but to be as good as Mike you have to have something special. 

It’s not that you need to find the Michael Jordan of car accident lawyers to help you settle your car accident claim, but it helps you have lawyers who meet some minimum levels of competence if you want to compete with insurance companies on maximizing your settlement. 

Some basic things to note should be the following:

  1. Make sure that your auto accident lawyer has experience.  The business is a tough one to be in and there are many lawyers who have that as part of their practice.  I wouldn’t go to my primary care physician just because he knows how to treat hand disorders.  I would go to a hand surgeon.  Likewise, your divorce lawyer or your tax lawyer may claim that they do car accident work as well, they are not going to be nearly as skilled as someone doing it as a lawyer who derives their only source of income from car accidents.  The sheer volume of cases required to maintain law practice that does car accident work provides the car accident lawyer with many opportunities to learn the best ways to navigate the claims.  They will already have a network of doctors in place to send you to and already know the adjuster at the insurance company who will provide you with your settlement.  If your car accident lawyer is a good person, he would have a good relationship already with the adjuster that will make your claim go smoother and faster.  
  2. Make sure your car accident lawyer has malpractice insurance.  Believe it or not some states do not mandate that attorneys have malpractice insurance.  So, if something happens to your case that is the fault of the attorney such as missing a filing deadline that throws your case out, you will not have a claim against the insurance company any more.  You would consider filing a malpractice suit against the lawyer that screwed it up.  But a malpractice lawyer is not going to take that case unless the lawyer who screwed it up is very wealthy or has malpractice insurance.  So, you want to make sure that the lawyer has at least $500,000 or more in malpractice insurance before you decide to hire him or her.  You can ask them to provide you with a valid certificate and you should contact their carrier to ensure the policy is still valid. 
  3. Finally, pick someone who is friendly and who has a friendly staff.  You want someone who is going to empathize with your situation, answer your calls timely and has staff that treats you kindly.  You are going through a lot right now and you deserve to be treated with kindness.  A lot of law firms “protect” the lawyers from talking with their clients.  You want a firm that doesn’t do that.  These cases can be marathons and not sprints, so you want to be running with someone you like the whole way past the finish line.  

With these three easy tips you should find that your claim process is much smoother and easier to manage psychologically (and in the event your lawyer does make a mistake you will be protected).