Everyone wants to hire the “best” lawyer for your case. The reality is that there is no such thing as the best attorney for every case. This is especially true in car accident lawsuits in Illinois. The right lawyer if you are hit by a CTA bus or other commercial vehicle and have a major injury isn’t the right one if you are hit be a teenager with limited insurance and suffer a back strain. The right attorney if you are hit by someone with a $1 million policy may not be the right one if you are hit by someone with no insurance at all. And if you need someone that speaks a foreign language, or is patient with older people or can do a home visit, etc. that may change who is “best” for you.
One way to end up with the best one is knowing who the worst ones are. Attorneys that have been licensed for less than five years will usually not have the experience needed to get the greatest result possible for you. Not to say that they couldn’t, but your chances of success with someone who has 20 or more years under their belt is higher.
Another “worst” attorney to look out or is one that won’t take cases to trial. I was recently talking to a top Chicago personal injury lawyer who wanted me to refer him cases. I asked about his other referral sources and he told me that 1/3 of his case load comes from a lawyer who only settles cases. That means that the attorney will sign up your case and never file a lawsuit. They will try to settle it and if they can’t, at the last minute they’ll refer your case out. So you end up actually being forced to hire some attorney you don’t know and never intended to work with.
This is despicable in my opinion. Quite often in these cases, the best strategy for the client is to file a lawsuit right away. With new rules in Cook County that governs how long a case has to go to trial, filing sooner versus later can create a lot of leverage for you. Some attorneys would rather wait until the two year time limit for suing is almost up. That’s in their best interests, not yours.
So in the end, their clients end up with a new lawyer. That lawyer isn’t going to be up to speed on your case. They won’t know about conversations you’ve had with the firs lawyer on the case. They won’t have been with you every step of the way. It’s not impossible to succeed in that situation but it’s far from ideal.
My suggestion is before you hire a lawyer, ask them how many cases they’ve taken to trial or arbitration in the last five years. Also ask them when they’d file a lawsuit on your case and confirm that they’d do it themselves and not punt you to someone else. If they don’t have a history of trying cases and won’t file the lawsuit, they aren’t the firm you should hire. There is a much better lawyer out there for you and it shouldn’t be hard to find.
If you’d like the input of an attorney as to which lawyer is best for you, you can call us for free any time at 312-346-5320.