Nobody wants to bring a personal injury claim or lawsuit -- despite what any one tells you. Getting injured in an accident is a terrible thing. My clients would gladly give back every penny of the settlement to have their health back.
Unfortunately, the reality is that people do get seriously injured in accidents and need personal injury attorneys. Injuries can lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical bills -- too much for the injured person to bear. Most people don't have an attorney in the family they can ask for help. So where do you start? Hopefully, this article will assist you in your search.
Personal injury attorneys seem like they are a dime a dozen. Turn on the television, drive down the interstate or open the yellow pages and you will be bombarded with lawyer advertisements. No wonder people think so little of us. So how do you find one that will give you the individual attention your case requires? Here are my opinions on finding the best personal injury lawyer:
[Remember -- These are just my opinions. My opinions are not true of every lawyer, there are always exceptions to every rule and others are bound to disagree with me. In addition, nothing I say in this article is legal advice.]
1. Avoid attorneys who do excessive advertising. Some attorneys spend millions of dollars a year in advertising. Think about it rationally, if those millions of dollars in advertising draws hundreds of thousands of clients, how much individualized time and attention is that attorney going to be able to commit to your case? Probably not very much. I have been hired a dozen times by clients who came to me after they fired their TV lawyer for ignoring their phone calls and doing nothing on their case. Even though a TV attorney may claim to "turn your crash into cash," in my experience, the best personal injury attorneys generally do not need to advertise because all of their business comes from referrals from other lawyers and former clients.
2. Check your potential attorney's Avvo Rating. Avvo is one of the best things to hit the legal world in years. Finally, clients have a way to look up a potential attorney's unbiased "Avvo rating". Avvo uses the same mathematical formula to give every attorney a ranking on a 1 to 10 scale that is very easy to compare. Avvo ranks any attorney with a 4.9 or under score as a "Concern". From there, the rankings then go to "Average" to "Good" to "Very Good" to "Excellent" and finally "Superb." Generally, a "Superb" ranking only goes to those attorneys who have been practicing law for a significant amount of time. Anything over "Average" is a strong score in my opinion. Here is a link to my Avvo rating as an example.
3. Check your attorney's website to see if he or she holds any leadership positions in the legal community. Attorneys recognize the skills of other attorneys, and many recommend the best attorneys for chair positions in legal organizations. If the lawyers in your county or community trust an attorney as the head of their organization, doesn't that indicate that he or she can be trusted with you case? In addition, leadership positions grant attorneys unprecedented access to local judges. This can prove to be a huge advantage in your case.
4. Ask your attorney if he or she is willing to associate other counsel if necessary. No attorney can be an expert at everything, period. I don't care what he or she tells you. That is why the best attorneys can and will bring another attorney with a particular expertise into the case. Two minds are always better than one. In fact, most big cases today have multiple law firms involved, and typically both attorneys agree to split the fee so there is no additional cost to the client. I, for example, have dozens of attorneys in my network that I associate based on the type and size of the case as it develops.
5. Inquire about your attorney's personal injury experience, not his or her overall legal experience. Many people make the mistake of asking an attorney about his or her experience generally, but not about his or her specific personal injury experience. I would recommend an attorney who has two years of intensive personal injury training over an attorney with twenty years of experience in another area of the law any day. The harsh reality is that personal injury cases are very unique and often complex cases because this area of the law changes so rapidly. Ask your attorney how many personal injury cases he or she has handled over his or her career and where he or she received the personal injury training.
6. Finally, pick up the phone and ask someone. I personally am available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 678.537.1209 to answer your questions. Even if I cannot help you, I can definitely point you in the direction of the best personal injury lawyer I know for your specific case. I wrote this article to give the general public a better understanding of how to find a successful personal injury attorney they can trust, and I am happy to be a resource. Please do not hesitate to call if you ever have a question.
There you have it. My opinions for finding a good personal injury attorney you can trust. I wish you the best of luck in finding your personal injury lawyer and would be happy to help in any way I can.
R. Michael Coker is an attorney with the Law Offices of R. Michael Coker, LLC and is admitted to practice law in all State and Superior Courts in the State of Georgia, the Georgia Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. He can be reached by phone at (678) 935-6000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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