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Michael A. Stratton
Michael A. Stratton
Attorney • 866-351-9500

Hiring a Top Notch Personal Injury Lawyer: Five Things to Look (Out) For

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  1. Do you know a lawyer? If you have a family member who is a lawyer, a lawyer you have used in the past, or a friend or acquaintance who is a lawyer or knows lots of lawyers, go to them first. The best way to get the lawyer that is right for you is through the lawyer referral system, and word of mouth. The right lawyer for you will be someone who is very well known by other lawyers for excellence in a given niche, and who gets the vast majority of their cases from other lawyers. You want a lawyer who is focused on results not on bringing in more business
  2. Is your lawyer a certified civil trial advocate? If not it would be like going to a general physician for complicated surgery. You wouldn’t do it—you would want a specialist. After getting recommendations from lawyers about where to call, look for the ones who are certified as genuine civil trial lawyers, and make sure every lawyer in that firm is certified. Certification means the lawyer has received recommendations from judges and peers, completed at least 10-20 trials to verdict, and successfully passed a difficult daylong test.
  3. Does your personal injury lawyer advertise on TV or on the side of a bus? With extremely rare exceptions, lawyers who advertise like this are not certified and have no trial or complex case experience. Jurors and judges also universally dislike them because their ads are often offensive. They are fast buck settlers. They promise to get you quick money, and they will. Insurance companies love working with these lawyers because they are no threat, and settle cheaply. The median settlement value for TV lawyers is $7500. They are not a serious alternative for people suffering real injuries.
  4. Does a lawyer promise a certain amount in settlement? If he or she does, they are creating false expectations. The dollar value of a case cannot be known with any certainty until all of the evidence has been analyzed following depositions and discovery.
  5. Does a lawyer tell you to act more injured than you are? To see a particular doctor or chiropractor that he knows? If so, he or she is doing you a great disservice. Jurors want to see a plaintiff who is trying there hardest to get back to normal. They will reward this hard work and courage. They will punish exaggerators or people who have doctors who have been referred by lawyers. More importantly, your recovery and quality of life is more important than the quantity of the compensation. Get on with your life as best you can, and trust in the hard work of your well-selected lawyers and the fairness of our legal system.
  6. Does the lawyer have a good staff? Your primary contact during the case will be the paralegals. In your lawyer’s office you should ask to see them, and get a feel for whether there is good chemistry. Any lawyer who really handles cases spends most of his or her time in court and in depositions. They are often not in the office, so you need to know you have a responsible and likeable staff to work with, and you should always get the lawyer’s private cell number for emergencies. If they won’t give it out, you cannot be that important to them!