First of all, it’s a great decision to use the services of an attorney to assist you in dealing with the insurance companies and adjusters. That makes a big difference in your case (and the settlement amount you will be offered)!
What attorney should you hire? The choices may seem endless. Every day as you drive down the highway and most streets you see countless billboards for personal injury attorneys. Clearly, you have a choice in who to hire. Does it really make a difference?
IT DOES! It makes a HUGE difference.
Any attorney you hire needs to have the experience to deal with your case and the strong and ethical reputation to be able to negotiate the best settlement for you (or if necessary, to file a lawsuit against the insurance companies). If you’re dealing with an attorney that does NOT have much experience in personal injury, the insurance adjusters will not make a fair settlement offer. If you’re NOT dealing with an experienced personal injury attorney, the attorney will likely accept the unfair settlement offer because, either: (1) they don’t know any better, and want to settle the case quickly to get paid, or (2) they’re not skilled trial attorneys with the experience to litigate your case or with the money to cover the costs of litigation, until settlement of the case.
Additionally, reputation MATTERS! Some attorneys, particularly in the personal injury area of the law, have a bad (or unethical) reputation with the insurance companies (and the adjusters with whom they will be negotiating on your behalf). This leads to lower offers from the insurance companies because they may not trust the evidence submitted by the attorney or because they know that the attorney is not very good at what he / she does, and that the attorney is willing to take lower settlement offers.
The moral of the story is – choosing the attorney to represent you is a big decision! DO YOUR RESEARCH. Make sure you hire a reputable attorney with the experience to get you the compensation you deserve. The attorney you choose CAN make the difference BETWEEN leaving you with mounting medical bills and no money to pay for them, OR paying off all your medical bills, plus a fair amount of money in your pocket to cover any future medical expenses and to reimburse you for the pain and suffering you’ve endured through the entire ordeal.
Where do you start your research? Visit the State Bar of Texas website at: https://www.texasbar.com/
On the home page you will see the Find a Lawyer feature. Type in the name of the first and last name of the attorney, and law firm (if you know it), you are considering hiring. The profile for that Texas-licensed attorney should appear.
Information that appears on each attorney’s profile includes:
Law school and year graduated
Public disciplinary history for Texas and other states
The website states that Texas disciplinary sanctions within the last 10 years are shown. For sanction or disciplinary information beyond 10 years, you need to contact the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel: (877) 953-5555.
IF the attorney you’re considering is not listed in this directory, then that means that either the attorney is NOT a licensed attorney in Texas with the authority to represent you, or the attorney has lost his/her license to practice law in the state of Texas. Either case, move on to someone else….
At Pelaez Law Firm, all our attorneys have the experience you need and the right reputation to get you the compensation you deserve!