Hi! Choosing between several personal injury attorneys in the same state -
should i care at all how close an attorney is to where the accident was ?
Does it have any impact in practice? say, how quickly they can obtain police reports etc?
That's an excellent question. In all reality, the answer to your question would be no--it doesn't really make a difference how close (or far) your attorney is located to the accident location. Just make sure that they're a competent lawyer who is going to zealously fight for you.
I agree, as long as they practice in the same state where the collision occurred it doesn't matter. My recommendation would be to choose the one that you felt most comfortable about, as long as they were equally zealous, because this could be a long relationship and good communication is critical.
No, you should choose the attorney who you think will offer you the best representation possible. Any attorney licensed in California can represent you. The headquarters of insurance companies your lawyer will be communicating with are often out of state, and police reports are easily obtained by mail or fax. Don't do yourself a disservice by choosing a lawyer that is very close, but maybe is not as experienced. My firm helps accident victims from all over the state, and distance has no affect on the quality of service we provide. Good luck with your claim and choosing the attorney that is right for you.
Whether to hire a local attorney or one from afar in our very very long State of California... the answer depends on the case, of course. Should a case be contingent, the lawyer will have an incentive not to travel more than absolutely necessary... should it be hourly, the attorney might enjoy racking up billable hours while waiting for a flight at the LAX cocktail lounge... of course, from the attorney side of it, if the case is small and far away, he or she should probably pass... but if the dollars make sense, then offer representation.
Though I am based out of Corona, California, I handle matters all over California... albeit getting me up north requires more than a couple bucks at stake.
If I were to hire a lawyer, I would want to meet that lawyer face to face and see his or her office and meet the staff... while maybe not a necessary formality prior to retaining the lawyer, I would just want to... that said, it's not always possible or feasible... and I have actually met more than a few clients after we've inked a retainer agreement (though we have talked ad nauseum and emailed prior to that).
Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker
Fransen & Molinaro, LLP
4160 Temescal Canyon Road, Suite 306
Corona, CA 92833
www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com
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There is another factor to consider when making your decision. Often times, it is helpful for a lawyer to go to an accident location to look around and get a feel for the area, see the flow of traffic, look at landmarks, street signs, lighting, or anything else. If a lawyer's office is far, it may be harder to accomplish this goal. Of course, this may or may not be a factor for your case, but it is something else to think about. Good luck.
At the risk of ruffling some feathers, I agree in part with my colleagues. By the way, all the attorneys that have answered are first rate in my view. Depending upon the specific nature of the case, I'm of the view local is generally to your advantage. Local counsel knows the players, terrain, jury pool, etc. I've seen outside counsel acheive great success, alas at least equally I've seen the opposite. I've been retained several times as local counsel. Likewise, I've aligned myself with local counsel where I'm the 'outsider'. Good luck.
You need an experienced attorney, who the insurance companies know will go to trial if necessary, but will also know when to recommend the right number. As long as the attorney is close enough to visit if you need a face to face, you should be fine. I think zealousness is overrated. If an attorney is too zealous he/she might aggravate the adjuster or defense attorney unnecessarily and/or might push too hard for the wrong reason. This may actually result in less money for the client.
I agree with the other answers with one qualification: If you select a lawyer at a considerable distance from the courthouse where suit will have to be filed if it cannot be settled, your retainer agreement should provide that the attorney will pay his own travel expenses. (Often, but not always if the case can't be settled, suit will have to be filed in the County where the collision occurred.)
For example, I am licensed in both Nevada and California and resident in Las Vegas. I recently had a big boating accident case that I filed suit on in federal court in Los Angeles. I had to make three trips to the LA Court before resolving the case. Although my retainer agreement was silent on the issue, I didn't deduct these travel expenses from the settlement because I figured the client could have hired an LA lawyer and I didn't want to penalize the client for hiring me.
The issue of whether you will have travel costs deducted from your settlement if the case has to be tried should be discussed in advance. The lawyer may truthfully say that most auto accident cases are settled without suit being filed, but sometimes suit has to be filed, or even the case tried, to get the client fair value.
As long as the attorney is licensed in California. You can hire any attorney you wish, even the ones not in your city. It is probably best to hire an experience attorney who you are comfortable with. However, it might be more costly if you hire an attorney too far from your area due to travel expense and inconvenience. It's best to hire someone who is familiar with the judges, clerks, and experts in the area near the accident (or your city)... litigation is costly so it's best to save money by looking for an attorney in your area. I'm sure you can find one closer to you that is good and you are comfortable with. Goodluck!
All the lawyers here are giving excellent answers. I think we agree the most important thing is to hire an experienced lawyer you are comfortable with and confident in. I would just add that there may be some valid reasons to go local. For instance, travel expenses would include mileage, meals and hotel. This of course must be factored in to the type of case you have and the value of your case.
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