Top Six Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Lawyer After an Injury Accident

Top Six Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Lawyer After an Injury Accident

Here are the top six mistakes made by people when hiring a personal injury attorney for an injury accident:

1. Hiring a lawyer referred by a friend or family member without researching them

Many personal injury attorneys get hired because they are friends with someone who is also a friend or a victim’s family member. While in some instances, this is fine as the attorney is a highly rated and effective personal injury lawyer, many of these situations turn out less than optimum for the victim because the attorney is not the right choice for the case.

As set forth below, choosing the best attorney for your case depends on many factors, including experience with the specific case type, prior results, and integrity.

2. Hiring a lawyer does not do 100% personal injury

Getting a general practice attorney is not the right choice. It is particularly true if you have a very serious injury case, such as an injury caused by an accident requiring surgery or a more permanent type of injury.

The more serious your case, the more likely you will require someone with extensive experience in the type of accident. For example, if you are hit by a semi-truck and hurt badly, get an expert truck accident attorney for your case. General practitioners are appropriate for small car wreck cases, but once significant money is on the line, victims should consider someone who does personal injury only.

3. Believing bigger is better

Many accident victims hire attorneys because the firm has many lawyers, and they are impressed with its size. Unfortunately, the opposite is usually true, and a named partner may meet with the victim and assure them they will handle the case. When the person walks out the door, the cases are regularly assigned to an inexperienced associate who will do 98% of the work on the file.

Having inexperienced attorneys do critical work is an everyday occurrence in large law firms and a part of their business model. Selecting a smaller firm or individual attorney is often a better choice for specialized litigation and ensuring that the attorney you are hiring will do the work on your case.

4. Not researching the attorney before signing paperwork

In our Houston personal injury practice, we get telephone calls almost every day from people dissatisfied with the representation they receive from other lawyers. At least 50% of these calls could be eliminated if the persons seeking to fire their attorney had done their due diligence and researched the attorney before signing paperwork with the lawyer.

There are many different attorney rating organizations; some are much better than others. Unfortunately, it is hard for a non-lawyer to tell the real ratings driven by peer reviews instead of market-driven ratings where the rating company has a business relationship with the attorneys.

Nevertheless, an online search can reveal many different sources of information regarding an attorney, his or her experience, results, and how other clients felt about the relationship.

We recommend that victims spend a little more time looking closely at reviews to see which may be accurate and real and those that may be by friends of the attorney.

5. Hiring a settlement lawyer

Certain law firms in the greater Houston area are known as “settlement” law firms. Many of these settlement law firms advertise on TV and handle a high volume of personal injury claims. The high-volume settlement business model is a disaster for personal injury victims because the firm’s business model depends on quick settlement with minimum attorney involvement to be profitable.

Personal injury clients usually feel like they got the shaft when they see the actual take-home from one of these firms. Hiring a high-volume settlement firm is calculated to do nothing but maximize your monetary recovery in your pocket.

6. Hiring an attorney who estimates the value of the case before all the medical is evaluated

Many people hire an attorney who gives them a high-value estimate early in the case before a realistic, informed opinion can be formed. Almost universally, the victims sign the paperwork only to be disappointed and disillusioned later. Of course, the attorney will have an excuse or explanation for why the settlement didn’t turn out so well. Picking an attorney because they voice the largest number upfront is a prescription for disappointment and further calls into question the attorney’s integrity.

In short, by doing a little research, most personal injury victims can avoid the pitfalls of retaining a lawyer who is not appropriate for their case. Many do not realize they made a mistake until they get into their case, and the damage has been done by then.

While clients can always fire their attorneys, this can open a can of worms because contingency lawyers who have been inappropriately fired almost always seek payment for their time and expenses. Firing your attorney can lead to the potential of duplicating attorney fees when the victim needs to retain a new lawyer.

It is much better to do your homework upfront and be very selective in who you hire to help you with your case.

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