Injured In An I-35 Accident? How Do You Find A Lawyer?

I’ll be honest.  I groaned when I saw this first question listed for our I-35 blog group.  The first reaction I had to writing about this question was that it was too similar to obnoxious billboards I’ve seen for personal injury lawyers in Dallas or Houston.

But then I thought back to some of my experiences.  Having done this a while, I’ve had numerous cases where I have been the second or third attorney to represent the client.  The client comes to me with a myriad of complaints:  their previous lawyer wouldn’t return calls; the lawyer tried to settle the case before it was ready to be settled; the lawyer wasn’t treating them fairly, etc.

And in most of those cases, I try and ask how the client found the first attorney.  And the source of the first lawyer is usually something like television or yellow pages ads.  I visibly groan at the responses.  I know that relying on those ads is a terrible way to pick an attorney.

But most of the general public doesn’t.

In hindsight, this may be the most important question we could answer for you.  If we can help you can make a good decision in hiring a lawyer — help you avoid those lawyers that are looking out for their interest and not yours, then this series is a success, in my mind.

So back to the question:  After you’ve been in a wreck or accident, how do you find a good personal injury lawyer?

I think there are two parts to this question — getting names of a lawyer and then evaluating the lawyer once you have names.

How do you get names?  The best way to get names of a lawyer is to ask for a referral.  Specifically, ask any lawyers, friends or other professionals you know for referrals.  If you know any lawyers, ask them first.  Austin is a fairly small legal community, and most lawyers will know two or three good personal injury lawyers if you ask them for a referral.

But not everyone knows a lawyer.  If you don’t know a lawyer, ask your friends or family members for suggestions.  These people are looking out for you, and if they have had an experience with a personal injury lawyer, I think you can generally trust them to give you a good name.

If you don’t know any lawyers or have any friends or family members that have used a personal injujry lawyer, then ask other professionals.  Many professionals will have worked with some attorneys and might be able to help.

Once you get a name, how do you evaluate whether the attorney will be right for you?  There are several things to consider.  First, make sure your attorney regularly practices personal injury law.  This is important for two reasons.  First, insurance adjuster keep a “book” on personal injury lawyers.  They know the attorneys in Austin that regularly practice in the personal injury area, whether the lawyers are willing to file suit and pursue a case, etc.  If you hire a lawyer that doesn’t regularly practice in the personal injury arena, or a lawyer who has a reputation for always settling early, then you are compromising your claim.

Additionally, personal injury is a tricky part of the law.  There are a number of special rules that apply to personal injury cases that don’t apply to other areas of litigation.  If the lawyer doesn’t regularly practice personal injury law, it is unlikely that the lawyer is up to date on all important areas of the law.

Next, find out who in the office will be working with you.  The number one complaint against lawyers is that lawyers don’t keep clients informed about what’s going on.  You need a strong commitment that the lawyer you retain will be accessible and not farm your case out to some staff member.

Finally, make sure you and your attorney get along.  For a successful case, you and your attorney will need to be in regular contact with one another.  A lawsuit is unpleasant enough as it is; it can be downright painful if you and your attorney don’t get along.  And it’s okay not to get along.  For various reasons, some people just don’t “click” with one another.  If you get that feeling, tell the lawyer that and ask them to provide names of other personal injury attorneys in the Austin area.  The attorney’s willingness to agree to that request may tell you a lot about that attorney too.

As I said earlier, I think this is an important question.  To read more thoughts about it from the other attorneys in the group, click the links below:

Steve Lombardi, Des Moines, Iowa:  Finding A Personal Injury Lawyer For An I-35 Car Accident

Mike Bryant, Waite Park, Minnesota:  Why Hire A Lawyer After An I-35 Collision?

Thanks for reading, and I’ll update with posts from other lawyers in the group as they are written.

