Many personal injury firms try to sell the arrogant notion that just because they’re bigger and have offices throughout the country, that it means they’re better.
There’s a reason personal injury lawyers use the word “personal.” Your injuries are personal to you; you should have a lawyer who takes your case personally, too. That’s why, when it comes to choosing a lawyer and a firm, you should consider using your smaller local firm, and an attorney who gets to know you, who understands where you live and work, and who sees you as a person, not a case number.
National firms rely on volume to make money
Large law firms treat most clients like numbers instead of people. These big firms are concerned more with quantity than quality. For a big firm, 10 cases that settle for $100,000 are just as good as 1 case that settles for $1,000,000 – better, even, because it means that they can bill constantly. They are content with smaller settlements and smaller verdicts because they make just as much money with a lot of small cases as they would from a big case.
For the client, though, this viewpoint is a disaster. You only get one chance to settle your claim or obtain a just verdict. You need a lawyer who will fight aggressively so that you are paid full compensation for:
- All your medical bills. Your bills just don’t include hospital bills. You need to be paid for all your doctor visits, each visit with a physical or rehabilitation therapist, treatment with specialists, your drug costs, the costs of any prosthetics, and many other medical expenses.
- All your lost income. When you can’t work due to your injuries, you lose money. You’re entitled to your lost wages and lost business profits – from the date of the accident until the time you can return to work. If you can’t return to work, you’re entitled to compensation for your disability.
- All your pain and suffering. You physically and emotionally hurt every second your injuries have not healed, and you could continue to hurt even after your settlement comes through, if your lawyer rushed you into accepting an unfair amount.
- All property damages. If your car is smashed in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you’re entitled to have the car fixed or replaced – depending on how costly the damage is.
- Other damages. Personal injury victims may also be entitled to additional damages such as loss of consortium, compensation for scarring and disfigurement, and possibly punitive damages.
For us, hourly billing isn’t as important as getting the right verdict or settlement. We work on contingency because we know our clients are facing enough bills, and they shouldn’t face the stress of having to pay up front. We offer free consultations, too, to make sure that you can ask the questions you need to ask, tell us your story the way you need to tell it, and help us understand more about you and the losses you face.
You deserve an attorney who will talk to you
Big firms can’t give you personal attention: they have too many cases. They also delegate responsibility to attorneys you’ll never meet. When you hire one of these mills, it’s a pretty good bet that the attorney whose name is on the door won’t be the person who answers your calls, represents you at depositions, or negotiates your claim. It’s likely the lead partners will refer your case to an associate that you don’t know and who doesn’t know you.
We know you have a lot of questions about your case. You want to know what words like “UM” and “UIM” mean. You want to know when your case will be listed for trial. You need to know how letters of protection can be used to obtain medical treatment if you don’t have health insurance. You deserve to have those questions answered quickly and correctly, and to be kept up to date with your case. Working with a smaller firm increases the chances that the whole team will know who you are and be able to pitch in and help whenever you need it.
The lawyers in the big firms don’t know you. The national law firms will obtain medical reports but your pain and suffering are personal. You want a lawyer who, when you say you can’t walk in the local parks or play with your kids because of a leg injury, knows just how much of a loss it is to you and your family.
Local knowledge can make or break a case
The lawyers for the big firms don’t know the community where you live, and that can put them at a real disadvantage. You need a local lawyer who:
- Understands the state laws, rules, and procedures. If you don’t introduce the correct evidence, you won’t get the best results. For example, it is critical to know when a doctor can submit a medical report and when the doctor has to testify.
- Understands the local insurance companies. It helps to understand how a local insurance adjuster thinks and practices. Is the adjuster going to base your pain and suffering based on your injuries and your pain – or is he/she just going to look at how much your medical bills are? Is the adjuster going to make his/her best offer on the third phone call or the tenth phone call?
- Understands the people who are likely to serve on a jury. Some towns are more favorable to plaintiffs than others. Some communities have more professionals while other communities have more laborers. Understanding who might be on a jury affects the lawyer’s ability to settle your case and to obtain a strong verdict in court.
- Understand the judiciary and the defense lawyers. Some doctors are known as defense doctors – they usually testify for the insurance companies. Local lawyers often know which doctors credible and which doctors are basing their reports on who’s paying for their time in court. We also know which judges want to see you in a suit and tie, which are more (or less) likely to allow a certain line of questioning, and which are the fairest to both sides.
Local lawyers understand you better than national law firms. They understand the court process, the defense lawyers, the insurance adjusters, and they often understand what evidence impresses a judge or local jury the most. We know the local doctors, hospitals, and car repair places, and we know which intersections are the most dangerous, which ambulance services are the most likely to charge more, and which business owners never remove the ice from their front walks. This is our community, too, so we understand what you’re going through.
Besides – we know we’re probably going to see you again at the local diner, the local gym, or just around town. We want to hold our heads up high, knowing we got you the strongest result possible.
Rocky McElhaney Law Firm has always been proud of the community we serve – and we plan on sticking around for a long, long time. If you are hurt, we want to help. Call our office at 615-425-2500, or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our firm operates offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, and Clarksville, and serves clients throughout Tennessee.
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Nashville personal injury attorney Rocky McElhaney is a well-known and respected lawyer as well as published author, helping Tennesseans through difficult times since the turn of the century. Rocky builds friendships with his clients, not just professional relationships. Rocky McElhaney is a Super Lawyer, AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell, has been named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association and has been awarded Best Lawyer in Nashville by the Nashville Scene Readers’ Poll
The Rocky McElhaney Law Firm represents people who have been injured by car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, negligent premises owners, defective products and many other forms of negligence throughout the state of Tennessee. The firm also represents clients in the areas of workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability claims.