What Personal Injury Lawyer Should You NOT Choose?
Obviously, you might think me a little biased if I explained why we are a good choice if you have been seriously injured, especially if you or someone you love has suffered a head injury, or been the victim of a reckless trucking company or premises owner. But, I thought it might be useful if I could give some tips of types of plaintiff’s attorneys, or injury lawyers, that you might avoid. It is important to note that I know many excellent and honest attorneys in this practice area, but with every field—there are always some to avoid.
Avoid Cheesy Gimmicks
First of all, avoid anyone who with seriousness and gusto, declares themselves a law “animal,” refers to themselves as a tool (although, ironically, this description might fit), or utilizes any other gimmicky name. The problem is not so much in the name, but might be the business model that they choose. Often, with these firms that use billboards all over town and non-stop commercials, they are reaching a wide swath of people and bring in many cases. They often have call centers just to handle the number of incoming calls. This is not a problem if the law firm is only taking on a certain number of cases. But unfortunately, many times these attorney’s take in a large number of cases and use the “style of business” referred to as “churn and burn.” Meaning, they take in a lot of cases and settle them quickly for less value than the case is probably worth if it had been worked up right.
Hire Someone Who Is Willing To Fight, Rather Than Settle
As a result, the attorney still makes a good amount of money because he or she is moving so many cases—but each individual client will make less, as their case will have been settled for less than its actual value. And, of course, the insurance companies are never stupid when it comes to paying out their money, so they are well aware of which firms practice like that. Since they know these law firms are not willing to fight it out, they know they can give them low-ball offers and get away with it. In fact, insurance companies keep stats on each attorney they deal with, how often they go to trial, how often they win, and whether they are willing to take low offers.
Don’t Settle for Less Than What Your Case Is Actually Worth
Another issue with many of the firms you see advertising constantly is they are what are referred to as “settlement mills” in our business. This is related to churning and burning cases but just refers to the fact that they only settle cases and do not take anything to trial. This might seem like a great thing at first. Who doesn’t want to settle their case and avoid trial? The problem is the cumulative effect of settling so many cases. The insurance companies know that you are not willing to take it all the way to trial, so they can offer less money than they would to an attorney they know has no problem taking it to trial.
So, what happens in the cases where they do not get enough money offered to even talk their unsuspecting client into taking the settlement? Your case usually will just be dropped or possibly referred to another firm. This other firm might or might not have the resources and time to work your case right. And, of course, they are starting behind the ball as they are late in the game picking up your case.
Things to Consider Before Hiring A Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury claims apply to a wide range of situations and types of accidents. You may have been injured by a slip and fall on someone’s property, in a car accident, or by being bitten by stranger’s dog. If your injuries are serious, you should hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your claim.
- How Find a Personal Injury Lawyer
As you search for a lawyer, start by asking friends and colleagues for references. A referral service can also help you to locate a reputable law firm. However, make sure that you always check the online reviews of attorneys to ensure that the firm doesn’t have a shady past.
If any attorneys contact you wanting to represent you in your personal injury claim after you have suffered an accident, keep in mind that it is illegal for attorneys to solicit business in this way. Ambulance chasers should be avoided at all costs.
- Understand Your Personal Responsibilities
As a client, you have many responsibilities. Seek necessary medical care and remain in compliance with your doctor’s recommendations – your health and well-being are the top priority. Ensure that your medical bills are properly submitted to your health insurance company. Keep your lawyer updated on the progress of your medical care and treatments. Finally, be honest and candid with your attorney. Your lawyer can only help you as much as you let him or her.
- Request the Paperwork Needed for Your Case
In order to represent you in your personal injury claim, your lawyer will require a significant amount of paperwork. Gather these important documents, including:
Medical records (related pre-existing conditions and test results);
Accident/Collision report, if the police were involved;
Pictures (take pictures of all injuries and property damage)
Details about the incident (date, location, time, weather/road conditions);
Car Insurance policy information for yourself and the other party;
Breakdown of your lost income/wages resulting from the accident.
