You need a personal injury lawyer. There are a lot of them out there. Should you just toss a coin? Should you pick the one on the back of the phone book? Should you call the guy or gal who is listed at the top of Google? Well, let me ask you this…what do you do when you need a doctor? If you think you are having a heart attack, you go to the nearest emergency room and hope that the medical professionals there take care of you. It is an emergency – you may not have time to plan and do your doctor research before you select a doctor. If you did have time, I suspect you would do a little research first. You would ask your friends, family, co-workers, workout buddies, fellow church members, and neighbors. If no one you know can recommend anyone, maybe you will select someone at random. But I’m certain that when you meet with the randomly selected doctor, you will make sure you feel comfortable with that doctor and his/her staff before you let him/her perform any procedures on you. Why? Because your health is important. It could be a matter of life and death and you know that despite the doctor’s advertising, despite his credentials, despite his pretty office and fancy car, you want to know that he is good – that he can help you.
Why is it different with lawyers? I don’t know, but it is. If you have suffered an injury, you know all too well how your life can be turned upside down. A car crash can lead to medical bills, missed work, stress, and pain. It is important that you have an attorney on your side, who is compassionate to what you are going through. All too often, I have injured people come to me reporting that they selected an attorney in haste – from the internet or phone book – and felt let down. That person then wants me to fix things – sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t. Don’t get me wrong, some of the lawyers on television, in the phone book, on the billboards, on the internet are fantastic attorneys. And thank goodness those attorneys are putting their names out there so that folks like you can find a solid injury attorney. But I’m sure you know the opposite is true. Some personal injury attorneys spend small fortunes getting their name out there and then they have no training or experience to do the work. Lately, we have been hearing of lawyers paying companies to use dirty “tricks” to place their firm name at the top of Google. A New York injury attorney, Eric Turkewitz has written an informative blog on this topic and you can read it here.
These tactics frustrate me. If you find yourself or a family member needing the assistance of an attorney, I urge you to do your homework. You do your homework with your doctors, your babysitters, even future bosses and your attorney should be no different. You should seek to hire someone who specializes in the area of your injury, who has the necessary training and experience to do a good job, who has a solid track record, who is well regarded in the legal community, but perhaps most importantly, someone who you feel comfortable with. Some things cannot be learned from a paper (or electronic) resume. You have 5 years, in most cases, to file a Missouri personal injury claim and 2 years, in most cases, to file an Illinois personal injury claim. You should hire an attorney as soon as you can but don’t rush. Meet with lawyers, ask questions, ask others for recommendations, and choose someone you feel you can trust. Don’t just flip a coin.
©Lindsay Rakers 2014