The Truth About Lawyer Referral Services
You've probably seen the TV ads or billboards for lawyer referral services.
If you've been in an accident, they prompt you to call their toll
free number so they can refer you to a lawyer. But what do they get out
of this and what kind of lawyer are you really getting?
These lawyer referral services are going to refer you to an attorney who meets one important criteria. That lawyer has paid the referral service money to be on their referral list of attorneys. That's it. There's no requirement the attorney have any experience, that they've ever handled a case like this before, that they're Board Certified or even that they have an office in your area. You can very easily end up being referred to a lawyer fresh out of law school, with no experience, with an office hundreds of miles away and that you will never meet in person.
That's not the worst of it. Some referral services are run by Doctors or Chiropractors who refer you to attorneys who have already agreed to send you back to that Doctor's or Chiropractor's office for treatment. Why? So that Doctor/Chiropractor can bill your PIP insurance to the maximum amount of the $10,000 coverage. Before you know what happened, your PIP is gone, you have an attorney you may never see, and you're left with ongoing injuries and no medical coverage. I've taken over many cases for clients who were victimized in this scenario, and curse the day they relied upon a referral service to pick their lawyer.
My advice is very simple. Go online and research an attorney before you hire that attorney. What are their qualifications, experience, results and what do their former clients say about them. The biggest mistake you can make is to assume all lawyers are equal in the area of personal injury. The only thing worse than having no lawyer is having an unqualified lawyer.