Before proceeding any further with this post, we must stress that most car accident attorneys work according to the rules and do what is best for their clients. However, one segment of the legal market does not play by the same rules as anyone else.
You have probably heard about lawyers calling up potential clients to pursue their business. If that happens, you must be very careful. Never speak with them, give them any personal information, or sign any agreement. The person who calls you may not have to abide by the same regulations and may not always work in your best interests.
Attorneys Are Jockeying to Get New Cases
Lawyers are always in competition to get new clients. Since they work on a contingency basis, attorneys will not earn a living if they do not have a steady supply of new cases. Many personal injury attorneys will advertise, and others will spend a lot of money to make sure that prospective clients will see their names.
However, other lawyers either do not want to make the investment, or they want to short circuit the system to go directly to the source to get new clients. Often, they are either skirting legal rules or outright breaking them. One questionable tactic is having someone else contact you to sign you up as a client.
To be clear, most attorneys play by the rules. Most personal injury lawyers will market themselves using advertising and word of mouth. These are precisely what lawyers can permissibly do, so long as their advertisements follow professional responsibility rules.
Lawyers Can Use Many Ways to Identify Clients to Target
New technology has allowed lawyers to identify and target potential clients far more quickly than in the past. These technologies are not only unethical, but they may be illegal too. To understand why you should be wary of lawyers who solicit your business, you must know what happens when you sign on with one of these lawyers.
Some lawyers use unscrupulous methods to get potential client information even without new technology. There have been reports that police officers and hospital employees sometimes provide information regarding accident victims to lawyers. Accident victims are even getting calls in the hospital within 24 hours of the accident.
Be Very Careful and Suspicious When People Call You
First, there is a possibility that the person who has called you is not even a lawyer at all. They may just be cold-callers who solicit business for lawyers. With that in mind, the solicitor doesn’t have to follow the same professional rules as a lawyer. They may not have to abide by the ethical requirements that lawyers must follow. As a result, they will put their interests in front of yours.
Even if the person who contacts you is a lawyer, they will still put you in a bad position. The attorney who calls you and solicits your business will often not be the one who represents you. They are contacting you to sign you up and sell your case to another attorney. Then, you will have no say in who handles your case, not even knowing if they are up to the job.
While you can always switch lawyers in the middle of your case, you do not want to do that once you start with a lawyer. You have lost time, and your previous lawyer can have done severe damage to your chances of getting a proper settlement check.
Predatory Attorneys Damage Their Clients’ Legal and Financial Interests
Accident victims often suffer at the hands of predatory attorneys. They are already in a difficult position when they have suffered an injury in a crash. At that point, accident victims may be panicked and stressed, wondering how they will pay their bills. Besides their physical injuries, financial compensation may be at the forefront of their minds.
When predatory attorneys enter the picture, they often make promises to clients that they have no business making. In general, a lawyer cannot guarantee a client a particular result in their case. Nonetheless, when a client hears a lawyer’s expansive and often false promises, they feel a sense of reassurance and are willing to do whatever the lawyer tells them.
An Attorney Who Breaks One Rule Will Break Others
These attorneys know how desperate and worried accident victims are and take full advantage of it. When a lawyer shows a willingness to bend the rules to obtain clients, there is no telling what they can do once they are responsible for the case’s outcome. An attorney who breaks one rule is likely to break many others over time.
Therefore, you should hang up the phone immediately when anyone contacts you about your case and offers you legal services. Nothing good can come from talking to one of these people. You will likely be subject to intense pressure when you are already vulnerable. Never provide these individuals with any personal information.
If you have any conversation, ask who they are and whether they are an attorney. Many cold-callers pretend to be someone else when they first call an accident victim.
Most Attorneys Follow the Rules Carefully
Again, the vast majority of attorneys are not like this at all. An overwhelming share of lawyers will closely follow professional responsibility rules because they are ethical, and they know that their ability to continue practicing law can be at risk if they have broken the rules.
However, some may do business with shadowy operatives who have illegally obtained your information to make a profit. These lawyers buy cases from the solicitors, closing their eyes to how they received the case in the first place. When the lawyer has paid money for your case, they may have an even greater financial interest that may not align with yours.
Do Not Deal with an Attorney Who Solicits You By Phone
Still, you are better off not dealing with anyone who has reached out to you. Ethical attorneys do not do this. Unethical attorneys are likely the ones who will badly handle your case, costing you the opportunity to obtain financial compensation or reduce your check’s size.
These are the same attorneys who will advise you to accept a quick settlement offer, so they can be paid and move on to the next case, knowing full well that it is for far less than you deserve.
If an attorney breaks one rule to get you to sign up as their client, the chances are that they will violate far more regulations when they are working for you. The more the lawyer pressures you, the more suspicious you should become.
You Should Hire Your Own Lawyer
Never forget that you are the one who is in control after your accident. It may not seem like it at the time, but the legal rights belong to you. Every accident victim has the legal right to hire an attorney of their own choosing, and they are not bound to anyone until they sign a representation agreement.
Never sign a contract when you do not know the person you are dealing with. If you have signed a representation agreement with someone who has used shadowy means to sign you up as a client, you should consider switching attorneys.
How to Find the Right Attorney After You Have Suffered an Injury
There are multiple ways to find the right attorney after an accident that does not involve accepting an offer of legal services from someone who should not be making it. Regardless of the actions of a few bad apples, an overwhelming amount of personal injury lawyers are in it to help you. They want to fight for injured clients and their legal rights.
You will learn about these lawyers’ strengths after you contact them and have a conversation, and they will not break professional rules or state laws.
Even though it may seem easy to sign on with someone who calls, you must still do the work to find an experienced attorney who is the right fit for you. If you cannot do the legwork yourself, have a family member make the calls.
Never sign a representation agreement because it is an easy way to get legal help quickly. Your choice of an attorney can make an enormous difference in the success of your case. The option is in your hands, no matter what a telephone solicitor tells you.
First, family and friends can refer an attorney to you. This is a great way to go because, generally speaking, it’s coming from a source that you can trust. They may have had a positive experience dealing with a particular lawyer before who helped them obtain a favorable result after their accident.
Word-of-mouth is a powerful way to connect you with an attorney. Often, the best way to know how an attorney operates is to hear from someone who has already worked with them. The referring person can tell you how the lawyer works and what they did in their case (even though no two personal injury cases are the same).
Second, you should take advantage of the opportunity to schedule a free consultation with an attorney. Each car accident lawyer will offer free consultations to prospective clients. You can hear from the attorney directly how they view your case and what they may do if you hire them. You will also get a sense of the lawyer’s style and whether you have a rapport with them.
Come prepared with a list of questions to learn about the lawyer’s experience and how they will work with you. Accessibility is vital because you want to talk with a lawyer when you need them instead of being handed off to a paralegal or legal assistant.
Finally, you should pay close attention to attorney reviews. Not all attorney reviews are the same. Some lawyers have agreements with other attorneys to mutually review and recommend the attorney. The most helpful reviews are from actual clients who have worked with the attorney. You may find these on Yelp or Google. These clients will tell you how the lawyer did in their case. You may see comments about the client’s result and the service that the lawyer provided.
Do not feel pressured to do anything in your case. Only do what makes sense for you at your own pace. While you should hire a lawyer quickly after your accident, you should never rush, especially when it increases the chances that you will hire the wrong lawyer. Most importantly, never let someone rush you and pressure you into doing something against your interests.