Hiring the Best Injury Lawyer
By J. Scott Robertson, Personal Injury Attorney
Free Consultation in Accident Cases: 410-749-9111
Talk about adding insult to injury: You are injured in a car or truck accident. You hire a personal injury lawyer based upon a flashy advertisement or someone else’s recommendation. After you hire the lawyer, you realize that the attorney is not doing a good job, won’t fight for you, does not treat your case as a priority, or most frustrating of all, will not return your phone calls.
I frequently receive phone calls from individuals that made a bad decision when hiring a personal injury attorney and want me to take over the case. Unfortunately, it is often too late for me to take over a case one another attorney has been retained.
It is very important to hire the right attorney the first time! So this begs the question:
How can you quickly find a well-qualified personal injury attorney who will treat your case with the importance it deserves?
Fortunately, you can quickly determine the qualifications of personal injury attorneys, as well as their reputations with other attorneys, judges, and their past clients.
Below are the questions I would ask before hiring an accident attorney. I have supplied my answer to each of the questions for your convenience if you are considering hiring me. I believe these questions and the answers I have provided may be usefull to anyone seeking legal representation for injuries sustained in an accident.
Please click on the Metropolitan magazine cover to read the feature article about the background, experience, and civic involvement of the husband and wife team of accident attorneys – J. Scott Robertson and Laura E. Robertson. Please feel free to call us today at 410-749-9111 for a free initial consultation for your car or truck accident injury case.
Questions to Determine the Best Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case
1. What is the attorney’s reputation among other lawyers and judges?
This is surprisingly easy to determine if you know where to look. Since the mid-1800’s, the Martindale-Hubbell organization has been providing unbiased reviews and ratings of attorneys based on its anonymous survey of judges and other attorneys. Based on the survey, a lawyer is given a peer rating, the highest of which is AV-Preeminent. Less than 5% of attorneys hold this best rating.
You can look up any attorney in the United States at www.Martindale.com or www.Lawyers.com. Obviously, it is better to hire an attorney who has the highest possible rating from judges and other attorneys. Be aware that attorneys can block (hide) their rating from the public if it is unfavorable. You probably want to avoid attorneys who block their peer rating.
I am honored to hold an AV-Preeminent rating from my fellow attorneys and judges. You may review my rating, as well as specific comments, by clicking here.
I am proud of the fact that over 50% of my clients are referrals from other attorneys who recommend me based upon my experience and reputation for client satisfaction and results.
I have also received several legal awards and honors: I was the statewide recipient of the Shea Professionalism Award from the Maryland Bar Foundation. I have received the Leadership in Law Award from The Daily Record and the Partnership Award from the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. I am a past president of the Wicomico County Bar Association and a past District Governor of the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA), representing Dorchester, Worcester, Somerset & Wicomico Counties. I also previously served on the Executive Committee and as Co-Chair of the Governance Committee of the MSBA.
2. What do the lawyer’s past clients have to say?
Martindale-Hubbell also collects verified client feedback and lawyer ratings. This can provide you with a great deal of insight on past client satisfaction. Is the lawyer responsive to client concerns? Did the lawyer do a good job? Are there unfavorable or blocked reviews?
3. What is the attorney’s reputation with insurance companies, agents and adjusters?
There is no public source to answer this question. But I would point to the following factors regarding my qualifications and reputation with insurance companies:
- I spent ten years representing insurance companies in the defense of accident and injury cases, and had a very strong reputation as a successful defense attorney.
- I am frequently asked to serve as a neutral case arbitrator by insurance companies, and have done so in several cases. Insurance companies would not ask me to do this unless they respected my experience and legal abilities.
- I have represented multiple insurance agents in their personal cases. In fact, as I am writing this (May 2012), I am currently representing a well-known Nationwide Insurance agent and his wife for her auto accident injuries in a pending court case.
- I have received many referrals from insurance agents and adjusters, who trust me to represent their friends and family.
4. Is the lawyer and his or her firm dedicated exclusively to personal injury cases?
I was previously a partner in a prestigious firm in which the other lawyers practiced other areas of law. I can tell you that this was a disadvantage, as the firm’s resources were not all focused on accident cases. That is why my wife (attorney Laura Robertson) and I established Robertson & Robertson, Accident & Injury Attorneys – to have a law firm where all of our staff had only one goal: to serve our personal injury clients extraordinarily well.
5. Is the lawyer experienced at personal injury accident cases? Does he or she truly understand insurance companies?
My practice has been dedicated to accident cases since 1993. For ten years, I represented insurance companies in the defense of personal injury lawsuits. This gives me a tremendous advantage, as I have great insight on how insurance companies evaluate claims and cases and how to best present a case to achieve the best possible result.
Although the majority of cases settle without a lawsuit, I have tried approximately 200 accident cases to verdict. Insurance companies know that I will not hesitate to take a case to court if necessary. Unfortunately, some personal injury attorneys have the reputation of only wanting to settle cases, which hurts their negotiating leverage. I believe my experience and reputation often helps achieve a great result without having to take a case to court.
Many attorneys who handle criminal law, divorce cases, estate planning, etc., will also take an occasional personal injury case. I believe it is better to hire an attorney whose only priority is accident cases.
6. How do I know you are reputable and ethical?
Great question! My reputation is extremely important to me. Here are a few factors to consider:
- I have the highest possible peer rating from Martindale-Hubbell for both legal abilities and ethics.
- I was the statewide recipient of the 2004 Shea Professionalism Award from the Maryland Bar Foundation, based in large part on my strong ethical reputation and a history of volunteerism and civic leadership.
- I have been appointed to several public positions of trust in my native Wicomico County: Chairman of Wicomico County Charter Review Commission, Chairman of Wicomico Public Library Board of Trustees, Subcommittee Chair of Wicomico County Consolidated Functions Committee.
- I have served in leadership positions in several other organizations: President of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce; President of the Salisbury Jaycees (receiving the national Kulp Award); Chair of the Administrative Board of Trinity United Methodist Church; Trustee of The Salisbury School.
- I have always felt that giving back to the community is important. I believe that commitment is demonstrated in the above civic leadership and my involvement in several other community an charitable causes.
7. The most frequent complaint about attorneys is that they do not communicate effectively or return phone calls. How do I know that you will keep me informed and promptly respond to my questions and concerns?
We communicate very well with our clients and always return phone calls promptly. Please review our client testimonials to hear about our outstanding, responsive service.
8. What is your goal when taking on a personal injury case?
We are focused on achieving the best possible recovery for our clients. But we also provide great “service before the settlement”. Life is busy and stressful enough. Being injured in a car or truck accident can throw your life into disarray. Missing time from work, finding, arranging and attending appropriate medical care, dealing with multiple insurance companies and adjusters, confusing paperwork, arranging car repairs and rentals, and many other issues are confusing and extremely time consuming. We will lift much of that stress off of your shoulders so that you can focus on what matters most: your medical recovery.