Hiring a bad personal injury lawyer to represent you could potentially knock thousands of dollars off of your settlement check. It may even cause you to have your lawsuit thrown out without being awarded any compensation.
We often have people ask us, “How do I know if my lawyer is good or not?” and, “What can I do to make sure that I don’t end up dealing with a bad attorney in the future?” We have endeavored to answer these questions below. These tips should help you find the best personal injury lawyer in your area.
How to Spot a Bad Lawyer
By watching out for the following telltale signs, you should be able to quickly tell whether your attorney is inept or not:
As you work through your personal injury case, you should receive regular updates from your attorney. They should be letting you know about new evidence they have found, settlement offers that they have received, and a host of other pertinent information. If your lawyer is not communicating with you on a regular basis, they may not be suitable for the job.
To avoid dealing with an attorney who refuses to provide you with updates, you can ask them about their communication preferences during your initial consultation. If you prefer to chat regularly by phone, but they insist on sending a monthly email instead, they are not the right lawyer for you.
What to Do When Your Attorney Ignores You
If your attorney does not respond to any of your calls, texts, or emails, you can send a certified letter to their office. In the letter, you should question their silence and let them know that you are prepared to find a new lawyer if necessary. If you still have not heard from them within a week or so, you can begin the process of hiring your new attorney.
Unclear or Unfair Billing
When you enter into a relationship with a lawyer, you expect them to bill you fairly. You also expect them to be able to provide a detailed explanation for the charges you receive. Unexplained or surprisingly high bills should be treated as signs of a bad attorney.
To avoid being surprised by invoices from your lawyer, you should ask them about their billing practices during the initial consultation. If you are not happy with their response, you can suggest changes or work with a different attorney.
Unethical, immoral, and illegal behavior is one of the surest signs of a bad lawyer. If your attorney lies in court, destroys evidence, or makes decisions without consulting you, it may be best to look elsewhere for legal representation.
Before hiring your next lawyer, you can examine their ethics record by combing over the online reviews and looking at their Bar Association profile. If you spot a pattern of negative ethics reviews and official warnings, consider hiring a different attorney.
Experienced attorneys understand how important it is to handle personal injury cases in a timely and efficient manner. If your lawyer is constantly making excuses as to why they have not yet filed paperwork with the court or spoken to a witness, you most likely have bad legal representation.
The best way to spot a lazy or disorganized lawyer is to check their online reviews. If their clients regularly report missed deadlines and other issues, you should look elsewhere for legal assistance.
No Respect from Other Attorneys
When lawyers are diligent, intelligent, and thorough, they will earn the respect of their peers quite quickly. However, if they are shady, sleazy, or untrustworthy, they can also develop a bad reputation in a hurry. If your attorney is not well-respected in the legal community, you may wish to reconsider your hiring decision.
To find out more about the reputation of a lawyer that you wish to hire, all you need to do is talk to other attorneys. Their reaction to the news that you are considering working with a specific law firm should tell you all you need to know about that firm.
Lack of Interest in Your Case
The attorney you hire to represent you in your fight for compensation should be laser-focused on your case. If they instead seem distracted by another case or by something that is going on in their personal life, they may not be right for you.
You can generally get a good feel for an attorney’s interest levels during an initial consultation. If they are asking lots of questions and providing you with detailed explanations, they will most likely be a good hire. On the other hand, if they seem to be zoning out or just going through the motions, you may be better off looking elsewhere for legal help.
This content is brought to you by Mariano Rodriguez.