How Do You Choose a Car Accident Attorney in Charleston, SC And Summerville, SC? The Benefit of the Solo Practitioner.

Posted by Jay McMillian | Oct 23, 2017 | 3 Comments


Finding a car accident attorney in South Carolina is quite easy on the surface. Daily you are bombarded with advertising in the form of television ads, billboards, and radio ads from multiple personal injury attorneys wanting to "show you the money". These ads are usually produced by larger personal injury firms who may have hundreds of active cases at one time. These larger car accident firms generally have marketing budgets that run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly. Therefore, they have to take on, settle and / or go trial with a high volume of cases in order to meet overhead and marketing costs. The demands of the finances of the operation of the large car accident firm and the scarcity of time and resources usually means two things may and can happen. First, your case may fall into the "settlement mill" of a large firm and the "speedy payout" takes precedent over the actual value of your case. Second, there is no possible way that you, the client, can build any type of relationship with your lawyer and insure that all communication and service is provided in the most efficient and candid manner.

An experienced car accident attorney in a small firm understands two essential tasks: 

  • How to value a claim and fight for you against the profit motive and stall tactics of the big insurance company; and
  • Communicating and building a relationship with the client so that the client's needs are always in the forefront

The McMillian Law Firm is known for compassionate and effective legal representation. Call us now at (843) 900-1306 or use the online form to schedule your free no-obligation case evaluation today.


The first step is to decide as a client, what style and type of representation do you want.

Some potential clients actually prefer the "super-size" firm that runs the hourly TV ads. They want the comfort of knowing that there is a team of people working, in theory, on their case. Its a mix between the large accident firm being a "brand name" and the belief that equates size to success. The potential client who chooses the "super-size" car accident firm will primarily be working with a support staff of paralegals and administrators, with only the most delicate of matters (depositions, trial, settlement agreements) actually being handled by an attorney. Potential clients to the "super-size" personal injury firms most often will not ever meet or possibly even lay eyes on the attorney who is the "star"of the television ads. The "grunt work" in the large firms is usually passed of to a junior associate. 

The second possibility, and something that is becoming more of a trend, is for potential clients to choose smaller and more intimate law firms to handle their injury claims from car accidents. As lawyers, we call these "boutique firms." A "boutique firm" is a small practice that can be anywhere from 1 to 5 lawyers who practice in a few specific areas and operate from an entirely different set of service beliefs. The entire mindset behind the operation of the smaller car accident "boutique firm" is that we do not have to be a "litigation mill." In fact the system is set up so that we can comfortably handle a smaller portfolio in exchange for having a more personal relationship with the client. The "boutique firm" is able to deliver the same expertise as the "super-size" firm but with the added bonus that the client has access to their lawyer at anytime. I pride myself in that I am able to communicate regularly with my clients, able to build trust, and give me clients the comfort of knowing that they can find "their lawyer" when it is necessary. 


Once you have decided on the type of car accident firm to hire, the next step is do the research on the possible candidates. The best place to begin this research of course is to visit the websites for each candidate. Also, do a Facebook search and see if the firm has a business page listed. Google and Yelp are also helpful, they may have reviews from former clients.

Referrals are of course the most traditional method of choosing a car accident attorney. Referrals are still the most reliable source of reference. If you are someone who has needed an attorney in the past but in another practice area, ask that attorney for a referral to a car accident attorney. Even attorneys who specialize their practice often stay in touch with colleagues in other practice areas and would be happy to give you a referral.  If you have never had the need to hire an attorney, ask other professionals you may use, such as accountants, or medical providers, or therapists. These professions often overlap with the prosecution of a car accident case and a referral from these sources are often very viable. As a last resort, ask court personnel in the County Clerk of Court's office for any leads and for information about the quality of the work performed by the prospective attorney.


One thing that many of my lawyer colleagues have forgotten over the course of time is that you choose the lawyer, not the other way around. The client and the lawyer have to understand that the consultation is just not for gathering information on the law and the value of the injury claim, it is also a way to feel each other out. The client and the lawyer must walk away from the consultation convinced that they are comfortable working with each other. Knowing all the law in the world does not help either party if they can not communicate effectively with each other. 

The Number One Ethical Complaint Lodged Against Lawyers is For Failure to Communicate About the Status of the Case

The ability of the car accident attorney to effectively communicate with the client throughout the handling of the accident claim is absolutely necessary for a positive outcome. 

When you decide to contact a car accident attorney and attend a consultation, ask these questions. They will help you form a baseline on exactly how much access you, as the client, will have to your lawyer. 

