Mistake 1: Choosing a lawyer that is not a part of your states professional association such as the Kentucky BAR Association.
The Kentucky BAR Association or similar, are professional associations dedicated to protecting the rights of people. They offer many resources, including a place to check for Dis-barred attorneys, various legal forms, and other free resources.
Mistake 2: Choosing a lawyer after one phone call
It would be considered “crazy” to purchase a house after only seeing it once. Lawyers are no different. Why would you want to hire a lawyer after only talking to them on the phone, once? Interview your potential lawyer and be sure that you are comfortable with their knowledge and skill in handling your case. The top lawyer in your area may be a divorce lawyer and would not help your bad faith insurance case. By interviewing them, you get a sense of their qualification within the realm of your case.
Mistake 3: Choosing a lawyer based on the amount of years they have spent practicing.
They say that practice makes perfect, that is not always the case. No way around it, you want to choose a lawyer that has applicable experience. Before you choose a lawyer, talk to them about the amount of cases they have tried before a jury, and the outcome of those cases.
Mistake 4: Choosing a lawyer not prepared to advance litigation expenses.
Litigation can be very expensive. You may not be able to afford the expenses that are associated with litigation. If you can’t afford the expenses and your lawyer won’t advance expenses, you may be in a tough situation where you take a low-ball offer from the insurance company. Find out if the lawyer you are considering is willing to advance the costs of litigation.
Mistake 5: Being intimidated by the lawyer’s education.
It is common knowledge that doctors, and lawyers go through extensive years of schooling. Most people do not question the information they receive from a doctor or lawyer, it is assumed they are correct. By asking a lot of questions when you have hired a lawyer, you will better understand the strategy that is made, and feel more comfortable with your plan of action in the future.
Steps to Fair Compensation
Ask questions. Asking questions is the best way to educate yourself on what you should do. Here are a few questions that you should ask before retaining an attorney’s services.
- How many cases have you tried?
- How many cases have you won?
- How much money have you (or the firm) recovered from insurance companies?
- Are you willing to advance expenses of litigation?
Do NOT say or sign anything regarding your injuries or the details of the incident until you have had time to collect your thoughts. You do not have to and should not sign anything or give a statement without first consulting an attorney.
Retrieve the crash report as soon as you can (if applicable).
Make sure you see a qualified doctor who can properly assess your injuries as soon as possible, be sure to follow their advice.
Once you are satisfied that you have found a competent lawyer to protect your rights, make an appointment with them to have all your questions answered.
Common misconceptions about lawyers
If a lawyer is on TV, they must be good.
This is false. If a lawyer appears in TV commercials, it does not mean they are qualified to handle your personal injury case. Do not be fooled by those commercials. They are prepared by multi-million-dollar companies. If a lawyer doesn’t have the right tools or experience needed in today’s environment, do not retain their services. Ask questions until you feel comfortable with your attorney choice.
Every attorney has the same amount of experience or training.
Experience and knowledge differ greatly from lawyer to lawyer. Some lawyers may have years of experience drafting wills, working on real estate transactions, or representing people charged with crimes. Why would you want a lawyer with vast experience in any other law other for your personal injury case? They will not know all of the in’s and out’s of personal injury law.
Lawyers are always personally involved in the cases they handle
This is not always the case. Some lawyers have so many cases to handle, they limit the time they devote to each case. No matter how big or small your case, it is important to you! You want to have a lawyer that has the time to answer your questions, keep you filled in on what is happening, and is 100% committed to providing a quality legal service.
All lawyers are skilled in negotiating bodily injury claims.
Big corporations know how to play hard ball. They do not want to lose any money. Not all lawyers know how to deal with these juggernauts. You need to have a lawyer who is willing to prepare every case as if it’s going to trial. You need to have a lawyer who has tried personal injury cases to take your case to a jury. The truth is most persona injury cases settle without a trial. The real question is, do they settle cheaply and fairly? If a lawyer is not willing to go to trial, the insurance companies can sense this. Choose a lawyer that is ready to get the highest compensation for you.
4 Common Tricks Insurance Companies Use
“You may lose your claim” or “You will not get anymore than what the insurance company has offered”
Injured victims have experienced enough pain. Some insurance representatives persuade victims to take a settlement that does not compensate them for their injuries enough. They may add on that the injured victim has no objective injuries and will not receive very much, if any, compensation from a jury. Do not be afraid to check with an attorney to see if you have a valid claim.
Pressing victims for a “quick” settlement.
There are times where an insurance company is quick to settle. This happens because the insurance company knows they will save money by settling, rather than paying what is rightfully due to an injured victim. By settling early, insurance companies will try to avoid paying for permanent impairment of a body part, future medical expenses, loss of future income, or permanent disability as a result of an accident. Before settling, be sure that you know the full and future effects of your injury.
Adjusters talking you out of hiring an attorney
Adjusters will commonly try to tell you that you do not need to contact an attorney, as you will lose money to the attorney’s fees. What they don’t tell you is that according to statistics, injured people who have an attorney end up with more money than when they settle directly with the insurance company.
Victims of accidents can be so confused about what they are signing. Often an injured victim signs away their rights to a fair settlement. This is why you must read the fine print of any document that the insurance company produces. You should consult with an attorney before you sign anything.