The better prepared you are for your case, even before you have consulted a lawyer, the better off you’ll be.
- Time Is of the Essence
Lawsuits have strict time limits, known as “statutes of limitations.” If you delay, you may be forever barred from seeking compensation for your injuries. Act promptly and do not wait to file your claim!
Key Qualities To Look For In A Personal Injury Lawyer
What are the qualities I should look for in a personal injury lawyer?
The best personal injury lawyers view law as a helping profession and not merely as a business. Many of the outstanding personal injury lawyers I have met are motivated by the opportunity to solve problems for injured people and their families. Good lawyers will do what is best for their injured clients and their families. Often this means working very long hours and taking a case to trial, and if necessary, to an appellate court. Some cases simply cannot reasonably be settled for an amount that is fair to the injured person.
The very best personal injury lawyers have earned the respect of their peers in their profession. These lawyers who have been identified as the top of their profession by Best Lawyers in America. Lawyers are listed in this national publication only because judges and lawyers familiar with their work have identified them as among the best in their field. Lawyers who spend large amounts of money on TV and other marketing ventures cannot buy their way into this publication.
Choose a lawyer with extensive experience in the courtroom. The lawyers with the experience, knowledge and talent to present your case to a jury are the lawyers who are in the best position to settle your case without the need for a jury verdict. Be careful. Many of the lawyers who spend a large amount of money marketing on TV have no reputation for success in the courtroom. Insurance companies and the lawyers who defend insurance companies, not surprisingly, know the lawyers who always settle their cases. They also know who will do whatever work is necessary to achieve a just result for those injured because of negligence.
Choose a lawyer who cares about you and is available to educate you and answer every question you may have during this difficult time in your life.
Whether your personal injury case is a dog bite or a car accident you want to make sure you are picking a lawyer with experience in personal injury cases. A lawyer with experience in these specific types of cases will have the expertise to provide you with sound advice and help you reach a resolution. Personal injury lawyers have experience dealing with insurance companies and medical experts so they can focus on your claim while you place your efforts on recovering.
The success record and reputation is another essential factor to consider when selecting a personal injuries lawyer. Do not be afraid to ask how many cases your lawyer has won or look for testimonials. Online review sites are another great way to find reviews on the performance of the lawyer you are considering and help you spot any potential red flags.
When you meet with a personal injuries lawyer, their personality should make you comfortable and you should find it easy to communicate with them. You will be working with this person throughout the duration of your case, and you want to make sure you are selecting someone that will be easy to work with. If you do not like the personality or communication style of your lawyer, it may make it difficult for you to work with them and open up about all the details of your injuries causing a negative impact on your case.
How You Can Find The Best Personal Injury Lawyer
- Ask Lawyers You Already Know.
Although you may have never needed an attorney before, you might know some attorneys socially. In this case, it doesn’t matter if the attorneys that you know are your best friends or the parents of another child at your child’s school. In most cases, caring and compassionate attorneys will be happy to help you with a referral.
Even if they don’t work in personal injury, most lawyers have extensive networks of other lawyers that they know. Many lawyers are also a part of specialty organizations, like female attorney groups or legal alumni associations.
An excellent way to start your research on finding a personal injury lawyer is to ask lawyers you already know who they trust. If the attorneys you know don’t know any personal injury lawyers, it’s still likely they’ve heard good things about some through reputation. Asking lawyers you know is a great way to get a few names.
- Ask Friends And Family.
If you happen not to know any attorneys, you may wish to ask friends or family if they do. Unfortunately, personal injury cases aren’t so uncommon. You may know someone who has needed a personal injury lawyer themselves.
If your friends and family have been lucky enough never to need a personal injury lawyer, they may know other types of lawyers that they can introduce you to so that you can start your search with recommendations.
- Call Your State (Or City) Bar.
All state bar organizations, and sometimes city bar organizations, have an attorney referral service. In most cases, this is a number that consumers can call to describe what type of lawyer they need.
Either an automated system or an actual person will be able to direct you to licensed personal injury lawyers in your state.