This blog continues our exploration into the variety of ways clients find the best personal injury lawyers. The selection of a lawyer may be the most important decision the client makes throughout the entire process of Winning a Personal Injury Claim. I have developed a nationwide network of personal injury attorneys to whom I make referrals. Feel free to contact me if you are in need of a personal injury attorney, especially in the Philadelphia area and the Main Line.
A person injured in an accident should never select a lawyer by the recommendation of someone they first meet at the accident scene. Our country is filled with ambulance chasers who appear at accident scenes. Lawyers should build their practice by establishing a reputation of competency, not by chasing ambulances. Lawyers who accept cases from ambulance chasers, will not only be getting relatively bad cases, they will also be breaking the law. It is illegal to pay a non-lawyer to refer cases. In many such cases, the injuries will be faked or exaggerated. You must resist the illusion of easy money presented by ambulance chasing lawyers. Lawyers who pay non-lawyers for cases get caught, and then they lose their license to practice. If the lawyer you select gets disbarred because he is an ambulance chaser, the insurance company will suspect that your case is a fraud. It’s not worth the risk.
One way to find the best personal injury lawyer is through the recommendation of close friends or family members. This is also the best way for lawyers to find good clients. Potential clients who come to a lawyer because of a favorable recommendation from a “satisfied customer” are the most loyal of clients, and generally have relatively good cases. “Word of mouth” is everyone’s best advertising, and it is absolutely free
Clients sometimes check with their local bar association to determine if any lawyer they are considering has a good reputation. If the disciplinary record is clean, you can continue to consider hiring this lawyer. Some bar associations will not recommend attorneys as they prefer to remain neutral.
Sophisticated clients consult legal journals that review the results of personal injury cases. You can find these publications online, in your local law library, or through the bar association. They provide the details of various cases, names of lawyers, and case results. You may be able to find lawyers who have handled cases similar to yours. One such journal is Jury Verdict Review.
Nowadays, many clients conduct their own research, starting with the Internet. Attorneys should have some kind of Internet presence, preferably a professionally done website. You should also “Google” yourself so that you will see what others will see if they research you in this way. I advise clients never to post anything on the Internet that might ever embarrass them. This goes doubly true for lawyers. Not only will prospective clients have access to much of what lawyers post, opposing counsel will also gain insights this way.
The firm’s website may tell potential clients a lot about the lawyer’s personality, and will provide insight into areas of specialization. If there is something on the website that makes you feel uncomfortable, move on to the next law firm’s website.
Getting a Referral from One Lawyer to Another Lawyer
An excellent way to find a lawyer is through the recommendation of a lawyer you trust but who cannot represent you. Many times the referring lawyer will receive a referral fee from the lawyer who will represent you. This assures that he will seek out the best possible lawyer since this will maximize his referral fee. But it also means that the lawyer who represents you will not receive a full fee for his work. Perhaps he will not devote the same attention to your case as to the cases where his fee is larger.
You should do a Google search on any lawyer or law firm to whom you are referred. Go to www.google.com and do a name search, or use any other search engine you are comfortable with. Refine your search by enclosing the lawyer’s exact name in quotation marks. For example, “Googling” “Evan K. Aidman” produces 148,000 hits. If you “Google” “Evan Aidman,” you get only 17,500 search results. Remove the quotations marks and search Evan Aidman. This generates 1,000,030 results. Search engine results vary, day by day, as the amount of information on the Internet changes.
Within five minutes of Googling my name, you will know more about me than I would probably want you to know. You will find links to my website, publications I have authored, a legal brief I prepared for the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers’ Association, links to my synagogue and high school websites, and more. You can even read about my lawsuit against a California lawyer who plagiarized my entire website and posted it on his own website. Chutzpah! I won that lawsuit, so you won’t find the stolen site on the web.
Google has a feature that allows you to find recent newspaper articles. Click on “News” and insert the name you wish to search. Google News only retains articles for a certain number of days as they relate to current events. However, older articles should appear in a regular Google search. The Internet is a great way to uncover a lawyer’s newsworthy cases or disciplinary problems. Lawyers should Google potential clients, too. If there is something bad in a client’s background, lawyers need to know this before spending resources on the case.
For more on finding the best Pittsburgh injury lawyer, click here.
To find the best injury lawyer in Philadelphia, click here.