Let’s face it, if you’ve never hired an attorney, chances are you have plenty of questions. Also, you’ve probably heard a lot of different quotes from law firm ads and people who’ve talked about their experience with an attorney. Although many of the viewpoints you have heard may be true, there are also many myths to hiring an attorney, myths that can either lower or raise your expectations of legal representation. Let’s debunk the myths and give you the facts.
“Hiring an attorney is too expensive.”
For most law firms, clients don’t have to pay a penny out of pocket for an attorney. Whenever a client retains his or her maximum fair recovery, a percentage of the compensation goes toward the law firm. If a case is unsuccessful, the client is not charged.
“I’ll take whatever they’re getting!”
While the amount recovered from a case may be similar to that obtained in another client’s case, there’s no guarantee that you will receive the same amount. Attorneys work hard to ensure their clients receive the maximum amount of compensation to cover their particular injury and any losses in the context of the facts and circumstances of each client’s case. Every client has a unique situation and fair recovery is not a “one size fits all” scenario.
“No need for a lawyer. My insurance will cover me.”
Although insurance companies provide coverage to their clients, it is common that these companies provide only a portion of what a client needs for their injury. Attorneys are there to review insurance policies for their accuracy and to check if the policies provide clients the coverage needed for their road to recovery. It is typically the better option to consult a legal professional who knows the law and facts about insurance policies.
“My case will settle quickly.”
It is true that some cases can settle quickly. However, there is no guarantee that your specific case will settle quickly. Again, your case is uniquely different from other clients’ circumstances. The legal process can take a great deal of time and there may be a great deal of resistance from insurance companies and their lawyers. Good lawyers will push the process along as fast as they can while making sure they are taking all necessary steps to obtain the maximum fair recovery for their client. Often a “quick settlement” means a settlement in which the client isn’t awarded what the case is truly worth. Likewise, maximum fair recovery may take some time.
“Hiring an attorney means that I am going to court.”
When most people think of lawyers, they think of arguing before a courtroom. Well, statistics show that 95% of cases settle before making it to trial. A case goes to court if a compromise has not been made between both parties. Otherwise, a settlement is made. Although most cases do settle, for the case to settle for your maximum fair recovery, a client needs a lawyer who is ready, willing and able to go to trial if need be. If insurance companies and their lawyers see an injured victim with a lawyer who has done the work to prepare a case for trial, they are likely to settle. And for the 5% of cases that must go to court, you need a lawyer who has ample experience actually fighting a case in court.
“Any attorney can represent me.”
This statement is far from the truth. Every attorney has specific practices in which they specialize. For an example, an attorney that represents injured clients may not necessarily also practice criminal law. Choosing an attorney that specializes in a practice that meets your specific needs is the most essential step in choosing an attorney. If you reach out to a law firm and their attorneys are unable to represent you, they will be happy to refer you to an attorney within their network that specializes in the practice your case needs. A potential client should interview potential attorneys and ask about their specific background in your case. After all, you wouldn’t go see your dermatologist for an ankle sprain.
It’s important to be well informed before investing your time and trust in legal representation. With this knowledge, you are able to approach your decision to hire an attorney more confidently and with the right expectations. The firm of deGravelles & Palmintier has represented severely injured individuals and their families for over 30 years and features a solid record of positive results. Our team of attorneys operates with a mindset of integrity and prioritizes our client’s needs throughout the legal process and beyond. If you or a loved one are injured, our firm would be more than happy to set up a time to talk.