Over the past few years, you’ve probably come across lots of television and radio commercials for personal injury law firms, nationally and locally here in Massachusetts. Some of these “law firms” present themselves as the largest and best law firm out there and, to be honest, some of their commercials are artfully clever and amusing.
I suppose their thinking is that accident victims will flock to their firm because bigger somehow equates with success. However, what people don’t realize is that these firms are, more or less, advertisers. These advertisers sell certain areas in states, including Massachusetts. The areas are sold by county or zip code for a monthly or annual fee to other local attorneys. Then all calls received within that county or zip code are forwarded to the local firm that pays for these calls or leads. So, when you call the largest injury firms around, you aren’t getting them. The questions is: Who are you getting?
Are You Getting the Injury Law Office You Contacted?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident or suffer an on-the-job injury in Massachusetts, some of these commercials or advertisements may come to mind. You may remember their clever advertisement jingle or humorous commercials and pick up the phone. What you might not realize in some situations is that you may be falling for the old bait and switch practice. You’re baited into contacting what you think is a large, powerful personal injury firm, but are then switched over to another, unknown lawyer or office that you never intended to hire.
Here’s a tip if you want to know whether you’re getting the injury law office you are calling: If a big television advertiser refers to themselves as (their name) “and associates,” you can bet they are most likely farming out the calls they receive to smaller firms–the “associates”–that pay for their name recognition. I’m not suggesting that any of these law firms that end up with your case are bad. In any given area of the state, you’ll find outstanding law firms all the way down to somewhat sloppy firms. But if I need to have a surgery, I’d rather choose my surgeon based on personal contact instead of allowing an advertiser to decide for me. You should feel the same way about choosing a personal injury lawyer.
The Difference Between the “Advertisers” and Our Local Framingham Injury Firm
Accident victims in Massachusetts should consider hiring a smaller, proven personal injury law office to handle their case. Having a smaller firm typically allows for a direct personal relationship with the attorney and law office staff. Just having that level of familiarity reduces confusion and anxiety as the case moves along. For example, here at our office, when clients call us, they hear a familiar voice. We know them on an individual basis, we know their case, and we know their personal situations. Our understanding and relationship have a direct impact on how their case is handled.
Not only is a personal relationship important, but the attorney’s experience and abilities are, perhaps, more important. An attorney’s trial experience will always trump the size of a law firm. At Mahaney & Pappas, LLP, we are both seasoned attorneys based in Framingham, Massachusetts. Chuck and I have tried many, many cases at the State and Federal level that the size of the firm we’re going up against is of no consequence. We know the appropriate manner in which to present a case to a jury. We understand and know how to deal with insurance carriers and their adjusters. Our experience and skills are from personally handling the day-to-day aspects of each case. When you hire us, you get us.
Some people may not fully understand how insurance carriers will make a plaintiff jump through every hoop they can before considering an offer of settlement. The bigger the case, the bigger the exposure to the insurance carrier, and the longer they drag the case out. Why? Well, there’s no rush from their perspective to make a large settlement payment. It is a matter of economics to them.
Insurance companies also think they can wear plaintiffs and their injury attorneys down over time, and they’ll capitulate and take less. We understand this. We know exactly how to navigate the insurance morass and bring a case to its conclusion. We don’t wait for the insurance carrier to get around to us. We proactively move our cases because it is important that our injured clients get the money they deserve.
What may be surprising to many is that the large law firms have experienced attorneys but the majority of work dealing with the everyday matters of cases are handled by staff counsel that may have less than five years of experience. If you find yourself suffering a life changing injury and there is one shot at success, experience will always trump the size of a firm.
So, when you call that big law firm representing you and the receptionist has no idea who you are, and you’re transferred to an attorney you’ve never met but handles that portion of the alphabet that contains your last name and you deal with paralegals and assistants who really can’t give you an update on your case, well maybe bigger isn’t better.