For certain insurance claims, a Public Adjuster may be a more appropriate than an attorney. See this letter from Bill Cook, a Public Adjuster, who explains why and when.
HOW TO GET AN ATTORNEY Conditions differ in everyone's situation, but the the most reliable way I know is to contact The American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA). There is a division in your State, and the phone number is in the phone book. Call them. Tell them as briefly as possible, where you are, geographically, the nature of your case/injury and ask for a reference. The nature of your case is described by, for example "personal injury" and what the cause of that injury was: motor vehicle, slip-and-fall or other type of negligence. The people in your State's division of ATLA will give you up to three references. You can have a very good degree of confidence in these recommendations. Now what do you do? Write out a brief outline (try to keep it under 4 pages) of the important facts of your case in chronological order, and use this as the substance of a letter to each of the three attorneys. In each letter, tell that you were referred by ATLA in looking for an attorney, include all your contact information, the outline and ask if they would review the outline, and whether they might be interested in your case. Also say that if you haven't heard from them in two weeks that you will call them. If you haven't heard, do call. Not all attorneys will be interested in your case. Don't take it personally. Different attorneys will see different things in the same facts. No attorney wants to take a case where he thinks the most probable outcome is that the case will not be won. No trial attorney in his right mind will accept a case without actually seeing you and talking with you. He wants to see who he may have to put on the stand in trial. You must also use this time, quelling any desperation, to feel him/her out the way he is feeling you out. Watch out for a nice clean uncluttered office that is well decorated. Attorneys active with cases usually have files distributed over the office in some order that only they can understand. Perhaps the most important thing to consider is whether you and the attorney will actually be able to talk with each other and work together. Regarding that: simply pay attention to your emotional reactions, notice the level of gentility and openness (juries don't like angry or aggressively behaving attorneys any more than they like it in witnesses or plaintiffs), does he seem to know what he's talking about?, does he seem *too* sure of him self? (My own attorney impressed me positively by sharing his not being sure of a detail and pulling a legal reference off his bookshelves and sharing with me the written confirmation.) When you speak with a prospective attorney say what you want from him. You are afterall the one ultimately paying him for a service. You should be sent copies of all correspondence and any papers that are filed with the Court. You are not likely to hit this with an attorney recommended by ATLA, but there are firms of unethical attorneys that run insurance mills. These take many (thousands) cases and attempt to sell you down the river with a settlement that nets them a small amount of money for each case for doing practically nothing. It's an easy way to "earn" a living. You wind up getting cheated monstrously and will have little recourse after the fact. Any attorney who becomes at all secretive should be ditched as soon as that happens. Just write a letter and fire him. The longer he hold the case, the more claim he will have against it. If your gut and mind says no, look further for an attorney. If you hear "I'll get you a lot of money", look for another attorney. Even if you have a good and clear cut case, our justice system may not serve up justice, and when it doesn't, it may have nothing to do with how well your attorney worked for you. Remember, you can always call ATLA again. If thy give duplicate references, explain that the last batch didn't work out. These may be further away geographically. ============================================================ You are probably looking at this page because you have had some sort of personal injury that is supposed to be paid for by an insurance company, either your own insurance company or someone else's, and suddenly discovered, after waiting long enough, that you have no insurance. The insurance company won't pay. It has either offered no explanation, has simply confused the hell out of you by changing adjusters, losing papers, demanding information they are not entitled to, etc., or an excuse has been given, and possibly that excuse is you are being accused of fraud. Look again at that last paragraph. That describes the sole purpose and methods of insurance companies. That is what they do. As some very frustrated claims handler finally blurted out in trial during an action brought by a friend in Colorado, "We are *not* is the business of paying claims!" Insurance companies routinely deny valid claims creating fear of further loss that is justified in order to coerce you into litigation when it becomes clear to you that they are committing fraud and will do nothing. Before entering litigation, understand that insurance companies will do exactly the same thing to your attorney as thay were doing to you - only by now, many attorneys seem to think this is normal. Extortion is the act or practice of obtaining something or compelling some action by illegal means such as physical force, coercion by threat, creation of fear, or even simply fear itself. Insurance companies, as a standard business practice, use illegal means (the fraud involved in systematic claims denials, and delays) to induce fear of further loss to self and family in order to obtain either the money that is rightfully yours, or the interest on it while they are delaying, similarly with your attorney (wasting his valuable time) and to force you into litigation, meaning that whatever you get from the insurance company in litigation will be roughly one third lost, after attorneys' fees and expenses have been deducted. You will also be forced to remain in a less than whole condition, and suffer the mental distress of litigation that will be drawn out by the insurance company as a matter of torture in order to break you or break your attorney. See also Extortion Theory by Judy Morris, M.D. Though there are laws against extortion on State and Federal levels, on the Federal level while I can find laws that protect animals from torture, I can't find one prohibiting this kind of torture of human beings. Anybody out there know an appropriate section of U.S. Code? ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Here's another I from Jim Mooney: Insurance Crime Outline ON FINDING A COMPETENT LAWYER Here is a bit of advice I got on finding a lawyer. People are always asking me to refer them to a good lawyer and I have No idea what to tell them. I don't keep a database of them. I can barely keep a database of the Obvious Allstate wrongdoing ;') ============= Going through Martindale Hubble and then calling attorneys with a high ranking(AV) in the same area, and then asking them for a referral is the safest bet. Good attorneys know who else is known for doing competent work. ============= And here is the online link to Martindale Hubble: http://www.lawyers.com/ My caveat is that this does not Guarantee you will get a lawyer who will bring results. The insurance industry is a tough nut to crack. Also, just as insurers with the highest ratings in Bests are not necessarily the "best" for the claimant, there is no blanket guarantee. But then, that's true of anything in life. But at least this way you may find a Competent lawyer, although you still won't know if he or she is a Good lawyer for you until judgment is rendered. And sometimes the insurer has such total control, huge funds, the ability to delay, and a "friendly" judge, that no one could beat them in less than five years. A lot of folks give up after about three years, which is something insurers count on with their endless court delays.
Uncivilization and its Discontents