What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need ?
A common question after a motor vehicle collision is, what kind of lawyer do I need? There are thousands of lawyers. Deciding on the right person can be daunting. This article addresses the best person to hire if you are in a car crash.
Although there are many personal injury attorneys, there are very few trial attorneys. And of those who have gone to trial, only a few belong to the American Board of Trial Advocates (“ABOTA”). ABOTA is the pre-imminent group of trial lawyers in the United States. Each member of ABOTA must have a minimum of 20 jury trials. Less than one-half of one percent of practicing personal injury lawyers belong to this organization.
Why should a trial lawyer represent you? The first thing an insurance company looks for is the trial experience of the lawyer. As a former insurance company lawyer, I was often asked to research the other lawyer. The adjuster wants to know if the lawyer is someone who will fold as the case gets closer to trial. Many injury lawyers have a reputation of settling on the courthouse steps. Insurance companies know the lawyers who are afraid and those who are not scared to go to trial.
Why does this matter? A claims adjuster will not offer full value to a lawyer who does not try cases. The adjuster will wait until closer to trial and force them to take a lesser amount knowing he will fold. Regrettably, the client will never know that his lawyer has settled for less than the full value of the case.
It is not uncommon for a lawyer to bring another trial lawyer into the case as it gets closer to trial. They will refer to this other lawyer or law firm as his “team.” The problem is that the lawyer knows he is forced to share his fee with the other lawyer or firm. Often, they make more settling the case for less before he has to refer the matter and split his fee with the trial lawyer. Thus, there is a motivation to put his or her interest above the client. Again, the client suffers because he gets less than his case is worth.
Insurance companies have a lot of money and can afford the best trial lawyers to defend lawsuits. Many defense attorneys are very competent and know how to try cases. They make it a practice to take advantage of lawyers who do not go trial. You are indeed at a disadvantage if your lawyer cannot match the experience and skill level of the other side’s representation.
As former insurance lawyers, we understand how insurance companies evaluate cases and what factors they consider important. Thus, we know what to emphasize to maximize the value of cases. Unfortunately, not all cases settle at the pre-trial stage. In some cases, a lawsuit must be filed. We understand the tactics that insurance companies use during litigation to minimize case value. We know how to defeat those tactics so that cases are not lost.
Deciding on the right representation is an important decision. You should look for experience, trial experience, and someone who understands how the defense thinks. Schedule a free consultation.