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If you were involved in an accident and wanted to sue, would it be better to NOT get a personal injury lawyer?

If you were involved in an accident and wanted to sue, would it be better to NOT get a personal injury lawyer?

personal injury
libra23 asked:

I’m just asking because I know that personal injury lawyers have kind of bad reputations now….and I see them advertising a lot on t.v., billboards, radio, etc. I was just wondering if having a personal injury lawyer would actually do a person more harm than good in a court? Also, do lawyers specializing in personal injury have to go through as much schooling and have as much education, as any other type of lawyer? If so, what’s so bad about wanting to help people that have been injured or hurt in an accident rather than helping someone convicted of some kind of crime?

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  1. cvq3842 says:

    They take a percentage of the award, but you can’t just do it yourself.

    I’d say you have no choice but to get a lawyer. the other sice will certainly have one.

    Try to get recommendations from friends you trust – ask them what lawyers they have used personally, and can vouch for.

    All lawyers get basic training, and are supposed to be proficient in their specialty. Before retaining a lawyer, check with the state bar that he or she does not have complaints filed against him or her. Also, make sure you understand the fee arrangements in full.

    Good luck.

  2. David M says:

    I do not do personal injury cases–just because that’s not the way my practice developed. I believe if insurance companies treated people fairly, there would be no need for personal injury attys. I do do p.i. mediation and arbitration, however. The education for p.i. attorneys is exactly the same as any other lawyer. They have probably concentrated their continuing legal education seminars on personal injury, however. Every state requires continuing education for attys. My state requires 17 hours of continuing legal education each year. I think you are much better off with a p.i. attorney. They’ve probably developed relationships with insurance adjusters and defense attys that will help you. I would never choose a lawyer that has to use billboards etc. to get clients. The very best way to find a good attorney is to ask everyone you know for recommendations. Good p.i. attys do not need to advertise. I’d run the other way from any atty that has to advertise excessively. I’m ok with ads in the Yellow pages, although I don’t even do that. But, attys do need some method to let the public know if they have a specialty. However, I’m much older and have developed a practice over a period of almost 30 years. My clients only come from referrals from other clients.

  3. Perdendosi says:

    (1) Yes, you want a personal injury lawyer because:
    (a) They’ve done this a lot, so they’re very good at it (generally)
    (b) They’ll take you on a “contingent fee basis” meaning that you don’t pay their fees until you win (or settle) your case. Other lawyers will, generally, make you pay up front on a per hour basis.
    (c) Other lawyers won’t take your case because they represent, generally, big companies, and they don’t want to look like attorneys who will (or can) sue them. There might be actual conflicts of interest (which prohibit the attorney from representing the latecoming party) or just the appearance to business that they represent people against their interest.

    (2) Yes, they go through as much schooling as any other lawyer. In fact, many take particular classes after they graduate in trial advocacy, anatomy, and particular issues in personal injury law.
    (There’s a belief that personal injury lawyers are not as smart as “corporate” or other kinds of lawyers because the legal issues they engage every day are generally not “complex.” Generally personal injury lawyers did not graduate at the the tops of their classes, but they have many other good skills that make them adept at their jobs)

    (3) “rather than helping someone convicted of a crime…”
    Criminal defense lawyers have the WORST reputation of all lawyers. PI lawyers are just seen as greedy and intent on bringing “frivolous lawsuits” against businesses, entities, and individuals who didn’t really do anything wrong (like products liability lawsuits, suing McDonalds, etc.) Their reputation is further impugned because they HAVE to advertise — “corporate” lawyers and the like have a book of steady clients who continually come back to them for business. Rarely, however, would a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit be a “repeat player.” So they have to find these individuals and tell them about their services — mass media is one of the best ways to do that. But people see the ads, think “eew lawyers,” and it makes it worse.
    There’s nothing wrong with these types of lawyers (John Edwards was one), but there are certainly bad eggs who (a) just try to get as many cases to settle quickly as possible, and (b) do a bad job with communication. So get good referrals, ask PI attorneys for recommendations from previous clients; investigate who’s got a good rep in town.

    Good luck.!~

  4. neoimperialistxxi says:

    You have asked a lot of good questions. I am a lawyer who has in the past, practiced personal injury law. I found something a bit more fulfilling for me, so I quit that area about fifteen years ago.

    PI lawyers have bad reputations because the insurance industry began a smear campaign against them about a decade ago. Insurance companies love to take people’s money, but they just hate to pay legitimate claims. when they refuse in bad faith to pay a claim adequately, the lawyer who punishes them becomes the bad guy. All those “lawsuit abuse” pressure groups? They are largely funded by the insurance industry because the industry doesn’t want to have to pay for bad risks, bad investments, and bad faith. They’d rather you and I paid for all of that.

    A PI lawyer is just a lawyer who practices in the area of PI. He has the same education as any other lawyer. Beyond that, all his continuing legal education (a yearly requirement for the maintainance of his license) is likely to be in areas specific to personal injury.

    I can’t think of a single instance in which I have ever seen anyone go to court without a lawyer who did better than he would have had he brought one along. Nobody is likely to hold it against you that you brought a PI lawyer to a PI case. To fail to engage a lawyer would be to find yourself at an extreme disadvantage, because the non lawyer just isn’t going to be able to take on an expert with any reasonable hope of success. Going to court without a lawyer would be like trying to fight in the colosseum with neither weapon nor champion.

    Now, finally, what’s wrong with helping someone who has been injured? Not one blessed thing, unless of course you happen to be the insurance carrier.

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