If you’ve been injured in accident, you might be wondering, “Who’s the best accident attorney in New York City?” Just like you would want to find the best doctor, auto mechanic or interior decorator, you want the best lawyer. Of course, you do! But how is “best” defined? There’s a little dive in Chinatown that has the “best” dumplings, but I know some of you would say the food is “weird” and “Where’s the chow mein?” McDonald’s has served billions of customers, but are their hamburgers really the best? I prefer mine cooked rare, on a brioche with swiss cheese. Let’s talk about the type of lawyer that’s best for you!
You might tend to think the best lawyer in New York City is the one that advertises that they’ve collected billions of dollars, but they might not be the best lawyer for you. Are you paralyzed? (I hope not.) Did you spend years in rehab and will never work again?” (I hope not.) Thankfully, these catastrophic situations are rare, so those results are rare, and probably have nothing to do with your case. What’s best for you, is the firm that is the right fit for the type of case you have, and for your personality and preferences.
Any accident lawyer in New York City can handle a car accident case, so which one to choose? Start with looking for a ratio of one attorney to at least two paralegals. Why? Because the best firm for you is the will help you deal with all the paperwork for your first party no-fault benefits, as well as handling your case against the negligent party. Those paralegals will be working hard to make sure your medical bills are paid and that you collect your lost earnings. They will also be making sure that you go to your appointments with insurance company doctors, so you don’t lose your benefits. So hiring some lawyer “on their own,” or working out of a desk in a suite might not be the best idea for this type of case.
Is the attorney recommended by your cousin Sally the best? If he doesn’t even make an appointment for you to come into his office, and just e-mails you papers to sign, I would say NOT. If his office smells like a musty bar and there are piles of files all over the place, you should pass. If the guy lectures to you like you are a child, and pushes a stack of papers in front of you to sign, without explaining what they are, you can get up and leave. You might like your cousin Sally, but you don’t have to go to her attorney. Choices abound, so you can find the one that’s best for you.
You search on Google and select the large firm with the advertisement at the top of the page. You call them and leave a message on a voicemail, or, even worse, you leave a message that is never returned. These large firms are sometimes the legal equivalent of McDonalds, factories or “mills” to produce the maximum amount of cases, without putting much effort into each one individually. These are the firms that are often notorious for not returning your calls or answering your questions. They are too busy signing up cases that yours could fall through the cracks.
Some types of personal injury cases require a tremendous amount of specialized skill and investment of capital. Medical malpractice claims can only be handled properly by an expert in that area. Same goes for product liability, civil rights, construction accidents, and other complicated matters. Attorneys are not required, as doctors are, to have certification in any specialties, so inexperienced attorneys will sometimes sign up these cases, only to drop them when they realize they are out of their league.
Here’s how you choose the best attorney:
- Referral from family or friend, followed up by research on the web about the attorney
- A serious, well-organized website with useful information
- Testimonials and reviews from pleased clients
- An invitation to see the office. (If they offer to come to your home due to your injuries, they invite you to come in when you feel better.)
- A patient intake, where you are asked at the end if you have any further questions.
- Use your intuition:
- Is this the type of person I would like to work with?
- Am I being treated with respect?
- Are there promises being made that seem “too good to be true,” or is the lawyer being honest?
Always remember that even if you make the wrong choice, a client has a right to change attorneys at any time during their case. So, if the promises aren’t kept and the phone calls are not returned, you can change attorneys, and find one that better meets your needs. At Wittenstein & Wittenstein, many of our new clients call us when other attorneys disappoint them or drop their cases. Why not call us first? So, who’s the best accident attorney in New York City. Ask who’s best for you.