My wife is a big fan of Netflix. Recently, I was looking for movies involving lawyers and found an old short lived television series called “The Defenders”. I am not sure if there was more than just the series pilot but the defense attorney’s son helping him try a case in which the Defendant was a young Steve McQueen was none other than William Shatner of Star Trek. He had a full head of hair and as most of us when we were much younger was much smaller.
At the same time, I quickly realized the irony of William Shatner as an attorney because none of us can go without watching TV without seeing him or some other movie celebrity endorsing some personal injury law firm. I have always wondered why a person who is seriously injured in an accident would pick a lawyer based upon a celebrity’s recommendation. I believe the 1957 series in which William Shatner played an attorney was probably the closest he ever came to knowing anything about what makes a good personal injury attorney.
I have been representing injured victims for 26 of 28 years as an attorney. Before that, I was an insurance adjuster and for a few years after law school was an insurance defense attorney. I learned through those few years many of the things that make a “not so good” personal injury attorney. When people ask me how to choose the right personal injury attorney, five things come to mind. Hopefully, these will help if you are looking for a personal injury attorney.
- Care. Does the lawyer and his or her staff treat you like a person, like you are the most important client in the office or are you just one of many? Do not be fooled, lawyers with fancy television, radio and yellow page ads spend thousands of dollars advertising with the hope of landing the “big one”. With those firms, if your case is the “big one” you will be given excellent attention; however, if not, it is likely that your case will be passed down to the least experienced attorney and be put on the back burner. Choose a firm where the people in the firm care about you and your family and what damage the accident has caused regardless of the severity of the accident or the injuries.
- Experience. Choose a personal injury attorney who knows what it takes to best resolve your case. Most personal injury cases settle without the need of trial. However, that does not mean the insurance companies just send a blank check. Your attorney should be experienced on how to deal with insurance companies to get them the information that they need to put the highest value on your case to give your case the best chance of settlement. Although not all cases can be settled many times you will end up putting more money in your pocket after payment of all of the expenses that are associated with the lawsuit if you settle as opposed to going to trial.
- Trial experience. Although most cases settle, not all do, so you need an attorney who has tried cases involving severe injuries and substantial damages. Also, not only do you need trial experience but you need court room experience and the legal experience and knowledge to successfully oppose the many motions that insurance companies and their attorneys bring to defeat your case before you get to trial.
- Reputation. Choose an attorney who has a good reputation with insurance companies, judges and defense attorneys. Things to look for are attorneys who are members of Plaintiff’s organizations such as the American Association of Justice and the Wisconsin Association of Justice. These are associations of which only Plaintiff’s lawyers can belong and are of great assistance helping Plaintiff’s attorneys best represent their injured clients against the multi-billion dollar insurance industry.
- Dedication. Your personal injury attorney should be dedicated to representing injured victims and their families and only injured victims. Attorneys who work for law firms that do insurance defense work or represent large corporations may have an inhering conflict of interest in making decisions that are best for you and your family in your particular case. Successful personal injury attorneys put in the hard work and the hours to make sure that your case is best prepared as possible at all stages of your case. It is not enough to take in the case and wait for the insurance company to call and send the money. It takes a dedicated attorney working with a dedicated team of other professionals for you to achieve the best outcome possible.
We have been representing injured victims of accidents for nearly 30 years and have tried many and settled hundreds if not thousands of cases to the financial benefit of our clients. Our team cares about you and your family and you will never be treated as just another case. We are prepared at all times to present your so that you can achieve a reasonable settlement or a successful outcome at trial. We negotiate with insurance companies of which you may have to pay money back to at the time of the recovery so that you get as much money from the settlement or verdict as possible. We do not treat personal injury claims as files but as people and their families.
We, as most personal injury attorneys, take cases on a contingency fee basis which means there is no payment for our fees unless and until there is a recovery. We would be glad to speak with you about any questions you have about a personal injury claim at no cost or obligation. Please feel free to contact me, Mark Krueger, in the Madison area at (608) 824-9540, in the Baraboo area at (608) 356-3961 or statewide at (866) 455-2993.