After you’ve been in a vehicle accident the unsolicited advice begins to pour in. What you should tell the insurance company, whether you should call a Nashville accident lawyer, which lawyer you should call, whether you should see a doctor, how much your case is worth, whether you should settle.
The plaster has barely dried on your cast. Your head hurts and your car is totaled. What you want is to sleep for a week but those closest to you have other ideas. They mean well but their chorus of voices leads to hasty choices that may hurt your ability to recover from a crash, physically, emotionally and financially.
If you are the victim of a car crash in Nashville or Middle Tennessee, avoid these common 5 mistakes.
5 Common Mistakes When Hiring an Attorney
Using a Friend of a Friend who is a Lawyer
Almost everyone has a friend who is an attorney or knows one. Maybe this attorney has handled accident and other personal injury cases. Maybe not. The best accident lawyer for you will know Tennessee personal injury law, will be familiar with how insurance companies handle crash claims, and when to take a case to trial. Scores of attorneys rarely set foot in Tennessee courtrooms.
The right lawyer to handle your car crash claim is rarely going to be the friend of a friend – unless that friend has had personal experience with the same attorney in a personal injury case. The easy path is not always the best one.
Confusing Splash with Substance
Expensive television ads and billboards show a law firm has a big marketing budget and a knack for self-promotion. But often once you’ve signed up with such a firm, your case gets assigned to a less experienced attorney – not the seasoned face that caught your attention in the television ad.
For personal injury cases, you need a Nashville attorney with accident case experience. The more serious the injuries, the more experience your attorney should have. In evaluating your options, experience and professionalism far outweigh promotional capacity.
Skipping Basic Research on an Attorney
The Internet makes it much easier to research an attorney’s background for red flags. In Tennessee, the Board of Professional Responsibility, a division of the Tennessee Supreme Court, reviews complaints filed against lawyers. Many are handled through mediation and private discipline, including censure and reprimand. The most serious cases are investigated and result in public disciplinary action. The Board maintains a database of attorneys licensed in Tennessee so you can check to make sure the one you are considering is in good standing. Any public disciplinary actions also show up in a basic database search.
Check out the website of the legal practice and look for client reviews or testimonials. Separately, Google and Yelp reviews can be very instructive. It isn’t unusual for a client who is unhappy with how a case turned out to blame the lawyer, so look at patterns of behavior rather than focus on a single negative review.
Hiring Someone Who Avoids Trial and Always Settles
Certain attorneys and law firms in the personal injury field stay profitable by taking on large numbers of cases and settling them quickly. They avoid going to trial because it takes time and money to properly prepare a case.
Each vehicle accident with injuries is different. Sure, many will share certain aspects but a good attorney evaluates the facts of each case and then devises a strategy. Any lawyer or personal injury firm with a “one size fits all” approach to handling cases does not have your best interests at stake.
Engaging an Attorney who Promises a Settlement Value
The initial discussion gives you a great deal of information about the character of the person who may handle your accident case. Ask the money questions and listen carefully to the answers.
When you ask about fees, if the lawyer is vague or reluctant to disclose them, move on. If you ask about the value of your case and the lawyer promises a certain amount from settlement or trial, keep shopping. Shortly after an accident is too early to know what the damages, especially medical bills, lost work time, plus pain and suffering, may be.
An experienced, professional accident lawyer may give you an early estimate or range with qualifications – all the facts aren’t in, you haven’t seen all the specialists, each case is different, etc. Picking the person who gives you the highest estimate is a recipe for disappointment.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Hiring a personal injury attorney is the start of a partnership. You want someone with impeccable qualifications and significant experience. Just as important is whether you feel comfortable talking with the lawyer, and get a sense that he or she has your interests at heart and will take the time to listen to you and keep you in the loop.
Passion and consistent communication distinguish solid personal injury attorneys from ambulance chasers. Whether you have a new case or are unhappy with how your current case is being handled, trust that I will be your biggest advocate.
“Fighting for your rights” Contact David Weissman and the law firm of Raybin & Weissman for a confidential consultation of your case today at 615-256-6666.