Courting Justice: Five Things your Personal Injury Lawyer Shouldn’t Say to You at your First Meeting

September 17, 2013

By Robert N. Hunn

While it’s easy to think of all lawyers as one big fraternity, there is actually competition among lawyer to sign up clients. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for clients to interview a number of lawyers before selecting one. Consequently, some lawyers may be prone to making unrealistic promises or exaggerated statements in order to compel you to sign up with their firms. However, there are some things lawyer should never say to you in order to get your business. Here are five of them.

1. In addition to getting you compensated, I’m going to get you punitive damages.

Monetary awards intended to punish the wrongdoer are called punitive damages. In theory, they can be awarded in addition to the monetary damages that compensate you for your injuries. In reality, they are rarer then hens teeth. While lawyers tend to put claims for punitive damages in the complaint, it is almost impossible to get a wrongdoer to voluntarily pay punitive damages in a settlement.

2. The insurance companies are afraid of me.

I doubt it. Nobody is really scared of anybody in this business. And, while insurance companies may take note of which lawyers are very good at their profession, it is over the top to ever say that an insurance company is afraid of you.

3. I will get you $XXX dollars.

Any lawyer who tells you what your case is worth at your first meeting is full of it. Valuing any case or injury requires a realistic and objective review of all the evidence. This includes the evidence which proves liability as well as the evidence proving damages. This simply cannot be done at the first client meeting.

4. We charge a (one time) administrative fee of $250.00.

I’ve heard of lawyers who are retained on a contingency fee basis but either charge an out of pocket $250 fee or tack it on to the costs they recoup at the end of the case. They call it an administrative fee to make it sound official. There is nothing official about it. There is no such thing as an administrative fee. Don’t pay it.

5. I have never lost a case.

Even the best lawyers have lost jury trials. If a lawyer actually says he never lost a case, then it is likely that he has never tried a case before a jury.