6 Red Flags When Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

So you’ve been in an accident that resulted in injury and loss, and you’re looking for a good personal injury lawyer to represent your interests. In a perfect world, any attorney would be a good choice, and any attorney could be trusted with your case – but this is not a perfect world. Unfortunately, there are a few lawyers out there who are incompetent at best, and who prey upon the vulnerable at worst. You need a lawyer who will look out for you, not see you as another paycheck. Fortunately for you, there are a few reliable ways to tell a trustworthy attorney from one who is not. When hiring a personal injury lawyer, here are 6 important red flags to watch for.

1. Inflated promises

Some attorneys like to sell themselves on the belief that they can get you an astronomical amount of money for your injuries. These lawyers will make exorbitant claims of high-dollar settlements they’ve gotten for their clients. (Perhaps you’ve seen some of their commercials on TV.) The red flag here is that too much focus is on the dollar amount, as though that is the end result rather than justice. An attorney who tries to appeal to your sense of greed is most likely greedy himself, and just as likely to extract large sums from you as he is from the defendant. Furthermore, sensationalized promises usually turn out to be far less than you imagine them to be. Your case might indeed warrant a large paycheck, but a trustworthy lawyer will focus on justice rather than dollar amounts.

2. Guaranteed results

Another red flag similar to the one above is when a personal injury lawyer “guarantees” you a minimum amount, or guarantees you a win of some sort. The glaring problem is that there are no guarantees. Your lawyer can’t control what the judge will do, what the other attorney will do, or what the jury will do. It is both unethical and illegal for any attorney to offer you a guarantee, so any lawyer who does so is highly suspect. Run the other way.

3. Overstating your injuries

Some dishonest attorneys will either exaggerate the nature and severity of your injuries, or pressure you to do the same, in an attempt to land a larger payday. This is known as a personal injury fraud, and it is a crime. Any lawyer who is willing to commit fraud or pressure you to do so is not a safe person to hire, period.

4. Lack of experience

Of course, lack of experience is neither a vice nor a sign of dishonesty – every lawyer starts with no experience. However, an inexperienced attorney is statistically more likely to make mistakes, and less likely to win. Make sure your attorney has at least several years of proven courtroom experience; if he doesn’t, and you still want to work with him, at least make sure there’s someone else in the firm who can track your case and step in if necessary.

5. Inadequate communication

Simply put, a lawyer who won’t return calls is not one to be trusted. It either means the lawyer is too swamped with other cases to give yours the attention it deserves, or that he doesn’t really care about your case or have faith in it. A good attorney should always be quick to provide regular updates and answer calls and emails to keep you in the loop.

6. Expects payment up front

There’s a simple reason why you should avoid hiring a personal injury attorney who demands up-front payment: His money is guaranteed, and yours is not. If you’ve suffered an injury accident, you’ve already suffered loss, and as we’ve said, there are no guarantees. The last thing you need is a lawyer with no skin in the game making your dilemma worse. A good attorney will let you know if you have a valid case, and he will be willing to invest the effort to get you the settlement you deserve before taking his own fees. At Sutton Slover Law, we strive to be upfront and above board with all our clients. We won’t make inflated promises or unwarranted claims; we work to keep you informed; we aren’t afraid to go to court, and we don’t get paid until you do. For a free case evaluation, call us today at 404.768.0292.