Finding the right attorney for any case is important. When you need to hire one, it usually concerns very important life circumstances. Whether you have been injured, been unfairly terminated from employment, denied some form of insurance benefits, are starting a new business, want to adopt a child, are getting divorced or considering bankruptcy – whatever it is, it’s probably topping your list of important issues.
Family, friends or co-workers may have offered advice or recommended an attorney, but you want to do your homework. You want to find the right lawyer for your case, if you decide to hire one at all.
So how does a legitimately injured Louisiana accident victim go about hiring an attorney? Is there an easy, step-by-step method for finding and hiring an honest, experienced, highly qualified attorney, and spotting ones who aren’t? Are there instantly available resources to help you hire the right attorney and avoid the wrong one? How does one navigate the numerous attorney ads found these days in the yellow pages, on television, and other lawyer advertising to find a good personal injury attorney?
My personal opinion . . . I am tired of attorneys (and their clients) who file frivolous claims. They cause delay for legitimate personal injury cases having true merit. They have helped to create a litigation climate so combative that legitimately injured accident victims now have great difficulty getting justice in our court system.
To make matters worse, some attorney yellow page and television advertising have given the impression that our court system is some sort of get-rich-quick lottery. It isn’t. Believe me, there’s more to it. Much more. Properly representing a client in a serious and legitimate personal injury or other type of claim is serious business, requiring hard work by a highly experienced and qualified attorney.
Consumers should have enough information to help them find a highly qualified and experienced attorney if they choose to do so. The decision to hire an attorney is an important one, and the lawyer you hire can make a big difference in the outcome of your case. A person should not feel rushed or pressured into making an uninformed decision. The consequences can be long-lasting, good or bad.
Since leaving the insurance defense practice in 1995, and after a two-year stint as a felony prosecutor, I have devoted more than 95% of my law practice to representing injured accident victims, families affected by wrongful death and people wrongfully denied long term disability insurance coverage. That’s all I’ve done for over 20 years.
When I was still defending large automobile, truck, and other insurance companies, offshore drilling contractors, industrial vessel owners, and other corporations against accident and injury claims, I became aware that some attorneys representing accident victims were very good, extremely prepared, and willing to go to trial. Others, in my opinion, were not so good, completely unprepared, and unwilling to go to trial. Some in the latter category settled serious cases for what I thought was much less than fair value.
One particular attorney, despite being in the latter category, seemed to often have legitimate cases with very serious injuries. He told me that his television commercial brought him many of these cases. Late one night, I saw his television commercial. It was basically a jingle, or song, featuring his name, photograph, and telephone number. Frankly, it reminded me of commercials advertising a certain brand of ice cream or maybe hot dogs.
That same night, I saw another commercial for another attorney advertising for car and truck accident cases. This one showed the lawyer actually driving a military tank, running over and smashing into automobiles. Amazing!
No, I didn’t make this up.
These commercials made me wonder. I tried putting myself in the shoes of people who would hire these attorneys, based solely on their commercials, to handle a high-stakes personal injury case. Did they think, “that’s a nice jingle! I’ll hire him!” Or, “He crushes cars with a tank! He must be a good attorney!”
I still can’t make sense of it. But it did strike me how little useful information is available to help a person who doesn’t know where to look besides television commercials and yellow page ads to find an honest, highly qualified and experienced attorney.
Why would someone suffering a serious disabling injury, or losing a loved one in a terrible accident, rely on silly jingles and meaningless images alone as their basis for hiring an attorney for such an important matter? Why would they spend more time investigating the purchase of a new automobile or appliance than they would investigating to make an informed attorney-hiring decision?
The reason? Lack of useful information on how to go about hiring a good attorney. Lack of knowledge about helpful, instantly available resources. Lack of an easy step-by-step process. Until now.
Good luck, and whatever you do, don’t lose faith! When approached with honesty, persistence, and proper preparation, our civil court system can and will deliver justice!
Following graduation from Loyola Law School in New Orleans in 1990, Price McNamara served as a Federal Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable John M Shaw, Chief Judge, United States District Court Western District of Louisiana.
Mr. McNamara founded the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara, and began putting his past experience to work for the injured and disabled clients he now represents against the insurance companies in personal injury and long term disability and other insurance disputes in both federal and state courts