There are many lawyers who practice “personal injury” law. You see their television commercials, billboards and yellow page ads. But, when a serious accident or medical malpractice causes catastrophic, life altering injuries, the question becomes — not who can handle my case — but who can handle it properly? In these situations, finding the right attorney is imperative because you not only need to protect your rights, but you need to ensure your ability to adapt to your new life and your new future. Here’s what you should look for when trying to hire the right personal injury or medical malpractice attorney:
First and foremost is a successful record in handling similar catastrophic cases. Ask potential law firms these questions:
- Does the firm’s practice focus on significant personal injury cases all day, every day?
- Will they be handling your case directly, or referring your matter out to another firm?
- When did the firm most recently go to trial and what type of matter was it? What type(s) of injuries were involved?
- What is their record of obtaining not only sizeable settlements, but also sizeable jury verdicts?
Consider the firm’s resources.
- Do they have the staff necessary to make sure you remain a priority at the firm and that you do not become just another case on a list?
- Can they handle litigation involving multiple defense attorneys and multiple defendants?
- Can they handle more than one trial at a time?
- How many attorneys does the firm have?
- Do they take advantage of outside medical experts?
- Do they use modern trial presentation strategies and technologies to tell their client’s story when a trial is needed?
- What is their fee structure? Is the firm willing to fully commit to your case and only seek a fee and reimbursement of its expenses if there is a recovery?
Look into the attorney’s ratings with professional organizations such as Martindale Hubbell, Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers.
- In what categories have they achieved their ratings?
- Are members of the firm affiliated with the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)?
- What is the firm’s reputation in the local legal community?
- How do they get their cases? Is it based on reputation and referrals from other attorneys?
Many law firms maintain websites that give potential clients answers to many of the above questions, as well as insight into the level of service the firm can provide.
Consider your interactions with the firm.
- Were you comfortable and able to discuss all of your concerns and issues openly? Did you feel rushed? Did you feel like you were heard?
- Were you comfortable asking questions and did you receive straight forward answers?
- Have you met the individuals who will be handling your case?
(These intangibles are important because your attorney will need to be more than just your advocate. They also need to be a trusted advisor when it comes time to make very important decisions.)
At Decof, Decof & Barry (DD&B), we have been and continue to be at the forefront in catastrophic injury cases. Our firm was established in 1975 and was Rhode Island’s first firm to specialize in catastrophic personal injury cases. DD&B was also the first firm in Rhode Island to use modern trial presentation technology and techniques to tell clients’ stories. Our firm is also unique because it has enough experienced and talented attorneys to handle multiple trials at the same time. We understand that our clients’ ability to move forward is directly tied to getting their case heard and resolved.
In 2014, five of our attorneys were selected to the Rhode Island Super Lawyers/Rising Stars list. In addition, Mark Decof has been selected by the Rhode Island Supreme Court to serve on the Rhode Island Board of Bar Examiners.
The majority of our new clients come to us on the recommendation of our former clients and other local attorneys in Rhode Island.