Top 6 Telltale Signs You Hired a Bad Lawyer And How to Avoid it in the Future
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes | Personal Injury
There are over 1.3 million attorneys in the United States, according to the American Bar Association. In Florida, there were 77,223 active attorneys in 2021.
Below are six signs that you may have hired a bad lawyer. We also include tips for what you should do if you hired a bad attorney and how to avoid the same mistake in the future.
Six Signs That You Hired a Bad Attorney
Watch out for these signs that indicate you may have hired the wrong attorney:
1. History of Complaints and Illegal Behavior
Attorney misconduct could result in you losing your personal injury case. Unethical behavior and illegal acts are a sign of a bad lawyer.
If you suspect that your attorney has engaged in illegal or unethical acts, hire a new lawyer immediately. Also, contact the Florida Bar to report the conduct.
Before hiring an attorney, you can check the attorney’s public disciplinary records through the Florida Bar. Instructions are on the Bar’s website.
2. Lack of Communication
An attorney should inform their client of significant events in the case immediately. In addition, the attorney should provide regular updates about the case’s progress and be available to answer questions and address concerns.
Lawyers are generally busy meeting with clients or attending court. You may need to leave a message with the office, but you should receive a return call within a reasonable time. Clients should always be able to reach someone in the office who can assist them.
A way to avoid problems with communication is to address the matter during the initial consultation. Ask the attorney about communication procedures. Discuss how the attorney and the office communicate with clients.
Communicating with your attorney should never be an issue. However, if your attorney refuses to communicate with you, it could be a sign that your lawyer is not giving proper attention to your case.
3. Inadequate Information About Billing Practices
During your initial consultation, your attorney should discuss fees and billing practices. Many personal injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee means that you do not pay anything until your attorney recovers money for your case.
The payment terms should be clear whether the lawyer charges by the hour or offers contingency fee agreements. Moreover, the attorney should explain the difference between fees and costs. Costs are distinct from fees and may be billed periodically throughout the case.
If an attorney is hesitant to discuss fees and costs or sends you bills with unexplained charges, address the problem immediately. If the problem is not resolved, consider hiring another attorney and filing a complaint with the state.
4. Refusal to Listen to You
When you meet with an attorney for your initial consultation, the attorney provides information about your legal rights and options for filing an injury claim. However, your attorney should listen to you. They should want to learn about what happened to you and your concerns regarding a personal injury claim.
An attorney who does all the talking may not be the right attorney for you. If an attorney does not take time to listen to you, it could impact how they handle your case. The lawyer could miss critical details that could impact the outcome of your case.
You may need to meet with several personal injury lawyers before finding an attorney who listens to you and addresses your concerns.
5. Poor Peer Reviews
If an attorney is not respected by their peers, judges, court personnel, and other legal professionals, it could signify that the attorney provides poor legal services. Be wary of an attorney who is not respected within the legal community. It could negatively impact your case.
6. Lack of Compassion and Care
Dealing with a personal injury matter can be frustrating and overwhelming for clients. Many personal injury victims experience significant emotional distress, physical pain, and financial hardships because of an accident or injury.
An attorney should show compassion and respect for their client’s position. A lawyer who treats you as a case number instead of a person may not be the best lawyer to handle your case.
Attorneys who empathize with their clients are generally passionate about what they do. They aggressively represent their clients’ best interests and fight to get their clients the compensation they deserve for an injury or accident.
Furthermore, compassionate attorneys are more likely to be convincing when they argue the case before a jury. A jury can feel an attorney’s passion and empathy for their client’s situation, which can convince a jury that you are the victim and deserve compensation for your damages.
As you search for an attorney to handle your personal injury claim, keep the above information in mind. Do not hesitate to meet with more than one attorney or law firm. It could take several appointments for you to find the right attorney to handle your case.