There are a ton of attorneys who tell you that they are personal injury attorneys. A ton. Over 1,000,ooo hits come up when you Google Sacramento personal injury attorney. That is a lot of attorneys. How do you pick one?
There are some questions you should ask an attorney before you hire him/her:
- Are you a member of your state trial lawyers association?
- Are you a member of your local trial lawyers association?
- Do you or anyone in your firm also represent insurance companies?
- Do you take continuing education courses on personal injury cases?
- How much of your caseload is personal injury work?
- What other personal injury experience do you have?
Okay, let me explain why these questions are important.
The first two questions, regarding belonging to trial lawyer associations, show a commitment to representing plaintiffs, agreeing to a code of conduct, and a desire to learn and help other attorneys.
The third question will let you know if the attorney also represents insurance companies. When you find an attorney who also represents insurance companies, you should question him/her on how much income they make from insurance companies compared to representing plaintiffs. Do you want someone who also gets paid by the adversary?
The fourth question will let you know how up to date the attorney is on personal injury law. The law changes constantly. Heck, a new case came out last week. Does your attorney know about it and how it could effect you?
The fifth question lets you know what else the attorney does. There are a lot of attorneys who think they can handle personal injury cases, but spend the majority of their days handling contracts or divorces or whatever. The insurance companies know who makes their living handling personal injury cases and they pay more attention to those attorneys.
Finally, you want to know what other experiences the attorney has in personal injury law. For example, is the attorney a former insurance company attorney? (Notice the use of the word former.) Is the attorney a former claims adjuster? These people have experience you may not find anywhere else.
Personal injury law, like most things, requires a specialist. Find someone who is involved in their state trial lawyers association, takes continuing education classes and works as a personal injury attorney. This is in your best interest in the long run.