How do you pick a personal injury attorney? After all, there are so many advertisements out there. And many of us don’t know how to pick one. Here are five things you should know about picking a personal injury attorney.
Recognize that this is a really important decision. The finances of the case, possibly of your life, are riding on it. It’s not a decision that should be taken lightly. You’ve got to do a little bit of legwork and interview some people.
- Not all attorneys are created equal. Not all attorneys have the same skills or experience. Interview them carefully. Find out what they have done. Find out what kind of cases they handle. What kind of resources do they have to handle cases. Cases can be expensive and you want to make sure you have an attorney that can finance them and who can finance the case until the very end before the attorney even gets paid.
- Hire by skill. Proven record and experience. Do NOT hire by advertising alone.
- Your attorney should be Martindale-Hubbell AV-Preeminent Rated. That represents a peer review process by which attorneys are rated by other attorneys on their skill, professionalism and ethics. I believe that having an AV rating is very important because it represents an objective measure of the skill and proficiency of the attorney.
- The attorney that you hire should have a proven record of verdicts. It is not enough for the attorney to say “I work with a trial lawyer”. Many attorneys handle cases only in pre-suit and then try to settle them. It is not enough that your attorney work with a trial lawyer. Working with the guy is not the same as being the guy. Your attorney should have a proven track record of verdicts. The other reason is that insurance companies keep records of what attorneys actually go to trial. Who they go to trial with. What kind of cases they take to trial. And therefore, I believe you are more likely to get a better settlement in the end from an attorney who has a proven track record of going to trial.
- Your relationship with your attorney is very important. You may be living with this attorney with your case for a couple of years. Are they personable? Do they explain the process to you? Are they available? One of the biggest complaints about injury attorneys is that they don’t return phone calls. Does this attorney return phone calls? Ask for some references. They should be able to give them to you. Also, your attorney should be able to make you comfortable, that they are responsive and knowledgeable about the field.
This is a very important decision. If you have any more questions or if you’d like to learn a little bit more about my firm Cutler Rader, or about me Andrew Rader, please feel free to call us or go to www.CutlerRader.com . Thank you.