Finding The Right Lawyer To Represent You
by: Dan Baldyga
Adjuster Henry Hustle from GiveAwayNothing Insurance tried to take advantage of you so you’ve decided to obtain the services of an attorney. Here are some insights you should consider:
SMALL LAW FIRM VS. LARGE LAW FIRM: The size of the law firm has absolutely nothing to do with how well that office will represent you and/or handle your case. A large law firm (10 or more names on their letterhead) will not impress an insurance adjuster into giving you a better settlement. On the contrary, adjuster’s who’ve been around, know that huge law offices have multi-million dollar clients with mind-boggling legal problems. Because of this those types of law firms often do not put the time (nor concern) into a several thousand dollar personal injury case that a small office would. The bottom line? You’ll receive more and better attention from a small law office. Many of the best personal injury lawyers operate within the confines of a law firm with only two, three or, at the very most, four associates.
BEWARE OF LAWYERS WHO REPRESENT “DEFENDANTS”: The practice of law has become incredibly specialized. Find a lawyer who has experience representing claimant’s (called “Plaintiffs” in legalese) in personal injury cases. (You’re a “Plaintiff”). Be careful not to be represented by someone who is primarily an attorney for “Defendants’. These lawyers way of thinking are usually too closely tied to the values, attitudes and mental outlook of their cold and calculating insurance company clients. More often than not they’ll not extend themselves nor battle as hard - - consciously or unconsciously - - to obtain top dollar for your claim. (To you four or five hundred dollars more is a lot of money. To them it’s a drop in the bucket)!
COMPARISON SHOP: Talk to friends, acquaintances and/or co-workers who may have been represented by a lawyer on their own personal injury claim. Personal Injury lawyers normally don’t charge for an initial consultation. But, before you meet with them, find out if they do. If the answer to that is “yes”, go somewhere else.
While chatting with the lawyer, getting to know him and (generally speaking) what your case is all about, you should find out:
(1) How long have they been in practice? (10 years - plus - that’s good. 6 to 8 years is just okay. 3 to 4 years is highly questionable. 2 years or less is totally unacceptable).
(2) Roughly what percentage of his practice involves personal injury cases? If it’s less than 75% say “goodbye”.
(3) Does he often represent corporations and/or insurance companies? If he does than forge it, excuse yourself and take a walk. He’s not a Plaintiff’s attorney (you’re a “Plaintiff”) he’s a Defendant’s attorney (the insurance company is a “Defendant”). He’s not for you!
PAYING THE LAWYER - THE WRITTEN FEE AGREEMENT”: After you’ve discussed the fact’s of your case you may be able to get some sense from the attorney how much he thinks your case is worth, and how difficult it may be to get the insurance company to pay that amount. (He probably won’t commit himself. He’ll do a song and dance that would put Madonna to shame). Once you’ve grappled with that ask him exactly how much he’s going to charge you for handling your case?
If you’re at fault for the accident and it’s only your damaged ego that demands legal action he’s going to charge you for every move he makes - - and there can be a ton of them - - at hundreds of dollars an hour. If you have a case in which the other driver is clearly at fault (and your damages are substantial) his heart will be pounding with glee and he’ll be salivating furiously to have you hire him. In that instance he’ll be quite willing to waive all potential charges.
Usually, in the majority of cases, it should be a straight “Contingency Fee” with no costs assessed to you. Once your financial deal has been agreed upon ask him to put that into writing, in his “Written Fee Agreement”. (If he balks at a Written Fee Agreement you should begin to hum that old tune “I’ll See Ya’ Later Alligator”, get up, thank him for his time, and exit that office)
Copyright (c) 2003 by Daniel G. Baldyga. All rights Reserved
DISCLAIMER: The only purpose of this insurance claim tip FINDING THE RIGHT LAWYER is to help people understand the motor vehicle accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyg nor ARTICLE CITY make any guarantee of any kind whatsoever; NOR do they purport to engage in rendering any professional or legal service; NOR to substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant or the like. Where such professional help is desired it is the INDIVIDUAL’S RESPONSIBILITY to obtain said services.
Dan Baldyga’s third and latest book AUTO ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY INSURANCE CLAIM (How To Evaluate And Settle Your Loss) can be found on the internet at http://www.autoaccidentclaims.com. This book reveals "How To" successfully handle your motor vehicle accident claim, so you won't be taken advantage of. It also goes into detail regarding the revolutionary BASE (The Baldyga Auto Accident Settlement Evalation Formula). BASE explains how to determine the value of the "Pain and Suffering" you endured - - because of your personal injury.
Copyright (c) By Daniel G. Baldyga. All Rights Reserved
About The Author
For over 30 years Dan Baldyga was a claims adjuster, supervisor, manager and also a trial assisstant. He is now retired and spends his time attempting to assist those involved in motor vehicle accident claims so they will not be taken advantage of. Mail to: