Red Alert! 7 Red Flags to Look for When Working With a Personal Injury Attorney
Personal injury attorneys provide representation for those hurt due to carelessness, negligence, or impropriety. Unfortunately, not all injury attorneys practice equally. While you’re focused on recovering and winning fair compensation, an unscrupulous attorney might have dollar signs dancing in their eyes.
If you’ve recently sustained an injury and you’re seeking a personal injury attorney to handle your claim, here are seven red flags to look out for in your search for counsel.
Signs of a reliable personal injury attorney
It’s essential to know how to recognize an ethically dubious personal injury attorney, but it’s equally important to understand how to recognize a dedicated one. Knowing what a quality attorney looks like will help you better weed out the riff-raff.
As you proceed in your search, keep the following characteristics in mind. Consider these your “green flags” that an attorney has your best interests at heart. A quality personal injury attorney will have not only the following green flags but also a strong reputation. For example, with more than a century of combined experience in the arena of personal injury law, Schwartzapfel Lawyers is popularly regarded as the best personal injury law firm in New York City.
They keep you in the loop
Consistent communication is the cornerstone around which strong attorney-client relationships function. Therefore, a reasonable attorney will do everything in their power to keep you informed of what’s happening in your case and make sure the lines of communication remain open.
They’re prepared to see your case through
The majority of personal injury suits end up settling out of court. However, a conscientious attorney won’t hesitate to step up to the plate and take your case to trial if they think you deserve more than the defendant is willing to grant you in a weak settlement.
They don’t promise more than they can perform
Being offered false assurances that don’t pan out can feel like being injured twice. The best attorneys are careful to manage expectations while working tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome for your case. These lawyers won’t promise more than they can deliver, so you’ll know that you’re being told like it is.
Red flags of a personal injury attorney to look out for
Be wary of unscrupulous attorneys who display these telling faults. Any one of them is cause for concern—more than one is a sign that it’s time to find another firm.
They make guarantees
As mentioned, shrewd attorneys never make assurances they can’t follow through on. While it might be tempting to put your faith in an attorney who acts like they can’t lose, this kind of bravado is generally a signal that they’re either inexperienced, incapable of risk assessment, or just plain dishonest about your chances.
They ask for payment upfront
Personal injury attorneys collect their fees from the money awarded for a successful settlement or lawsuit, meaning they only get paid when their clients do.
Whenever an attorney demands a retainer or cash for expenses before they’ve done any work, it could indicate they’re more concerned about their compensation than yours.
They don’t stay in close contact
Your attorney is your only liaison to the court. Keeping you informed and up to date about the status of your case should be priority number one to your attorney.
If your lawyer isn’t answering your calls, responding to your emails, or making themselves available for office visits, it’s a safe bet that it’s not because they’re absorbed in your case.
They’re murky about their billing procedures
One of the first things your injury attorney should educate you about is how they bill for their services.
If they decline to do so, even when asked directly, consider it a tip-off. This lack of transparency could be a ploy to take advantage of you by stringing you along or hitting you with hidden fees.
They claim to be an expert in multiple categories of law
The best attorneys specialize in one field and one field only. An attorney who practices personal injury law on a part-time basis won’t have the same expertise as one who pursues it full-time, and you can’t count on a dabbler to win you a high-stakes settlement. In law, a jack of all trades is a master of none.
They can’t—or won’t—provide proof of results
If an attorney has a record of winning cases like yours, they should produce a portfolio showing as much.
Those who dodge such requests could have something to hide. At best, it may be an unimpressive track record. At worst, it could be a history of predatory legal practices.
Their poor reputation precedes them
Once upon a time, attorneys gained new clients primarily through word of mouth. Nowadays, it’s possible to go online, read through a few client testimonials, and get a good idea of how capable a particular attorney or firm is.
While reviews sometimes vary, they’ll generally be enough to help you make an informed decision.
The sheer number of personal injury attorneys advertising their services can make it tough to tell the true champions of justice from the charlatans.
But with sound judgment and a little savvy, you can find an attorney that genuinely cares about your wellbeing and is willing to fight to protect it.