If you spend a few minutes in front of a TV, or just glancing a billboards while driving on a highway, you are bombarded by lawyer advertisements. One lawyer advertisement is more obnoxious than the next: "We're the Heavy Hitters". One personal injury firm has lawyers acting as though they are athletes hitting a home run on a miniature baseball field. At least that's original. The billboards have big pictures of not so pretty lawyers telling you that, "I will fight for you." (do lawyers actually fight?).
The lawyer advertisements are so similar with their outlandish promises and guarantees that you hardly notice them, right? But how do you tell who's telling the truth and who's full of it?
The Dirty, Little Secret about Lawyer Advertising
Here's something that lawyers will never tell you: 95% of the lawyers who advertise on TV and on billboards do not handle personal injury cases! That's right, the advertisements and tacky nicknames are just a facade. So, you ask, why do the lawyers advertise for personal injury cases? Very simple, money.
This is how it works. The lawyers spend a fortune advertising on TV and on billboards with their over-the-top advertisements and they are extremely successful in getting you to take the bait by calling them. Once you've taken the bait, the "TV lawyers" will try to settle your case quickly and in most cases, for a small fraction of the real value of your case. Quick settlements make easy money for the "TV lawyers" with little expenses and high fees (one-third legal fee in New York for non-medical malpractice cases).
But what if the "TV Lawyers" can't settle your case with little time, effort and money? The "TV Lawyers" refer your case to another law firm experienced in litigation with lawyers who actually try cases in a courtroom--lawyers in a litigation firm are called "trial lawyers" (this is the type of lawyer you want for your case). When the "TV Lawyers"refer your case to a litigation law firm, it's a win-win situation for them. The TV Lawyers do not do any work, yet when the case is resolved, they can get a portion of the legal fee that ranges anywhere from 20% to 75%. Not a bad gig if you can get it.
The dirty little secret about lawyer advertising is that TV Lawyers have no intention of representing you in court or bringing litigation on your behalf. You see, the "TV Lawyers" would not know what to do if they had to present a case in a courtroom. This is not what the TV Lawyers do. And you know what, the TV Lawyers are laughing all the way to the bank.
So what can you do to hire the right lawyer for your case?
It's real simple: do your homework when hiring a lawyer. Spend time researching on the internet and asking friends and family about "trial lawyers" with the best reputation handling a personal injury case. If your case involves a failure to diagnose a stroke, ask your malpractice lawyer, "How many cases have you handled that involved a failure to diagnose a stroke? When was the last time you handled this type of case? How much of your practice is devoted to medical malpractice? How many times have you appeared in trial on this kind of case?"
You'll find out that the "TV Lawyers" will become tightlipped and uneasy answering your questions. Eventually, the "TV Lawyers" will admit (if they're honest) that they have not taken any of their cases to trial, at least not in the last 10-15 years, but they know other lawyers who will do the dirty work for them. This is not the lawyer for you.
If you want to be different from the crowd, do your homework by checking peer review ratings on websites such as Martindale-Hubbell or Avvo.com, which will give you evaluations of lawyers by lawyers. Pretty good stuff, right? Then, go one step further by asking friends and family members about their experiences with personal injury lawyers. Did the lawyer do what they said they would do? Word of mouth recommendations are important when hiring a lawyer.
If you have questions, you can always call me
If you want more information, you can send me an e-mail at [email protected] or call me directly on my toll-free cell at 866-889-6882. You can always request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, which is dedicated to giving consumers (you) practical advice on how you can hire the right lawyer for your case. Good luck!