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How To Choose A Personal Injury Lawyer

Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Car Accident Lawyer

Choosing the right personal injury lawyer is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself after a car accident. There is no right or wrong way to make this choice, but there are some common mistakes that people make. Most people have never had to hire a personal injury lawyer before, and do not know what to look for, or what to avoid.

1. Choose Your Personal Injury Lawyer Based on Credentials, Not Advertising

Lots of lawyers advertise in the yellow pages, on the Internet, or on TV. This means that they devote money to marketing - it does not mean that they are good lawyers or bad lawyers. Look at the testimonials, peer recognition and the attorney's achievements. That is what really matters.

At Clancy & Diaz, LLP our clients have given us glowing recommendations, Pete Clancy has a "Superb" rating from (an organization that ranks attorneys) and was named a 2010 Northern California Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine (this honor goes to only 2.5% of the lawyers in the State of California).

2. Choose a Lawyer Who Focuses On Personal Injury Law

It used to be that lawyers could run a "general practice" and do quite well. Some still do. However, it is to your distinct advantage to have a lawyer on your side who focuses on the area of law you are hiring him/her for.

At Clancy & Diaz, LLP the vast majority of our work is personal injury. This includes car accident cases, dog bites, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, premises liability cases, assaults and every other type of personal injury claim.

3. If Your Lawyer's Office is a Zoo, Chances Are He or She Is Too Busy

If your lawyer's (or prospective lawyer's) office seems like a zoo when you are there, imagine what it is like when you are not there. All offices get busy and hectic at some point, but to properly deal with your case, your attorney needs to be able to devote time to getting to know the facts of the case, your treatment, your damages, etc.

At Clancy & Diaz, we work hard to limit the number of cases we take on so that we can focus on each active case and give it the attention it deserves. This means that there are fewer errors, and that each case has more "force" behind it. This is obvious to the insurance adjusters and attorneys we deal with on a daily basis, and helps us achieve excellent results for our clients.

4. If A Lawyer Promises You The Moon, Be Suspicious

One natural question everyone has is "What's my case worth?" You were injured, you missed time from work and you want to know whether you will be fairly compensated. Don't be shy about it - the insurance companies certainly are not, and it is the only language they speak. Some lawyers will tell you that they are going to get you a ton of money in order to woo you into retaining them.

The value of a case is a function of your medical bills, your lost wages, any permanent disability, pain and suffering, future medical costs, etc. In other words, it is very hard to accurately assess the value of a case after just a short meeting. We may be able to give you a ballpark figure, but it is only after we have done a thorough analysis of your case that we are able to assign a value to your case.

5. Beware The Attorney Who Does Not Tell You About Repaying Liens

It is pretty rare that an attorney will try to avoid paying liens (for example, a hospital usually has a lien on your recovery if your are not insured). What attorneys will do, however, is fail to tell you up front that you have to pay liens (Medicare, Medi-Cal, hospital liens, etc.) so that you feel better about your case and retain them.

It does not serve anyone's interest to try to hide facts. At Clancy & Diaz, we are up front with our clients about liens and any other perceived problems. That allows us to be on the same page from the outset, and to maintain an honest and forthright relationship with our clients.