Every where you look there are lawyers who want to represent you or your loved ones when injured or killed due to the negligence of another. It seems like every other television and radio commercial is about a law firm that wants to handle your case. Billboards and other forms of advertisements beckon you to call. Just how is someone supposed to find a competent, qualified and experienced lawyer to handle their claim?
Be A Smart Consumer
A person who is injured or who has lost a loved one and is looking for legal representation is a “consumer of legal services.” As a consumer, you have every right to make sure that you are getting the most for your dollar, even though you won’t be paying for the lawyer’s services until the case is settled. Not all lawyers are equally qualified or have the experience necessary to handle claims for car accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, product liability, boating accidents and plane crashes.
So how do you begin your search? Referrals are always good, but in and of themselves should not cause you to make a decision. The person who is referring you to the lawyer may not have had the same type of case that you have. In other words, different facts or different laws may apply. Advertisements are a good place to start, as is the internet. But they are just that, a place to start.
Good Resources To Check For Lawyers’ Experience
What you need to do is look at the lawyer’s experience and qualifications. A way to do that is to see how the lawyer is viewed by his peers and the courts. Martindale Hubbell rates lawyers according to their ability and their ethical standards. An “AV” rating is the highest rating that a lawyer can receive from Martindale Hubbell. This rating is peer reviewed, meaning that other lawyers in the community rate the lawyer. So first you should seek out an “AV” rated lawyer. A second resource are “Super Lawyers” and “Law Dragon”, who have also created peer reviewed rating systems. The lawyers that make the “Super Lawyers” or “Law Dragon” are deemed exceptional by other lawyers, as wel as by Judges in the community.
The lawyer that you want to represent you should also be a member of his/her state trial lawyer’s association and the American Association for Justice, which is a national organization formed by Plaintiff’s lawyers. In addition, membership in other associations could be viewed as important as well. I, for one, am on the Florida board for APITLA, which is the Association for Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America. This is a very important organization, because interstate trucking is regulated by the Federal Government and if you do not hire a lawyer who is well versed in trucking law, you may be missing an opportunity to avail yourself of more insurance coverage to help compensate you for your injuries.
Work As A Team
Lastly, and probably most important, you need to be able to work with and relate to your lawyer. Call up the prospective attorney, talk to them on the phone, ask them as many questions as you need to feel comfortable with your choice. Or better yet, make an appointment, go in and see them. Bring all your information, including all the information you have regarding the accident you are consulting them for, any information about your background, including prior injuries, illnesses, physicians you have seen, claims you have made, etc. This will allow the lawyer to plan a course of action for your case so that in the end you will be in a position to get the most money for your injuries.
Remember, not all trial lawyers are created equal. Since you are paying a percentage of your recovery to the lawyer, it’s in the lawyer’s best interest to get you the most amount of money because the lawyer’s fee gets larger as you recover more. You want a lawyer who is not afraid to go to trial and who is not afraid to spend money working up a case. A lawyer’s reputation in the community is important because insurance companies and their defense lawyers need to know that the lawyer and his firm are ready, willing and able to go to trial in order to prove their point and win. Why should you have a lawyer who is not qualified handling your case which may result in you getting a low offer as opposed to a well qualified lawyer who is getting the same percentage fee and who obtains a much higher settlement for you?
Remember, being a “smart consumer” of legal services will get you the best outcome for your case.
If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligence of another, you should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling personal injury cases. The Miami Dade County Personal Injury Law Offices of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano has throughout the years represented many clients involved in fatal personal injury cases, as well as cases where people have suffered traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries as a result of serious accidents. Visit our website to learn more about us and contact us today for a free consultation.