Choosing your personal injury attorney is an important decision. While larger law firms may boast about their thousands of cases, being the “biggest” or having more resources to battle insurance companies, it’s important to know that there are drawbacks to going with huge law firms. Bigger isn’t always better. Many benefits can come with hiring a specialized, smaller law firm.
This is a true story about the journey of a Hancock Law client. Actual client names are being protected for their privacy; the names used in the story below are pseudonyms.
A recent Hancock Law client, Thomas, sought out Kenneth’s help after being fired by a big-name firm, among the largest in the country. Thomas’ son was badly injured in a car accident in one of the local Florida counties where Kenneth practices. Thomas called the big firm first.
According to the big firm, there was no insurance on the at-fault driver. Beyond that, Thomas’ had a $10,000 in uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage under his own auto policy for just such a situation. Unfortunately, given the severity of the accident, the medical bills at play were significantly higher than Thomas’ UM coverage. In these situations, UM carriers should tender the limits without question. That is exactly what happened, but guess what? The big firm had no idea! And by extension neither did Thomas.
A few weeks into representation, the big firm fired Thomas and his son. As far as they were concerned, there was no coverage on the at-fault party and they had no idea that Thoma’s UM carrier sent them a check for his $10,000.00 in UM coverage. It is reasonable to assume they did not even know he had UM coverage in the first place.
The only other conclusion is the big firm knew of the $10,000.00 tender from Thomas’ UM carrier but did not want to put forth the time and effort it took to resolve his medical bills because they were more than the recovery. So they fired him instead. There is a 100% ethical, legal method to resolving cases where the bills are more than the recovery; it just takes a bit of work and knowledge of the law.
Needless to say, there are multiple aspects of this story that are unacceptable in an attorney-client relationship.
Sadly, it’s not uncommon for larger firms to dismiss clients once they begin to suspect there will not be a significant payout, as Thomas experienced. We routinely meet with clients in situations similar to Thomas: they hired a big firm with certain expectations based on the “we’re big and bad” advertising, only to learn the hard way there is so much more to handling an injury case than how loudly an attorney pounds their chest in TV commercials.
Thomas needed a personal injury attorney that was willing to put his interests first and communicate to him every step of the way. The truth of the matter is that it’s humanly impossible for any attorney to devote a meaningful amount of time to each client when there are hundreds of clients under that attorney’s care. Most of these attorneys at the huge firms have a team of paralegals under them doing all the work. Paralegals are an amazing asset. Indeed, Kenneth would be a lost ball in high weeds without his paralegals, Carly and Brandy. However, they should not be treated as surrogate lawyers.
When partnering with smaller law firms, you’ll benefit not only from working with the same attorney throughout the entire process but working directly with your attorney. At Hancock Law, Kenneth takes pride in investing his time, not just a paralegal’s, to understand your case, from accident to settlement.
Finally, you want to make sure that you’re working with a team that has your best interests at heart and who isn’t just looking out for their next payday. Working with a smaller, local firm allows you to really get to know your legal team and ensure that they share your values and prioritize you, your recovery, and your settlement.
Hancock Law charges nothing upfront and there are no hourly fees or consultation fees in our line of work. If no recovery is secured in a client’s case, Hancock Law is not paid. When this happens, the client is not responsible for reimbursing any of our costs.
If you need help weighing your options following an accident, contact us. No matter how big or how small your case may be, Hancock Law can help you to receive the settlement you deserve.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that the information provided in this blog is general in nature and should not be construed as legal advice nor as creating an attorney-client relationship. Every case is different and legal advice cannot be provided by Hancock Law unless/until we meet to discuss the particulars of your case. Whether an attorney-client relationship exists can differ on a case-by-case basis, but at Hancock Law we consider such a relationship to exist only upon a potential client’s request and our agreement to accept that representation.