There is no substitute for experience. Lawyers who have years of experience representing injured clients in claims against insurance companies and others will probably be in a better position to evaluate your case, negotiate with the insurance company and present your case to a jury, if necessary.
Reputation is Important
Experienced lawyers also gain a reputation. You should choose a lawyer who has a good reputation among the legal community and who is recommended by his or her clients. Does the lawyer have a reputation for fighting for his clients, all the way to a jury trial, or does the lawyer always settle his client’s cases, simply to avoid having to go to trial? Insurance companies are aware of a lawyer’s reputation and it matters to them when they negotiate.
Is the fee fair?
Almost every personal injury lawyer charges a contingency fee. That means that the lawyer’s fee is a percentage of the client’s recovery of money damages. But not all lawyers charge the same contingency fee. First, some lawyers charge the client a percentage of all damages recovered while others only charge a percentage of what is recovered for the client. This matters when part of the recovery is for reimbursing medical bills paid by your insurer. Some lawyers only charge 25% of the client’s recovery if the case settles before filing it in court, while others charge a third. Remarkably, there is no correlation between a lawyer’s fee and his or her experience or reputation.
Does the lawyer communicate with you?
There are 3 parts to this. First, your lawyer should take your call or return it promptly if he or she is unavailable. Second, if you call to speak to your lawyer, you should get to speak to your lawyer, not an assistant. Third, does the lawyer keep you updated on the status of your case, and does he or she do so in a way that you can understand and ask questions that get answered when you don’t. It is important to establish a good working relationship with your lawyer. It is also important for the lawyer to establish a good working relationship with the client. They need to trust each other and be candid and honest in their communications.