Generally speaking, the more serious the injury, the more you stand to lose by hiring an amateur lawyer. The more complex the case, the more beneficial it will be to find an experienced, trusted attorney.
It’s a common misconception to believe that an experienced lawyer will cost you more in legal fees. Working with an experienced lawyer can bring you peace of mind and save you money at the same time.
This article covers 7 reasons to avoid hiring an amateur lawyer after a personal injury or wrongful death caused by the negligence of another.
1. An amateur lawyer may not recognize a lowball offer from an insurance company.
According to the Insurance Research Council, settlements were 40% higher when a lawyer was involved in the process. There are many reasons why this may be true.
An experienced lawyer knows how to recognize a lowball offer from the insurance company. Insurance adjusters are notoriously difficult to work with, as many of us know after trying to make basic claims against our auto or home insurance policies. It’s the insurance adjusters’ job to protect the assets of the insurance company and limit your offer. Chances are high that you and the insurance adjuster will not initially agree on whether an offer is “fair” or not.
An amateur lawyer may not accurately account for the ongoing effects of your accident injuries. They may be willing to accept a settlement that will not cover the full range of costs you may accrue over time.
2. An amateur lawyer may not know when to settle or when to go to trial.
Deciding when to settle and when to go to trial is more of an art than a science. An amateur lawyer may avoid going to trial because they are unsure of their ability to perform. Alternately, an amateur lawyer may ‘jump the gun’ and take your case trial unnecessarily.
An experienced lawyer is less likely to involve his or her own insecurities and emotions in the decision about when to settle and when to go to trial. Confidence and level-headedness come with experience.
3. An amateur lawyer takes longer to do things.
Sure, the amateur lawyer’s fees might be less per hour. But does it matter, if it takes your lawyer twice as long to file the same reports and take the same affidavits when compared to a more experienced lawyer? Inefficiency drives up your costs.
Repetition improves efficiency. Your attorney’s experience in similar cases drives up efficiency, which will save you money in hourly legal fees.
4. An amateur lawyer may not recognize a good case when they see one.
An experienced lawyer will be more likely to avoid cases that can’t pay for themselves, whereas an amateur lawyer might take a case and only realize at some point down the road that the case is faulty.
Likewise, an experienced lawyer will recognize a valid case, even if you don’t do a good job of presenting it in your free initial consultation. An amateur lawyer may not be able to see a gem until it’s been properly cleaned up.
5. An amateur lawyer may lack the knowledge to manage your expectations.
An amateur lawyer may not know what kind of timeline to expect, especially if your case is one of the first of its kind that your lawyer has handled. What if you expect to receive compensation in three months, but then it actually takes three years? Can you imagine how this expectation might mess with your emotional and financial peace? What if you expect to receive $3 million, and, instead, receive $15,000?
Although no experienced lawyer can predict the future with 100% accuracy, an experienced lawyer’s expectations will be a lot closer to reality than an amateur lawyer’s. Managing expectations is an important aspect of developing peace of mind.
6. An amateur lawyer may not know all the elements that could be included in compensation demands.
Future medical appointments, travel costs, missed work, missed opportunities for job promotion, disfigurement, future costs of insurances, mental health therapies, the cost of your pain and suffering, the cost of the pain and suffering of loved ones and dependants – all of these elements and more may be included in a fair compensation award.
An amateur lawyer may miss some of the future costs of your injury or lack the confidence to make a full pain-and-suffering adjustment.
A personal injury lawyer receives detailed training in determining shared liability. Some people hesitate to approach a personal injury lawyer because they know that they bear some of the blame for the injury. An experienced attorney knows how to use algorithms and legal precedent to split liability between culpable parties.
7. An amateur lawyer may lack clout within the legal system.
Ever notice how you answer your boss’s email immediately but postpone responding to a less-respected colleague? A lawyer’s reputation and standing in the legal community help her get results. This isn’t a matter of brown-nosing people in power. An experienced and reputable lawyer has spent years of hard work to earn the respect of paralegals and administrative staff, other lawyers, clerks and judges, and insurance adjustors.
An experienced lawyer also has resources within the community to help him work faster and more effectively. An amateur lawyer may have fewer colleagues on whom he can call when he has questions about an area of law outside his expertise, whereas an experienced lawyer may be able to draw from a network of other trained professionals to improve his research.
Hiring an amateur lawyer to represent your personal injury case may cost you money and erode your peace of mind. Look for a lawyer who has experience with your type of injury in the Las Vegas area, whether that be a brain injury lawyer, car accident lawyer, dog bite injury lawyer, etc. Ask for specific examples of similar cases and their outcomes at your initial consultation. Interview several attorneys before hiring one. Ask for references from previous clients. Trust honesty and modesty more than charisma and flash.
Most personal injury attorneys want the best for their clients and are conscientious about meeting the high standards of the legal industry. Finding an experienced and reputable accident injury lawyer near you should be a fairly straightforward process, especially in a city like Las Vegas with a well-developed legal community.