Brooks Schuelke

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Something A Little Different – A Nationwide Look At I-35 Wrecks

Many of our serious injury cases are the result of car or trucking wrecks on I-35.  Because it’s an interstate, with more cars and trucks traveling at higher rates of speed than typical roads, I-35 has more opportunities for drivers, construction workers, and others to be injured in accidents.  But it’s not a problem that’s limited to the Austin area.  The I-35 dangers start at the US-Mexico border in Laredo and continue up through the nation to the US-Canada border.  To try and bring a different perspective on these issues, I am teaming up with several other attorneys along the Interstate 35 corridor for a new blog series.  Over the next month or so, we’ll all answer typical questions that we are repeatedly asked by those injured in car or trucking wrecks, with an emphasis on issues as they relate to I-35.

The other attorneys that will be joining me on this little journey are:

Noble McIntyre and Jeremy Thurman from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Steve Lombardi from West Des Moines, Iowa

Mike Bryant from Waite Park, Minnesota.

One thing that excites me about this project is that it gives our clients and potential clients the opportunity to learn a lot.  Instead of getting one lawyer’s perspective on a question, you’ll have the benefit of answers from four or five different lawyers across the country.  And I always believe that the best way for personal injury victims to protect themselves from insurance adjusters and even other attorneys is to be as informed as possible.

I hope you enjoy the series.  If you have any questions you would like us to answer, please let us know.

Brooks Schuelke

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Don’t Drink And Drive Following Your Game-Watching Party

Saturday afternoon, my family attended the funeral of my great-aunt.  After the funeral, some of the family members and guests were to attend the burial north of Austin.  Normally, funeral processions go without incident.  But not this one.  As the family’s limousine was passing through an intersection, a drunk driver ran a red light, hit the family’s limousine and then hit one of the motorcycle officers who was stopped directing traffic.  Several members of my family were hurt, and the officer’s leg was broken.

I suspect that it was not a coincidence that the wreck happened shortly after the conclusion of the University of Texas – Oklahoma football game.   I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing the guy had enjoyed a few alcoholic beverages during the game and was happy to leave the party after a Longhorn win.

Don’t let yourself be that guy.  As an avid Texas sports fan, I’m not opposed to getting together and watching sports and having a beverage or two.  But, think before you do something stupid like drinking and driving.  You never know when you’re going to ruin someone’s day, or worse, their life.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Texas Medical Malpractice Reform and More Docs, part 2

Last week we posted about the New York Times article on the alleged influx of doctors as a result of Texas’s medical malpractice reform.  Since then, the New York Personal Injury Blog has chimed in (with interesting stats that we wish we had thought to look for), and Bill Childs Torts Profs’ Blog has posted related to the study not once, but twice.  And then earlier this week, Professor Anthony Sebek of the Cardozo School of Law pitched in his two cents.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Distracted Driving Lands Driver 30 Day Jail Sentence

I’ve been on a bit of a blog hiatus because we’re in the process of re-designing the website,  but this story begs to be blogged about.

Today, a  Texas judge sentenced a 24 year old Humble woman to 30 days in jail and 10 years probation and ordered her to pay a $10,000.00 fine after her distracted driving resulted in the death of a 25 year old driver.  The woman was trying to get on an interstate on-ramp that she had missed just seconds after hanging up her cell phone.  Interestingly, the prosecutor and the defense both asked for probation, but the judge overruled them and ordered the jail time.

This is just the latest news about distracted driving.  Last week, the Department of Transportation hosted a summit on the dangers of distracted driving.  On the heels of the summit, President Obama entered an executive order directing federal employees not to text-message while driving.

While it’s unfortunate that we need jail sentences or summits to drive the message home, the more this topic is discussed, the more awareness people have of the dangers, and the safer the roads become.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC maintains offices in Austin, Texas. However, our attorneys and lawyers represent clients throughout the state of Texas, including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Forth Worth, El Paso, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Kyle, Buda, Round Rock, Georgetown, Lockhart, Bastrop, Elgin, Manor, Brenham, Cedar Park, Burnet, Marble Falls, Temple and Killeen. By Brooks Schuelke


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