Choosing the best injury lawyer from the start is very important. It can make the difference in the outcome of your case. This may seem like a daunting task. After all, in a large city like Philadelphia, there are many personal injury lawyers from which to choose. How do you narrow it to a short list, and then to just one? The following tips and 7 important questions will help you find your way.
All lawyers are not the same.
Attorney personality, style, training, experience, reputation and results vary.
As a top rated personal injury attorney for over 30 years, I assure you that attorney personality, style, training, experience, and results vary. The personal injury attorney you choose will be your partner and voice throughout a lawsuit. Choose an attorney with whom you feel comfortable sharing your journey.
When you are involved in a personal injury accident, it can be very stressful and upsetting. You are faced with a sudden injury and other issues related to your accident that require immediate attention. Although recovery from your injury should be your primary concern, care should also be taken in choosing the right personal injury lawyer to handle your claim. After you have done your due diligence in placing your personal injury claim in the right hands, you can focus on your recovery with peace of mind.
We sometimes receive phone calls from distressed clients of other personal injury attorneys who feel they are not being well represented. These prospective clients want to change attorneys and are looking for Fox Law to take over their personal injury claim. It is permissible to change attorneys in the middle of a claim, however sometimes it is too late and the damage is already done.
Look for a hard working, compassionate listener and an excellent communicator.
A hard working personal injury lawyer with a strong work ethic will keep your case moving forward, and keep you updated on your case. It is also important for an injury lawyer to be a compassionate listener and excellent communicator. He or she will use these skills to fully understand the impact the injury has had on you and your family, as well as in his or her negotiations for you.
If one lawyer dismisses your case, ask another.
A personal injury law firm may dismiss a good case because they didn’t ask the right questions. They may have heard a certain set of words or facts that didn’t support a viable claim to them. A good personal injury lawyer will ask very detailed questions, and may develop information through those questions that will change the attorney’s position on whether they will take the case. If you have a personal injury law firm who has turned down your case, get a second or third opinion by speaking to another personal injury law firm.
Example: $425,000 settlement on a case turned down by 2 other law firms
Two Philadelphia personal injury law firms turned down a case that I took involving a 96 year old woman who fell in a condominium parking lot on a deteriorating concrete surface. After asking the right questions, I took on the case. We accepted a $425,000 settlement in Philadelphia County for the 96 year old woman. As a result of her fall, she fractured her hip and suffered a cerebral hemorrhage requiring hip surgery and lengthy hospitalization and rehabilitation. The case was especially difficult due to the fact that the defective condition was repaired before anyone could take photographs.
Personal Injury Lawyers Offer Free Consultations
Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis and have a free initial consultation. This gives you the opportunity to interview them free of charge. In your interview, you can find the right fit for you. The following are 7 important questions you should ask in your interview.
Finding the Best Injury Lawyer – 7 Questions to Ask
1. Who is handling my case and do you have a manageable case load?
Know who is handling your case. The best injury lawyer has a manageable case load. You want an attorney with a manageable caseload that has the time to dedicate to your case. Asking how many cases does the lawyer handles will help you determine the level of personal attention you can expect. Some lawyers handle 50 to 100 cases at a time. This means that the lawyer probably cannot devote significant personal attention to any particular case. The work on these cases is often handled by staff members, not the lawyer. Personal attention to your case is important in evaluating the best lawyer to handle your case. Beware of large firms known in the industry as sweatshops. They handle thousands of cases.
2. Can you show me a list of your settlement results and jury trial verdicts?
Insurance companies hire trial lawyers. You should, too. Don’t settle for a law firm that only knows how to settle. The best injury lawyer is a skilled trial lawyer and can show you a list of their settlement results and their jury trial verdicts.
True trial lawyers have a good sense of what a case is worth. Experience in handling cases involving jury trials will help you determine if the lawyer you are considering is a true trial lawyer. Many lawyers call themselves “trial lawyers” but in reality, they do not have trial experience with significant cases.
Insurance companies know which lawyers have jury trial experience and which lawyers do not. They respect true trial lawyers. Hiring a respected trial lawyer strengthens your negotiating leverage. Although most injury claims are settled before trial, it is important for the personal injury lawyer to be prepared to take your case to trial. This means that from the start they are preparing the file as if the case is going to trial. Our experience is that cases that are thoroughly prepared for trial from the beginning result in the best settlement offers.
3. Do you specialize in personal injury law?
The best injury lawyer is knowledgeable in tort law. Your lawyers knowledge and experience in the complexities of damages and bodily harm claims is important to the success of your case. Limit your search to lawyers who specialize solely in Pennsylvania Personal Injury Law.
4. Do you have experience as both a defense and plaintiff’s lawyer?
The best injury lawyer has experience as both a defense and plaintiff lawyer. A personal injury lawyer with defense experience knows the personality traits, habits and tactics of defense attorneys. Therefore, having both defense & plaintiff litigation and trial experience is an added bonus in knowing how both sides will play their hand of cards.
5. What is your position on fast settlements?
Beware of promises of fast settlements. I do not believe in expediting settlements of cases, or getting “fast money” for my clients. Of course everyone would like their case settled sooner rather than later. But cases should not be rushed to settle before their is a full understanding of the injury. Sometimes, injuries do not resolve as expected over time. It takes time to confirm the full extent of an injury.
Cases cannot be settled until they have been properly presented to the insurance company with all of the medical records, all the witness statements recorded, everything the insurance company will need to evaluate the case. Then insurance company needs time to respond. If we cannot engage in any meaningful settlement discussions at that point, then it would be very clear that we would need to file suit right away. I do not give insurance companies much time to evaluate the case once I know they do not need anything else.
6. Do you have expert contacts?
The best injury lawyer has excellent contacts with experts. You want a personal injury lawyer who has excellent contacts with medical experts, accident reconstruction experts, economic experts, and vocational experts.
7. Are you Martindale-Hubbell AV rated?
The best injury lawyer has a good reputation. Know the skill level and reputation of your injury lawyer. You want to hire a lawyer who is respected by his or her peers in the legal community.
Martindale-Hubbell is the gold standard of peer review rating in the legal community. The highest rating is AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 certification mark, a significant rating accomplishment – a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence in skill and ethics. Look for a lawyer that lawyers’ turn to when they need a personal injury lawyer.
Good, better, or best?
The more you can check on the above list, the better the chance that you have found the best personal injury lawyer to represent you. Or, if you have been injured in the greater Philadelphia area, call Fox Law today and check all of the above!