  • How long have you practiced law?
  • How many areas of the law do you practice in. What percentage of your practice is in car accidents?
  • How many cases do you handle at one time?
  • Will you be the only attorney working on my case?
  • Do you do all the work on my case or are tasks delegated to paralegals and other staff?
  • How do you communicate with clients?
  • How can you be reached? Phone, email, and / or text?
  • What type of fee agreement do you work under? What is your contingency fee percentage?


After you have finished meeting with all of the possible candidates, choose the car accident attorney that:

  • You personally felt most comfortable with and had the easiest time communicating with;
  • You felt had enough expertise and experience to provide competent legal services;
  • You felt was able to explain the law and the process in terms and language that you could easily understand;
  • Clearly explained the fee agreement and compensation arrangement and provided you a written copy of the agreement; and
  • Took the time necessary to allow you to fully explain the effects of the injuries on all facets of your life. The car accident attorney is genuinely interested in the quality of your life and took the time to explore your personal situation (family, work, social engagements) and understands how the issues are part of the larger legal process.


Contact Jay McMillian at The McMillian Law Firm. Once you have obtained legal representation on your matter, the insurance company must cease direct contact and deal with your lawyer instead. Contact me as soon as possible so that I may conduct a site visit of the accident and begin to obtain witness statements, police reports, and all relevant materials I need to build your case towards an acceptable settlement or trial. 

It is never too early to contact me! Each and every day is a day the insurance company will try and short-change your claim. I am available for home visits, hospital visits, nights and weekends, just let me know what works for you. 

If you have been involved in a car accident and live in Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, North Charleston, Summerville, James Island, Johns Island, West Ashley, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner, Walterboro, Folly Beach, or any of the other fine communities of the South Carolina Low Country, contact The McMillian Law Firm now!! 843-900-1306 or email at [email protected]


About the Author

Jay McMillian

Background I chose to build my law practice in the areas of Car Accident and Personal Injury because these areas of the law are the most accurate reflection of my values and my upbringing. Being the son of a breakfast hostess and a retired US Army Sargent turned construction worker, the values instilled upon me by my par...


Kiara Woodsland Reply

Posted Jan 23, 2018 at 21:51:21

I like that you talked about how you can consider researching about the auto accident lawyers that you’re considering to hire by checking their websites and reviews from different search engines. My brother got involved in an auto accident last night that caused him to be hospitalized. At the moment, I’m looking to hire an auto accident attorney that can help my brother to file a complaint against the party that was at fault of the accident. This is to make sure that he’ll be properly compensated for what happened. It will make sense for me to help my brother find an auto accident lawyer that has a track record of satisfied clients to ensure a favorable outcome for my brother. I will make sure to share your blog with him. http://www.bjhmaldenlaw.com/auto-accident-law

Jay McMillian Reply

Posted Jan 24, 2018 at 04:29:36

Kiara – First of all, thank you for taking the time to comment on this article. You have absolutely hit on the main point I was trying to make in the article. Accident victims often time fall prey to the “television lawyer” or the “mega-accident firm” who quite frankly operate on a model of quick turnover and volume to sustain their business model. However, if the accident victim wants personalized attention, wants every single detail investigated and looked over, and wants a true partnership in resolving the injury claim, that is where I feel that a small firm, like mine, can really benefit the victim. It is a contrast of styles and a contrast in effort by the lawyers. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience at 843-900-1306 or email me at [email protected] if you would like to schedule a free consultation for your brother of if you have any legal questions that you would like answered. It would be my pleasure to help in anyway possible. Thank you for your input.

Callum Palmer Reply

Posted Mar 19, 2018 at 18:43:04

I think it is awesome that you go over some of the questions that you need to ask when consulting with a lawyer. The one about whether or not they will be the only one working on your case is especially important. After all, when you’re dealing with an auto accident case you’d ideally want the same attorney working on the whole thing. http://www.rwolfflaw.com/auto-accidents/

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The McMillian Law Firm

Attorney Jay McMillian operates a solo practice with an emphasis on two core principles. First, to provide competent legal advice in the areas of Auto Accident and Personal Injury Law to the people he is proudest to serve, the people of the South Carolina Low Country. Second, to provide the most personal and intimate service to each and every client and give them the attention and compassion that they deserve while going through the stress and strain of negotiating or litigating an injury claim. If you live in Charleston, Summerville, Mount Pleasant, Goose Creek, James Island, Walterboro, Moncks Corner, and you or someone you love has been injured by the negligence of another, please call Jay at The McMillian Law Firm today.

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