HOW TO SELECT AN INJURY ATTORNEY
You’ve been involved in a major injury accident and the selection of the Attorney/Law Firm to represent you is a critical choice. The following will give you my evaluation of those things that are Most Important based on over 30 years of experience in the field of Personal Injury. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been involved in a Motorcycle Accident, Auto Accident, or Pedestrian Accident, the Attorney you select if he or she is ‘good’ they can handle any of these cases.
Ask yourself, What do you want from the Lawyer you select? If you’ve been seriously injured then you most likely want an attorney who has Litigation experience and can take your case to Trial. The chances of finding that attorney is similar to finding a “needle in a hay stack”. You have to be very careful and weed through ‘fancy advertising’ both television and print that captures your attention and in the end gets you relatively nowhere, but lets assume that you suffered a serious injury, something is broken or torn, you’re out of work, you’ve got everyday bills to pay to support yourself and your family. You need to be self-assured that you’ve made the right decision, not have to revisit your choice of a Lawyer 1 year from now.
Two Types of Attorneys
First type is the “Negotiator” and they represent pretty much over 95% of the Personal Attorneys out there. They will essentially do what your mother-in-law or your best friend can do for you which is to negotiate with the Insurance Company and eventually settle the case. The only thing wrong with this picture is that in general you’re leaving some 80-90% of the value of your case on the table to me that isn’t good. Eliminate this Firm, your best choice is to select a Trial Lawyer who can “file a lawsuit” and litigate your case. At that point you’re probably at 75% of the value of your case, now depending on the experience of the Trial Lawyer you may get to 100 % of value, you want a firm big enough to secure a track record of handling major litigation but small enough that you will be able to meet with the attorney every so often to appraise you on the movement of the case.
THE BASICS OF HIRING AN INJURY ATTORNEY
#1 Here are some basic essential to selecting the ‘right’ Attorney Law Firm for you. Number one, talk to the Attorney not a secretary or clerk hopefully you’ll speak to one of the partners in the firm, that Clerk may not be there next year. You want to feel confident this is the ‘best’ lawyer for you. Think about it, you’ll likely be talking to him a year and a half later when you’re in a Mediation or beginning a Trial. (If your discussion doesn’t go well or you’re not able to speak to an Attorney than “Eliminate ” this Firm.)
#2 Experience and years in the business. Obviously if the firm has existed less than ten years “Eliminate ” this Firm, move on.
#3 Specialization. This is a tricky one. You’ve heard the expression “Jack of all trades Master of None.” Well it’s exactly the same in law. If you are selecting a law firm that handles Personal Injury exclusively then you’re fine. However, if the firm handles Trusts, Wills, Family and Criminal Law then you’re likely in trouble. My suggestion is to go to the website and see if they practice in other areas, if they do, you can do better, “Eliminate”this Firm.
#4 There are approximately 3,500 members in “Consumer Attorneys of California” (Trial Lawyers Association) of which, we’ve been a member for over 20 years. These are the Professionals. These members receive and analyze verdicts throughout California on a daily basis. If this Firm is not a member than its likely one of the 180,000 actively practicing law in California. How can you specialize in a practice area without having membership in the Professional Trial Lawyers Association. If the firm is not a member, “Eliminate ” this Firm.
#5 “Show Me Category.” Does the prospective firm handle Jury Trials or “just Negotiate Settlements.” This is critical, for one reason and one reason only. In injury cases Defendant’s are always represented by Insurance companies whether it be a Ford Motors, Proctor and Gamble, State Farm, or the City of Los Angeles. If the firm doesn’t have a reputation for handling Jury Trials that’s three strikes against you my friend you’re out. Your Lawyers will never get the respect that a legitimate Trial Firm will get. If you have a Real Objective Injury such as a fracture, torn ligament, scaring, burns etc than you will want to obtain the full 100 % value from the Defendant not have the Insurance company laugh at you and your Lawyer behind your back. If you owned a Bentley or a Ferrari would you seriously consider a local mechanic who works on Hondas and Toyotas, to perform the repairs. If they don’t litigate, “Eliminate” this Firm.
The fact that NELSON & NATALE is a ‘Trial Firm’ means that we practice Litigation on a day to day basis. Litigation is the process by which you enter into the Civil Court System by filing a Lawsuit, doing Discovery, taking Depositions and proving your case. Time to wake up, there are only a few good Trial Firms in California, statistically speaking less than 1%. In order to find us you will have to do your research. NELSON & NATALE has a proven track record of success consider the fact that 99% of our clients come to us as referrals from other clients as well as other lawyers. However, if you have the patience to litigate your case for its full value join a firm that has a proven track record of recovering the ‘Maximum’ amount of money for our clients, NELSON & NATALE.