After a personal injury or accident, you have a small window of time to get your claim started. Evidence doesn’t last forever, and it’s important to strike when your memory of the incident is still fresh.
That doesn’t mean, though, that you should rush when it comes to choosing a personal injury attorney in Southern California.
While there are many lawyers who take these cases, there’s a huge difference between those who have substantial trial experience and those who have settled every single case out of court.
Benefit From High Standards for Evidence
A trial lawyer knows that any personal injury claim can suddenly change course and head to trial. That’s why they gather and analyze evidence in a way that prepares them for informal negotiations and the courtroom. If you prepare your evidence like you’re getting ready for court, it’s much harder for the insurance company to poke holes in your claims and find weak spots. Not only does this ensure that your attorney is ready for court, but it also gives them a much better position for negotiations.
A Strong Settlement is Based on an Insurance Adjuster’s Fear of Court
Remember that insurance companies don’t offer a fair settlement unless they have no other options. Most of the time, going to court is not a viable option. It costs a lot of money and time to prepare for court and puts them at risk of being forced to pay even more than you are already asking for. This means that insurance adjusters are more likely to offer a reasonable settlement if they genuinely believe your lawyer will take them to court.
If your attorney has never been to court, will the insurance company think that a lawsuit is imminent? Probably not.
Your Insurance Company Knows the Attorneys in Your Area
You may wonder if there’s really any chance that your insurance company will know what to expect from your attorney. Again, don’t underestimate just how far insurance executives will go to save money. Part of that is knowing attorneys in each area, how often they go to court, and how seriously to take them.
If you choose an attorney that churns through personal injury claims by encouraging clients to take lowball settlement offers, the insurance company absolutely knows that and has internal files on which law firms are willing to go to trial. They have no motivation to offer you more if your lawyer has only taken a couple cases to a courtroom trial. They’re well aware that if they wait long enough, your trial-averse attorney will put more and more pressure on you to accept their offer.
An Attorney With No Trial Experience Will Cave First
When insurance companies negotiate with an attorney without trial experience, they know that the odds favor them. If your lawyer has built a career off of never going to court, they’re not likely to change that just for your case. Even if they did, how well-prepared would they be?
The insurance company knows that your lawyer would be at a significant disadvantage in the courtroom, so they have much less to fear during negotiations. When it comes down to it, an inexperienced attorney will want to do what nets them a guaranteed payment. Yes, that’s true even if doing so negatively impacts you.
Your Settlement Suffers With A “Settlement Only” Attorney
There’s a good chance that your personal injury claim will settle out of court. In fact, according to CloudLex only about 3-4% of personal injury claims actually go to trial. If you are going to go through this process, why not choose an attorney that will give you a fighting chance at a full and fair settlement?
Even if the odds of actually going to court are slim, you want the insurance company to know that your lawyer is ready to go advocate for you in court. That’s why, when you interview personal injury lawyers in Southern California, you must ask about their trial experience.
Choosing an Injury Lawyer With Trial Experience
Choosing a personal injury lawyer with trial experience is crucial for several reasons:
- Understanding of Court Procedures: A lawyer with trial experience is familiar with the ins and outs of court procedures. They know how to present a case, submit evidence, and cross-examine witnesses effectively.
- Preparation and Strategy: A trial-experienced attorney knows how to prepare for a case thoroughly, considering all possible outcomes and strategizing the best course of action. They can anticipate potential issues and plan to counter them effectively.
- Negotiation Skills: Trial lawyers have typically honed their negotiation skills. Even if your case doesn’t go to trial, a lawyer with trial experience is often a good negotiator because they understand what could potentially happen if the case does go to trial. This can be beneficial during settlement discussions.
- Comfort in the Courtroom: Lawyers who have experience with trials are generally more comfortable in the courtroom setting. They’re used to the pressure and can think on their feet, which can be vital when dealing with unexpected developments during a trial.
- Credibility with Judges and Juries: Lawyers who frequently appear in court tend to build credibility with judges and juries. This credibility can be beneficial for your case.
- Demonstrates Readiness to Go to Trial: Hiring a lawyer with trial experience signals to the other side that you are prepared to go to trial if necessary. This might make them more likely to offer a fair settlement to avoid going to court.
It’s important to note that not all cases require a trial-experienced attorney. For instance, in situations where a settlement is more likely or for routine legal matters, a lawyer’s trial experience may not be as crucial. However, for complex cases or those where a trial seems likely, having an experienced trial attorney can be a significant advantage.