Finding a Personal Injury Attorney
The Importance of Having an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Those who suffer a personal injury because of the negligence of another are entitled to seek compensation for damages. It seems simple enough to imagine that those responsible for committing the act(s) that caused the injury to occur would pay for any damages, but it’s not always this simple. Many times the responsible party is represented by an insurance company. Lawyers who work for the insurance company generally have one goal in mind; to limit the financial responsibility of the insurance company to the lowest possible amount.
Although insurance companies are here to protect us and help us when unexpected accidents occur, the insurance companies are also operating for a profit. Many insurance companies are overwhelmed with illegitimate claims from individuals attempting to defraud the insurance provider. As an attempt to fight these fraudulent claims, as well as to maximize their profits, insurance companies will fight every claim with an equal amount of diligence (imagine it as “guilty until proven innocent”). Though this type of diligence is needed to discourage fraudulent claims, many times it will prevent valid and legitimate claims from getting the compensation they rightfully deserve. This can be devastating for individuals who suffer from personal injuries that leave them financially destitute or with long-term pain and suffering.
What to Look for in a Personal Injury Attorney
The only way for you to ensure the best possible outcome of your claim is to find an experienced personal injury attorney with a proven track record of successfully handling personal injury cases for their clients. Knowledge gained from experience and a proven track record of success is the only thing you can trust when searching for an attorney to represent you.
Take a look below to learn more information about the qualities to look for in a personal injury attorney.
It’s not enough to just find a personal injury attorney to represent your claim. You need an attorney who has a significant amount of experience in dealing with actual cases, as well as trial experience. Experience in personal injury cannot be supplemented; it can only achieved through years of courtroom experience and working with a wide variety of different cases and claims, as well as achieving large verdicts and settlements for their previous clients.
Questions to Ask When Looking to Find a Personal Injury Attorney:
Do they handle cases themselves or will they refer your case to another firm?
Note: This is a major factor in identifying a good personal injury attorney. With as many law firms as we have in California, some attorneys will present themselves as being extremely knowledgeable in personal injury law and in dealings with injury cases, but in fact have little to no experience in actually handling cases. Simply put, they can talk the talk but they can’t walk the walk.
These attorneys will push hard to get your case, they may talk about huge verdicts, or taking your case to trial, but in fact they have no intention of personally handling your case or even taking your case to trial. They will accept you as a client and gain legal rights to handle your case but then will refer your case to outside firm in exchange for a percentage of any settlement earned from the case. The outside firm will generally be a lawsuit factory, submitting multiple amounts of lawsuits in which they do little work on with the hopes of winning just a few to make a profit, they will generally not fight for your rights or for the just compensation you deserve; many times they will accept the first offer made by the insurance company to settle your case regardless of whether or not it covers your damages. Let’s take a look at an example of this:
A person injured in a car accident may accumulate a massive amount of debt from missing work, medical bills, general living expenses, etc., in addition to having their car totaled. For the purposes of this example, let’s say that their damages up to this point are $100,000 but that there will no doubt be a significant amount of damages for years to come from treatment for medical disabilities, additional surgeries, rehabilitation, etc. that may amount to well over $500,000. The insurance company may make an offer to settle the case for $100,000. The outside attorneys will then attempt to convince you (and 99% of the time they succeed in doing this) that this settlement is the most you could possibly receive and that you should absolutely take it so that you can at least recover some of your immediate losses.
The reason they do this is not because it’s a good deal for you, they do it because it’s a good deal for them; they do little to no work on your case but yet get a large portion of the settlement that is supposed to help you recover from your losses. Though this is a horrible and deceptive practice is not illegal, and it is much more common than you’d imagine.
For this reason, you need to find an attorney that has experience in handling cases themselves, though even experienced attorneys may need to retain the services of an outside firm, it will generally be because they want to add the resources available from a firm they trust to help them get the most for your injuries, pain and suffering. Not because they want to make a quick buck. Make sure you hire an attorney who has the experience and resources to take your case to trial.
How many years has the attorney been actively handling personal injury cases?
Some attorneys will advertise that they offer representation for personal injuries but will be brand new to this field of law, with little to no experience in handling an actual case. Other attorneys may have years of experience in practicing law, but those years of experience might be with handling divorce or criminal cases. Though they may not openly give you this information, some attorneys who say they practice personal injury law, may not have handled an injury case for decades and are completely out of practice with current laws and precedents. And many have never stepped foot in a courtroom to try a case. They are paper pushers who would not be able to really fight for you.
What is their track record?
Some attorneys may have years of experience in law, but those years of experience might be with handling divorce or criminal cases. Though they may not openly give you this information, some attorneys who say they practice personal injury law, may not have handled an injury case for decades and are completely out of practice with current laws and precedents.