How Can a Lawyer Help Me? Is It Worth Paying an Attorney Fee?

Jay Stillman

6 min read
Car Accident Questions
Photo: en:user:Dori, Public Domain

How can I know my attorney is doing what is best for me? How can I know if he or she wants to make a quick fee without hard work, and settle for less-than-full value?

These are the most important questions you can ask when deciding who to choose as your attorney. There are many lawyers making promises, hard sells, but you can usually tell how sincere and honest they really are!

How?  Look for these signs or “vibes” when talking by phone or in the office:

Does they lawyer explain all aspects of the process, both the good and the not as good?  Does he/she make sense, common sense?
Is he/she speaking from the heart and mind, knowledge, but with your best interests above all else?  If he/she does, you will know it.

Honestly and caring comes out in the meeting of your mind and his. If you are suspicious, a little less than comfortable, trust your instincts, they are usually right!

Does everyone who works with the attorney in his office believe in the same philosophy of the client comes first?  If “he is for real”, you will hear it and know it!

Once you trust each other, the following question becomes irrelevant:

Who can I call to get the truth about my case, without calling five-to-ten law offices, just to be either lured into an appointment, or cut off and hung up on?

In a nutshell, you need someone you can trust. If an attorney won’t take the time to explain everything you need to know, and answer all your questions, he or she is not who you need.

At Stillman and Friedland, we have been helping injured clients for thirty-three years. We explain the law, the process, and what you need to do now.

We understand that you are seeking information, an education into something new and painful for you. Whether you hire us or not, we offer this information and service at no charge.  There are a few basic questions people always ask themselves after suffering an injury. I want to address these questions for you here and now:

Most people clearly understand that in the case of a traumatic, severe injury, or in the case of wrongful death,  they will need an attorney to do the hard work necessary to assure they get the best settlement possible. However, there are many other injury cases which are less clear, for many reasons, and these represent the majority of injury cases.  Let’s look at a few points, so you can understand what an attorney can (and cannot) do for you, when you need a lawyer, and when you may do as well or better without legal counsel.

  1. An attorney “levels the playing field”. While you are wondering if you need a professional to help you, on the other side the opposing insurance company is wholly professional. They have their own attorneys on staff, as well as adjusters working from square one to get you to make statements that can reduce your chances of getting fair compensation, or even deny your case entirely.   Every time you deal with them directly, they are working against you.  When you put an attorney on your side, you protect your claim by having a professional who knows your rights, and the tricks used by insurance companies to save money. There are no morals or ethics on the part of insurance companies, the only goal for them is to save every dollar they can on every claim, no matter what hardships it causes for you!
  2. At Stillman and Friedland, we will tell you what your case is worth, how to obtain full value for your pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and more. If your case is not worth pursuing, we will explain why. If you can do it as well yourself, we will tell you how to do that. All this advise and information is given to you by our firm, at no cost, either by appointment, or phone and email!  An initial consultation will tell you how best to pursue your case, and advise you regarding how to obtain the best medical  treatment, how not to pay anything before settlement.
  3. At Stillman and Friedland we are experts in helping you maximize your financial recovery, and you pay nothing until we win for you.
  4. Here are three general factors which determine the value of a car or truck accident case:
    • Major property damage:  If your car is badly wrecked, this is usually an indicator that the people in the vehicle  were seriously injued.  Conversely, if you only have a minor scratch or fender bender on your vehicle, it is less likely that major physical trauma was caused by this accident.
    • Large medical bills and extended treatment:  Proof of injury is largely determined by the amount of medical treatment you need.  You should seek care immediately after the injury, and continue treatment as long as needed. However, over-treatment without prospects of recovery is unwise. ONCE YOU SETTLE YOUR CASE, YOU CAN NEVER REOPEN IT NO MATTER HOW MUCH WORSE YOUR INJURIES ARE THAN YOU THOUGHT WHEN YOU SETTLED. This is why the insurance adjusters want to settle and close your case as soon as they can, to reduce the medical treatment, and limit the value of your case. We make sure this doesn’t happen.
    • Loss of work and earnings:  Obviously, if the accident causes you to lose work or income, this demonstrates serious injury, and you must be compensated.  It is important that you make every reasonable effort to mitigate lost wages, that means try to get back to work, even if light duty, as soon as you are able. You will still continue medical treatment until fully recovered from all injuries.
    • Amount of insurance policy limits, of all applicable insurance companies, other drivers, and your own car insurance as well. This is very important if you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and medical payments. This is why you should be sure you have uninsured policy limits of at least $100,000/$300,000.  This allows you to receive compensation even if the opposing side has minimal or no insurance.  If you are injured by someone with no insurance, your uninsured motorist coverage will allow you to obtain compensation through your own insurance.   Rates are very reasonable for this coverage, and many companies discourage you from taking it because it is cheap, and can be very costly if someone is badly injured. And don’t be fooled into thinking it will increase your rates, it is not allowed by law to do so.  Most important, your company will become your adversary, and will represent the other driver at fault. This means your insurance company has interests the opposite of yours, they will do anything to save payout, and we will do everything possible by law to maximize your compensation. 

One more thing you should know: Never use an attorney who demands an up-front payment to pursue a personal injury claim.  If your claim has value, your attorney should do the work for you, and not allow you to pay anything until your case is settled or litigated.  This is our policy and always has been.

At Stillman and Friedland, we know from experience which cases are worthwhile and which are not, and we are always straight with our clients. We win when you win — period. That’s why when you need a professional who will explain your rights, the process, the pros and cons, and will fight for your rights to full compensation.

We are here for you, every step of the way.