This week I was interviewed by Randy Van Ittersum on the Business Leader Spotlight Show. It was a great experience and gave me the opportunity to share a lot of information that is helpful to you.
Randy asked me a number of great questions about why someone would hire a personal injury attorney, how attorneys get paid and how to find the right attorney. Here are some highlights from my interview:
Why hire an attorney?
Most people don’t want to have to hire an attorney, but let’s face reality, there might just come a point in life where you have to. The focus of our practice is injury cases, particularly those resulting from car accidents. Once someone is injured in a car accident, the insurance company handling the claim knows it is its job to watch the bottom line. The more money an insurance company pays out, the more it affects the bottom line.
Dealing with the aftermath of an accident is complicated and insurance companies are experienced in dealing with those complexities. They have experts who are experienced in ways to handle them. Insurance companies have been really good lately at branding themselves as your friend, but they’re really a business trying to minimize their costs.
That’s why if you’re injured in an accident, you might not want to hire an attorney, but you need to. We are here to defend and protect you and to make sure you get a fair settlement.
Medical payments can be the most complex part of an accident, especially with more people these days having government insurance – Medicare, Medicaid, VA. Handling claims with government insurance can be especially complicated. This is yet another reason for the importance of hiring an experienced injury attorney.
It is also not uncommon for hospitals to see accident insurance settlements as revenue streams. More and more hospitals are getting paid by the client’s health insurance at agreed upon rates, then filing liens against the settlement to recover their “full costs.” Hospitals are seeing injury insurance settlements as a bucket of money that they’re somehow entitled to share in.
For all of these reasons, I think everyone who gets hurt in an accident needs to hire an attorney to make sure they are treated fairly by all parties.
How do attorneys get paid?
Almost all injury attorneys are paid on a contingency, meaning they only get paid if the client gets a settlement. If a case goes to trial and the client loses, then the fees, and a lot of times the costs, are waived.
With that being said, keep in mind if you take a case to trial and lose, you might not have to pay me, but you’ll likely have to pay the insurance company’s attorney and all its fees and costs, and those can be many thousands of dollars.
That’s why communication between a client and his or her attorney is vital. Clients must understand, and attorneys must make sure their clients understand, all of the risks associated with litigation.
Choosing an attorney
Because communication is so important, clients should make sure they’re hiring the right attorney. They should ask around to friends and family for recommendations. They should go online and do some research by checking out attorneys and their backgrounds on Arizona Bar website. Once they have a list of two or three attorneys, they should go visit them in person, talk with them, ask them questions and make sure they’re someone you trust.
If you don’t have faith in your attorney, you are likely to have a problem.