So many choices, so little time. After being injured in an accident you should hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you as quickly as possible. At least that is my opinion after representing thousands of clients on their car accident and injury cases over my 20 years in practice. The problem is that you have to sort through all of the noise in order to find the right attorney for you. You are bombarded by advertisements on TV, the radio, and billboards all day long. Your friends and family all want to refer you to “their” lawyer. So what should you do? Below are three tips that I hope are helpful in picking the right personal injury lawyer for you.
TIP #1: Small law firm versus a larger personal injury law firm – choose what is right for you
In my experience, most attorneys will take on your personal injury case even if they normally do not handle many of them and, unfortunately, they will not tell you that they only handle a few case each month or each year. I think that this is an extremely important factor to consider and evaluate. When I think of small law firms I am really talking about law firms with one to three lawyers. I consider larger personal injury law firms to be those that employ more than ten attorneys.
A solo law firm is a firm consisting of a single lawyer and a small firm typically has a few more attorneys. Many times a solo attorney or small firm has more of a general legal practice ranging from personal injury to family law, but may have a preference for a certain type of case. One advantage to working with a sole practitioner or small firm is it should be less expensive. Certainly you should insist on a price reduction if the attorney experience is limited to a handful of personal injury cases each year rather than the thousands of cases that a big firm may handle. In addition, a small firm typically has limited resources when it comes to financing your case costs, hiring experts, etc. But you should be provided more one-on-one personal attention since a solo attorney or attorneys in a small firm are most likely working on your case single-handedly or with the help of a single paralegal.
A larger personal injury law firm will include a number of attorneys who are able to collaborate and work as a team on your case. It also includes a significant amount of experience that is held by both the personal injury lawyers as well as the paralegals because of the sheer number of cases that the firm has handled. In short, the lawyers and paralegals have seen it all, typically a number of times, and know how to deal with most situations or legal issues that arise. In addition, larger firms tend to have the finances needed to cover the significant expenses involved in litigating large, complicated personal injury cases.
Tip #2: Litigation firms versus non-litigation firms
Many personal injury law firms, in particular smaller firms, tend to not litigate many cases. This can be directly related to a lack of manpower, a lack of finances, or a lack of experience. A very successful lawyer once told me that lawyers don’t try cases because they are either scared (lack of experience) or lazy, and I think there is a lot of truth to that. Although the vast majority of personal injury cases are resolved without a lawsuit, you are much better served if your law firm not only has the skill set needed to litigate your case but also has the reputation of being a firm that is willing to sue. In my opinion, it is hard to gain this reputation if you are a small firm that only files a couple of lawsuits per year.
Tip #3: Location of your lawyer
Although Zanes Law only has offices in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona, and Seattle, Washington, we actually represent clients who have been injured in accidents around the United States as well as Mexico. So how is this possible? It generally happens in one of three ways. First, we are hired by clients who live in Arizona, but were involved in a car accident in another state. Second, we represent clients who live in another state but were injured in a car accident while in Arizona. Third, we represent clients who were injured in a car accident in Mexico, typically on a products liability claim, but there are some circumstances where we are able to make a claim against an insurance company. The above are all examples of different circumstances where the lawyer that you choose may be down the street, but could also be across the country. It is simply up to you to choose what works best for you, but with today’s technology location should not be an obstacle to representing a client well.