Commentary by Ed Zebersky
As I have been driving around town lately, I have seen billboards boasting the amounts of money that law firms have obtained for their clients. There are no shortage of ads promoting lawyers who handle lawsuits. Whether it is on the Internet, T.V., radio, or public posters and billboards, you will see repeated claims that “ABC Law Firm got me 100k” and such-and-such a lawyer will win you huge amounts of money in damages; they may also promise a quick settlement in your favor, holding out the hope that you will not be dealing with a protracted case that lasts for many months. These claims all sound very promising, especially if you are struggling with medical bills or other steep expenses resulting from damages to your health, the well-being of your loved ones, or your property.
While the results obtained by lawyers can be a good measuring stick, it can also be very misleading. Take caution, though, and beware of lawyer advertisement. As you take in an ad and all of its claims, keep the following issues in mind:
You might get a large amount of money as a result of the suit, but ask yourself how much would wind up going towards outstanding medical expenses and subrogation liens. For instance, if you get $100,000 in damages for a case, but $90,000 needs to go towards paying your medical expenses and liens and you were out of work for three months, what have you really won? Then the settlement does not look so good.
When a lawyer promises a speedy settlement, make sure this will not result in you getting shortchanged. If your lawyer settles too quickly, you may wind up getting less money than you deserve for your case. Depending on the case, a favorable settlement could take more time. On the other hand, you do not want the case to drag on unnecessarily. You need a lawyer who knows how to make good judgments on a case-by-case basis, rather than make blanket promises or struggle to settle for anything at all.
Check who will actually be handling your case. There are some lawyers who seem to have huge, splashy ads everywhere, and take in a huge volume of clients that they then either refer to other lawyers or hand over to various legal assistants to handle most of the details.
It is important when it comes to hiring a lawyer that you ask that lawyer for their qualifications and not just past results; and do not get taken in by impressive-looking ads that make enticing promises. Investigate the reputation of the lawyer, the results they have gotten in similar cases, their experience in the area of law most relevant to your suit, and what they will charge you. You should also be able to obtain an initial free consultation to discuss your case and see if they are a good fit for you.
Ask the lawyer whether they go to trial or whether they settle most of their cases. Normally when lawyers do not go to trial, the insurance companies know that and do not offer the maximum amount to clients with those lawyers.
Also ask what type of civic organizations that those lawyers are involved. When lawyers give back to their community, it is usually an indicator of how that lawyer will treat you during your case.
When you contact Zebersky Payne Shaw Lewenz, LLP, you can expect transparency and a straightforward discussion of your case; your initial consultation with us will be free, and will not obligate you to enlist our services. If you do hire us, what you can also depend on is personal attention, expertise, and a dedication to getting you the best results for your case.