Choosing An Attorney
Orlando, Orange County and Central Florida Personal Injury and Complex Litigation Attorneys
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST ATTORNEY IN THE EVENT OF INJURY
"... You cannot live without the lawyers, and certainly you cannot die without them."
Joseph H. Choate, Speech in New York, May 13, 1879.
Not much has changed in the past 100 years. The necessity of obtaining proper legal representation still exists. The problem becomes how to go about choosing the best attorney to assist you.
With the advent of advertising by attorneys, particularly in the field of personal injury and complex litigation, we are constantly bombarded through the television, radio, newspaper and web advertising with attorneys hocking their wares to the prospective personal injury client. Believe it or not, we are also occasionally confronted with attorneys who "plant" individuals in hospitals and other locations where prospective personal injury clients are to be found with the intent that these plants can solicit claims for the attorney. Some attorneys have similarly gone so far as to hire individuals to do nothing but visit the local police departments to review recent accident reports so that the attorney’s office can thereafter solicit by mail the prospective personal injury claim. Such methods of solicitation provide the legal profession with a black eye and deservedly so. Unfortunately, many of the fine trial lawyers who specialize in personal injury and complex litigation and who are undeserving of such a black eye are damaged greatly by the disgusting conduct of a few.
WORD OF MOUTH IS THE BEST FORM OF ADVERTISING, PERIOD.
There is no substitute for a referral based on the past performance of an attorney. As in any profession, a satisfied customer or client is the best form of advertising. In the event that a word of mouth referral is not available, you must put forth the necessary effort to assure that you are choosing the right attorney to assist you with your personal injury claim. The following are suggestions for choosing the right attorney to represent you:
- Locate an attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.
You would not hire an electrician to perform plumbing work at your home. Similarly, you should not hire an attorney who isn’t experienced in personal injury law to handle a personal injury claim. The law in the area of personal injury litigation is constantly changing and requires specialization in order to provide the best service. Evidence of specialization can be supported by locating an attorney who is designated and/or certified by the Florida Bar, who is a member of trial associations directed at specialists such as the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice.
- Locate an attorney who has significant and successful trial experience.
The majority of claims in the personal injury field are settled prior to trial. However, it is quite important that the attorney you select has significant and successful trial experience as such experience will influence the insurance carrier representatives involved and thus the value of your prospective claim. Be very leery of the attorney who lacks litigation experience, as the value of your claim will be affected.
- Locate an attorney who will represent you throughout your claim.
Occasionally, you may run across an attorney who informs you that he or she wishes to refer you to his or her "specialist" in personal injury litigation. The "specialist" referred to is likely going to provide the referring attorney with a "referral" fee. In other words, simply for giving you the name of a specialist the referring attorney is going to receive a portion of the recovery associated with your claim. It does not hurt you to interview several attorneys before making a selection as to the best one to represent you. As such, it should not be difficult to locate an attorney who actually is a specialist and who will see your claim through from beginning to end.
- Locate an attorney who will provide you fair and competent representation basing his or her attorney's fee on a reasonable percentage of your recovery.
Virtually all attorneys who specialize in the personal injury litigation area operate on the contingency fee basis. In other words, they represent you without charging you an hourly fee associated with such representation, but rather deducting a percentage from the overall recovery that you obtain as an attorney fee. In the event that you do not obtain a recovery, most every attorney who specializes in this area will not take anything as an attorney's fee. The majority of contingent attorney's fee contracts in the personal injury litigation area start with the one-third contingent fee. In many instances, a one-third contingency is reasonable. However, in certain instances, particularly involving more serious injuries, you should be able to negotiate a fair contingency fee with the attorney you select.
- Locate an attorney who has client references available.
Ideally, you would like to find an attorney that will allow you to make contact with any client he or she has ever represented, from first to last, so that you can personally check the quality of representation provided. If the attorney you consult with is reluctant to provide you client references, that should tell you immediately that you need to be looking somewhere else.
- Locate an attorney that you feel comfortable with.
In addition to the above factors, it is also important that you feel comfortable with the attorney who is going to represent you. Be leery of the attorney that promises to do "too much, too fast." Presenting a personal injury claim to an insurance carrier in a competent fashion to obtain the best possible result for the client requires hard work. A claim presented hastily and without appropriate effort, investigation and research often brings less than the desired result.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us and discuss the situation. We are here to help.
Allen & Murphy. determined. focused. fearless.
Orlando Law Firm serving: Orange County • Seminole County • Volusia County • Osceola County • Brevard County • Lake County • Hillsborough County • Duval County • Polk County • Sumter County • Marion County • Kissimmee • St. Cloud • Winter Park • Winter Haven • Lakeland • Clermont • Deland • Ocala
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