When choosing a personal injury lawyer, consider these two major red flags.
The tough economic times that we are living in have affected lawyers, like everyone else. As a result, lawyers who specialize in other areas have increasingly begun to take on personal injury cases on the side. Also, lawyers who have made their living handling fender-bender accidents with soft tissue injuries have become more likely to try to take on much more complex cases with catastrophic injuries.
Just as you wouldn’t let a chiropractor perform brain surgery on you, don’t let a corporate lawyer handle your catastrophic injury case. In medicine, a doctor proves his expertise in a particular area by becoming board certified. In law, there is no such thing. A wills and trusts lawyer can handle a criminal case if he can find a client who will hire him. So, unfortunately, it is up to the client to make sure that the lawyer is truly qualified to handle his case.
Successful personal injury lawyers become accustomed to investing hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money into their cases and living with that financial risk every day. They may have a few sleepless nights along the way, but they won’t let it affect how they handle your case. A “moonlighter,” on the other hand, will be much more likely to let the financial pressures of handling a large personal injury case get to him and will be much more likely to try to coerce you to take an inadequate amount of money to settle your case, so that he can get quickly reimbursed for the costs that he has expended and rid himself of this unaccustomed financial pressure.
Don’t settle for less than a specialist who has devoted his career to representing people with serious injuries such as yourself and who has a proven track record of success in these cases. And the great thing is that a specialist like that will cost you no more in attorney’s fees than a lawyer with far less expertise.
Asking you for money
Lawyers who handle complex, catastrophic injury cases customarily pay for all of the costs involved in pursuing these cases. There are exceptions, but they are few. Sometimes, if the client has the financial means to do so, he will agree to finance all or a portion of the costs, particularly if the case is extremely difficult. But beware of the lawyer who wants you to kick in your own money. It often means that either the lawyer doesn’t have the financial wherewithal to finance the case himself or he just doesn’t believe very strongly in the case and wants you to take on all the risk.
If you would like all of this information in one document, please download our free guide, How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer.
All posts in the series: Introduction | How do personal injury cases work? | How do you tell a good lawyer from a not-so-good one? | Where do I look for a good personal injury lawyer? | How do I interview a personal injury lawyer? | What are red flags when hiring a personal injury lawyer? | What if I hired the wrong personal injury lawyer? | More Information