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As Seen On TV: The Truth Behind TV Lawyers

May 27, 2014

Their ads run constantly every day on television. Personal injury lawyers boasting of big client settlements for modest injuries resulting from accidents or medical malpractice. Beware!  Although the lure of a quick and lucrative settlement for injuries is enticing, hiring a TV lawyer may not be a wise choice. Selecting the wrong lawyer can be a devastating move and ruin your only opportunity for fair compensation. Here are a few things to consider before you hire an attorney.

What Are You Hiring?

Television lawyers attract new clients with illusions of quick and extremely large settlements. It sure sounds attractive, but is usually too good to be true. These law firms draw in an assembly line of new clients through their doors every day. These “mills,” as they are called, advertise on television to catch as many personal injury cases as they can snag. Besides bombarding television viewers with several commercials a day, you see some on billboards throughout your community, on bus boards, or sponsoring a favorite professional sports team.

Mill law firms may be okay for fender benders or accidents with minor injuries. However, when dealing with a wrongful death lawsuit, a debilitating injury to the family member who earns the majority of the money for the family, or a parent of dependent children, it is foolish to choose these assembly line firms.  TV and billboard lawyers may promise to move a case along quickly, but in the end their clients with serious injuries often sacrifice adequate reimbursement.  These assembly line firms routinely churn out poorly prepared cases and then coerce their clients to accept inadequate settlements.

As a potential client, you need to find an excellent attorney who specializes in your type of injury case and is skilled to take it to a jury trial (if necessary) to get you the best result.  A well-prepared case by an excellent attorney encourage the defense to settle out of court for a just amount.  TV lawyers tarnish the law profession by churning and burning clients, leaving many disappointed and poorly served.

When looking for a well-respected and highly-qualified personal injury attorney, do your research to determine who will actually be the person representing you.

Who Is Really Representing You?

Although the person on your television screen says he’s ready to fight for you all the way through your case, that person is typically not the lawyer who will represent you. Firms with television commercials or billboards are usually lawsuit brokers that farm out your case to another law firm for a sizeable commission, called a referral fee. Often times television or billboard lawyers are not even located in the state where you see the advertisements.  Many are call centers that don’t identify the lawyer who will be representing you, because the intake clerk doesn’t know who is next in the pool paying for the case leads.  The intake clerk’s failure to disclose this vital information goes unnoticed by the client until after he or she has signed up for legal services.

What Do They Specialize In?

Again, research attorneys using reliable independent resources before selecting someone to represent you. Excellent attorneys normally focus in only one or two personal injury specialties.  By contrast, lawyers on TV, billboards, or sponsoring a sports team claim to handle all types of injury claims. Their call centers are waiting for the phone to ring so they can capture claims and sell them off to other lawyers for hefty referral fees.

It’s always important to hire an attorney in the specialty you need help. Hiring an attorney who represents drunk drivers or handles dog-bite cases makes no sense if you are looking for representation for a serious automobile accident or medical malpractice case.  Find an attorney who genuinely understands your type of injury case and has proven expertise in the field.

How Can You Find Excellent Representation?

Finding excellent representation will take some research and effort. All attorneys are not the same or fit to handle your case.  There are many kinds of attorneys, just as there are many kinds of doctors.  Research reliable independent sources to learn the facts and consider them carefully before deciding on representation. Here are a few good resources:

Independent Attorney Rating Services

There are several trustworthy and independent attorney rating services that can help guide you.  Select an attorney with a sterling rating and education and experience in the injury specialty you need help. Trustworthy lawyer rating services including: Primerus.com, Martindale.com, and Avvo.com.  Even attorneys consult these resources to learn about each other.

Recommendations from a Trusted Attorney Friend

A recommendation from a trusted attorney friend can be a good way to find an excellent attorney in the injury specialty.  Think of it the same way you would look for a specialty doctor, such as a brain surgeon, pediatrician, or OB/GYN.  The most common way people select a specialty physician is through recommendations by their own family doctor.  Among personal injury attorneys, you’ll find dozens of legal specialization including worker compensation, slip and fall, industrial accidents, products liability, aviation crash, automobile accident, and medical malpractice.  And those are just a few.

Free Consultations

Before you make a selection, be sure to get a free consultation in person or by phone.  Most law offices will give you a free consultation.  Meet the attorney and legal team, ask them questions, and judge carefully. You want to be sure the law firm will be the best fit for you, personally and financially.

Hire a Reputable Law Firm

An excellent attorney with a proven track record is respected, discreet, and rated highly by independent rating services, and not on a television commercial or billboard pushing their services. Excellent attorneys choose their clients carefully and will only take a select number of cases each year.  They specialize in certain fields of personal injury cases and represent the client’s interest first and foremost. Most of their cases settle quietly out of court.

Unlike lawyers you see on television or grinning on a highway billboard, a reputable attorney and legal team will meet face to face with the potential client, set expectations from the start, and handle the case from sign up to the check signing at the end.

When a well-qualified attorney handles your case, it sends a clear message to the defendants, insurance company, and defense law firm your case is of a sound-basis, will be meticulously prepared, and pursued to a favorable conclusion. If the defense is unreasonable and fails to settle for a reasonable amount, the skilled attorney will try the case and at trial explain the law and harms and losses in language juries understand.

Put simply, don’t hire a TV or billboard lawyer.  Most will prepare your case like just another widget on their assembly line of cases. Instead, hire an attorney of the highest caliber, skill, and integrity to ensure you receive the best possible result.