The first warning sign you should watch for is whether the attorney you are considering hiring will not really answer any of your questions directly. If he or she keeps saying, “I will answer your question after you sign the contract, that is probably the first and foremost warning sign that this attorney probably is not the attorney for you. You want an attorney that is willing to answer your questions, all of your questions, and educate you first and foremost. If they are not willing to do that upfront without a contract then they are probably not somebody that you should sign up with.
Secondly, you do not want an attorney that is not willing to take your case to trial if your case warrants being taken to trial. So the questions that you need to ask that lawyer are how many cases have you tried and are you willing to try my case if we are not able to get it settled and what has happened at some of your trials (explain to me why you got a particular result in a trial). If you talk with an attorney about their trial experience, then you will have a good understanding that if your case ends up being one of those few that cannot be settled, this attorney is willing to go the distance. If you hire an attorney who is not ready, willing and able to go the distance, I guarantee you that the insurance companies probably know that as well.
If you hire an attorney who isn’t ready, willing and able to go to trial, it is like hiring an attorney who has probably already shown all of his cards to the insurance company and told the insurance company in a non-verbal way that he is not going to take this case to trial if we cannot get it settled. The insurance company has lost some incentive to settle the claim for the reasonable and best value for you. If you have an attorney that is a settlement attorney, then that is what you are going to get, a settlement, and that settlement probably is not going to be the best settlement that you could possibly receive. If you have an attorney that is willing to litigate and has some litigation experience, you are probably still going to settle your case, but you are more likely to get the full value out of your case in that event.
It is our willingness to, and ability to, and history of ….. education. We have put more material out there in the Wichita and Kansas areas to educate folks than anybody else. We have published articles. We have published a book about personal injury cases. We have done a weekly talk show for almost 15 years where we answer questions and educate folks. It probably sets us apart from anybody because we are willing to educate folks so that they make good decisions before they even get to us. It is so important that people get just a little bit of education, as much education as they will take. Just a little bit of education will go a long way in ensuring a person that they will get a good result in their personal injury and work comp case.
If you have some education about these cases, you are more likely than not to (1) Get through the process in a more timely fashion than someone who is not educated and who fumbles around and ends up getting themselves stuck in a bad situation with litigation that goes on and on, and (2) Avoid being in a situation with an insurance company who is misunderstanding what their position is because the client maybe was not well educated enough to describe the nature of their case in the type of fashion that would get the case settled. So I would say first and foremost our claim to fame is education, secondly, our willingness to take on the insurance industry, and thirdly, when cases do need to be tried, it is our willingness to go all the way through to the end and try those cases that need to be tried.
Not everybody is litigating what needs to be litigated here in the Wichita and the Kansas area. There are a fair number of law firms that will not take those cases all the way through to the end that need to be. They do not educate folks like we try to educate so that people can make the best decision about what lawyer to hire, but also what actions they need to take on their own. Our education process is not just about trying to educate them about us, it is education about the process. We give people tools that they can use. Even if they do not use our services, we give them tools that they can use that give them a better shot, in the end, to try to get something done in a favorable fashion when dealing with the insurance company.