When you are injured in a car accident, take a fall while shopping, or hurt yourself at work, you will most likely call a local attorney, maybe one who has been recommended by a friend or family member. What about other types of injury cases? What if you have suffered permanent injuries after using a medical device, or became ill after taking prescription medication? You may be tempted to call one of the many lawyers who advertise nationally, assuming that they will be in the best position to pursue your case. What are the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a large, nationally advertised law firm?
Buried in the fine print at the bottom of your TV screen on one of those ads will be a disclaimer stating that the law firm on the ad may hire local counsel in your state. Why is that? Unlike bankruptcy, immigration, or admiralty law, which all deal with federal laws, personal injury actions are usually based in the state in which the injury happened. An immigration attorney can practice anywhere in the country, but personal injury attorneys must be licensed in the state in which the lawsuit takes place. An out-of-town firm must hire a local law firm to act as co-counsel in each state in which they are not licensed. In reality, most of your day-to-day interaction will be with your local attorney, not with the firm whose advertisement you saw. You may be able to hire someone in your area, like the Richmond injury attorneys at Reid Goodwin, PC, and eliminate the middle-man, so to speak.
One possible advantage to hiring a large, national form to handle a prescription drug case, for example, might be the amount of experience that firm has with similar matters. Experience in dealing with the same issues and insurance companies can be helpful, but don’t count out a local firm just yet. If you already have a relationship with your trusted Buffalo personal injury attorneys, you may want to talk to them first. Do not be afraid to ask if they have experience with the type of case, you are pursuing, and to inquire about their success record with those cases. Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, giving you an opportunity to decide if they are equipped to handle your case. Your Bronx slip and fall lawyer probably handles all kinds of personal injury cases and may have experience with large pharmaceutical companies or product manufacturers.
When a large group of people has been injured by the same company or product, their lawsuits are often grouped together in a class action. Well-known class action lawsuits include the 1998 tobacco settlement and the famous Roe v. Wade abortion rights case of 1973. In class action suits, one plaintiff is chosen as the representative of the class, but other people with similar claims may join the suit. While large class action lawsuits are very expensive, hundreds of individual lawsuits are even costlier. Even if you are represented by a local law firm, you may join a class action suit if you qualify.
It’s Your Decision
When you hire an attorney, you are forming a relationship. Choose someone who is a good fit for you, and not anyone else.