Unfortunately when looking for legal services today, what most people see or read is merely paid advertising with messages that often distort the truth and deceive consumers. No doubt you’ve seen countless billboards, TV commercials, internet pop-ads or even heard radio commercials from law firms and injury referral services promising easy money or proclaiming ‘to be there to serve you in your time of need’. People often assume that a big advertising budget means that these people will be willing to invest significant resources and money into their case. Don’t let these ads fool you. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, most paid advertising is for factory-style firms or lawyer referral networks, which are built on a volume-based business model. Their main goal is to get hired by as many clients as possible and that is why they have ads everywhere you turn. Most volume-based law firms and referral networks spend a significant percentage of their money on marketing to you and only a very small percentage are their finances are actually devoted to developing your case. These firms accept any and all clients. They are looking for the quick win and easy money. They settle cases quickly, pay themselves and make their money with very little investment of time or resources.
Unfortunately, consumers are unaware of how volume-based law firms and referral networks operate and how detrimental their representation can be to the outcome of a case. But, insurance companies know exactly how these types of firms operate and use this information to their advantage. Many insurance companies today actually maintain active databases of such firms and referral networks. When insurance companies see a claim come in that involves these lawyers, firms, or referral networks identified in the their databases, they know that they can get away with offering very little on the claim because the history of the lawyer and firm show that they will not invest the time, energy and resources necessary to obtain a settlement that is any different from the countless other cases they have previously settled. As you can see, the volume-based model benefits everyone except the client! The clients are the only ones that lose in this factory-run operation.
Many consumers become innocent victims of these firms and referral services because they simply don’t know better. However, things may be changing for the better. Recently, The Florida Attorney General’s Office sued a well-known injury referral service for its deceptive practices, and that company was required to pay $550,000.00 for its actions. (Read article from the office of the Attorney General, Pam Bondi). We hope that the State will continue to pursue these deceptive people. More importantly, we hope that consumers of legal services will not continue to be deceived and harmed.
In the mean time, you must protect yourself from firms such as these. Real lawyers are not ambulance chasers and do not have high volume practices or participate in referral networks or have relationships with groups that advertise for medical help after an accident occurs. Real lawyers will put your needs above everything else. They are not “profiled” by insurance companies. Real lawyers will make significant investments in your case, spend the time to understand you and your loss, give you honest and objective legal advice about the claim, avoid relationships with unsavory medical providers, not rush your case to settlement, and spend the money to put your case in the best possible position for settlement or a trial. And, it costs no more to hire a real lawyer!
To find a real professional personal injury lawyer in today’s world, you need to take your time and do your own research. Ignore the paid advertisements and make the effort to find out everything about the lawyer and the law firm you are considering. Do not be afraid to dig for authentic and real information, not just what the lawyer tells you.
To help you, we suggest you ask “Three Critical Interview Questions” of each personal injury lawyer that you are considering hiring. A real lawyer will truthfully answer “NO” to all of these.
1. Ask the firm or attorney if they belong to or have ever belonged to or participated in any injury referral network service, and if they accept any and all types of cases.
2. Ask if the firm or attorney has ever had any sort of business relationship with any doctors, chiropractors or medical providers they seek to refer you to. Or, if a doctor, chiropractor or medical provider has referred you to the lawyer or firm, find out why. No legitimate firm or attorney should have a business relationship with a medical professional in regard to personal injury claims.
3. Ask if the firm or attorney have a contractual or business relationship with another law firm who will be participating in any aspect of your case. Law firms and attorneys today have made “deals” with high volume advertising firms that pay for and finance legal advertising and office practices. Without even suspecting it, you could be hiring a lawyer beholden to a law firm that is not looking out for your best interests. So, make sure you know who will really be representing your interests and that a specific lawyer is handling your claim.
You owe it to yourself to get authentic knowledge about the firm or lawyer who will be representing you. We hope these questions will help you find the right lawyer for your case.
You can find Samuel King on Google+.