Don't Hire A Lawyer That Contacts You After An Accident
It's illegal and unethical for lawyers to contact you after an accident to try to convince you to retain them for your personal injury case. It's also illegal for lawyers to have other people contact you. They may try visiting you at the hospital or call to "check on you." They may even say that they know a lawyer that can "get you a million dollars." Don't believe them. These lawyers are the worst of the worst and you should avoid them at all costs.
Don't Hire a TV Lawyer
Most, but not all, lawyers that advertise on TV are "settlement mills" that take thousands of cases every year and settle them for pennies on the dollar. Despite their slogans and advertisements bragging about how tough they are and how insurance companies are scared of them, they never litigate or try cases and never see the inside of the courtroom.
Insurance companies and lawyers that defend personal injury cases know this and don't take TV lawyers - or your case - seriously. TV lawyers even know this themselves - when a TV lawyer has a complicated case with a lot at stake, they usually refer the case to a lawyer that actually litigates and tries cases. They do this because they don't want to litigate the case and know other lawyers will do a better job on the case than they will.
Don't Hire a Lawyer That Won't Meet With You In Person
A lawyer should be willing to take the time to meet with you in person, whether at their office or a location convenient for you. Don't settle for meeting with the lawyer's investigator, case manager or paralegal. If the lawyer won't even bother to meet with you when you're retaining him or her, what makes you think that the lawyer's going to keep you updated on your case and respond to your questions?
Don't Hire a Lawyer That Doesn't Specialize in Personal Injury
You wouldn't let your family doctor perform open heart surgery on you, and you shouldn't hire a lawyer that doesn't specialize in personal injury.
While it's common for lawyers to have several practice areas, personal injury should make up a significant portion of your lawyer's practice. Ask about the lawyer's experience in personal injury law, how many personal injury cases they're currently working on and how many they've handled in the past couple of years and about recent cases they've won or settled.
Be Cautious of Hiring a Lawyer with Bad Reviews
One of the great things about sites like Avvo is that people in need of an attorney can research former clients' experience with that attorney through reviews on Avvo, Google and other websites. While you shouldn't read too much into one bad review, you should be careful in retaining a lawyer with several bad reviews. If several former clients have had a bad experience, yours might not be any different.
You also shouldn't read too much into a lawyer that doesn't have any reviews. Lawyers are slow to embrace technology and there are many excellent lawyers who aren't familiar with attorney reviews and don't have their clients review them. For instance, two of Georgia's best personal injury attorneys don't have a single client review on their Avvo profile even though they've won millions of dollars for their clients.