When Considering Retaining an Attorney to Handle Your Premises Liability Case, What Should You Look For and What Should You Look Out For?
Interviewer: When I’m looking for an attorney to represent my premises liability case, what are some things that I should look for? At the same time, what are some red flags?
If Possible, Ask a Friend or Relative for a Referral or Look for Online Referrals That Recommend an Experienced Attorney
Bill Levinson: The first thing that you want to do is to speak to somebody you know and respect and ask them for referral. Next, if you’re not sure or you don’t have a source then nowadays, pretty much everybody goes online. You want to look for somebody who has a great deal of experience and references.
You Can Speak with More Than One Attorney before Making a Decision
Look for an attorney that when you speak to them, you get the impression that they’re know what they’re doing and know what they’re talking about. If you have any questions, you should speak to several lawyers and then make your choice.
Is Self-Representation a Viable Option in a Premises Liability Case?
Interviewer: What would recommend to someone that has amassed substantial evidence and can represent themselves rather than going to an attorney? Would you support this idea?
Bill Levinson: I have met people that I think are pretty smart and pretty savvy. I do offer advice in that situation because they want advice on what to do and I have little or no information about what doctors are saying about their injuries.
Let’s assume I know how much their medical bills are, they tell me what’s going on in that particular case and that they want a negotiator because they’ve been negotiating with the insurance company.
It Is Always Better to at Least Consult with an Attorney before Accepting an Offer from the Insurance Company
I won’t give them a number because I don’t know. What I usually tell them is, “Go ahead and negotiate with the insurance company but when they make you any offer and it’s their final offer, don’t take it. Come to me and I will represent you. I will only take my fee on the increase that I get over what you got.” I’ve done that many times over the years.
Like I said before, if they’re engineer or a truck driver or a housewife, how they can possibly be able to negotiate with any kind of authority against a professional adjuster?
After Consulting an Attorney, You Could Attempt to Negotiate on Your Own Behalf and Then Decide to File a Claim If You Receive an Unreasonable Settlement Offer
The other factor that really is significant and that is that the trump card that a lawyer has is if the insurance company fails to make a reasonable offer, the lawyer can sue.
Insurance adjusters, like I said before, are rated on how little they pay. When they get to litigation, they’re in a bind because not only are they going to pay my client but they got to pay their own lawyers. They effectively substantially increase their exposure.
Their incentive is to negotiate, but for some reason in these times, it’s tough and I’m filing two or three times as many cases that I did say 10 or 15 years ago.