It is impossible to watch tv, listen to the radio or drive down freeway and not hear or see an advertisement for a personal injury lawyer. These firms spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a month grabbing your attention. And good for them. There is nothing wrong with that. Some of the ads are pretty good.

That said, there are a number of very good personal injury lawyers that do not advertise. There are many reasons why you don’t see these firms on TV or as you drive your kids to school. It’s very expensive. A lot of people hate lawyer advertising. It can make it more difficult at trial if your lawyer is known as the lawyer who is running down the street chasing an ambulance.

When considering whether to hire any personal injury lawyer, whether you found them through one of their catchy ads, they have a thoughtful and cool logo (ah hem . . . ) or through word of mouth you may want to ask some questions. Here are a few to consider:

1. Who will actually be handling my case? Is that person on the billboard or the commercial or is it someone else?
2. If the case doesn’t settle will it be shipped to another law firm to do the litigation work?
3. What type of turnover of employees does your firm have?
4. What percentage of your cases settle before a lawsuit is filed? After the lawsuit is filed?
5. What is the best way for me to communicate with you regarding my case status?
6. What kind of communication can I expect? Will I get updates weekly, monthly?
7. The awards you have listed on your web page- how did you get those?

If your expectation is the attorney on the billboard is going to handle your case, you may want to ask if that is going to be “the case.” Get a sense of what type of office you are agreeing to give upwards of 50% of your recovery to. Do you really want to be represented by a law firm that has massive turn over in their employees? That may be a red flag that something isn’t right, and it almost guarantees you will be shipped from one case manager or attorney to another to another. Your claim isn’t going to settle overnight.

Another consideration you may want to keep in mind is this: Am I just going to be a number at this firm? Big firms are big for a reason. They have lots and lots and lots of cases. Their attorneys or claims managers are handling lots and lots and lots of cases. Not that they aren’t doing it well. I’ve worked at big firms and I thought we did good job. But, the bigger the firm the more cases each staff member has to attend to. It’s that simple. No firm has an infinite amount of resources.

If you are considering a smaller firm, you may have concerns about whether it has the resources to effectively handle the case. I can’t speak for all smaller firms, but many of my smaller firm colleagues and myself don’t take every case that walks through our door. We are more selective because we aren’t wasting our resources on bad cases.

Hiring a lawyer is an important decision. With cases lasting sometimes as long as four-five years, even longer, this is a long term relationship. Be a smart consumer and ask questions. It’s an important decision. You should make an informed one.