As in any area of life or law it is important to hire the right person for the job. If you were trying to lay tile at your home, you wouldn’t hire a roofer to do the job. Areas of law work similarly. As stated in many articles prior, Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) and its contract driven cousin, Medical Benefits Payments “Med Pay”, are a unique area of la, even within the practice of personal injury. While sharing many similarities as traditional at-fault litigation, PIP, also known as, no-fault insurance is statute driven and with that comes a lot of nuance. I have amassed what I believe to be the most important factors to consider when hiring a PIP attorney for yourself or your medical facility.
Factor #1- Does this attorney practice PIP every day?
In law and especially with PIP cases, it is very important to be practicing in the field every day as case law changes. If the attorney only dabbles in the area, they will not know what is new in the PIP insurance arena. Therefore, they could miss little nuanced areas in which to win your case for you. Also, because of the nature of PIP versus other areas of law, that lawyer may not give the attention your case needs if their focus is elsewhere.
Factor #2- Does this attorney predominantly do PIP suits?
As with Factor #1, if someone’s priorities are elsewhere, it could be hard for them to focus on PIP suits. PIP suits usually deal with lesser amounts of money than your traditional car crash cases. If your attorney is out chasing the big million dollar case, and your case is not worth near that (PIP cases are capped at $10,000 in PIP Benefits), it is easy to see why your case could fall to the back burner. Also, if the law firm is busy, and the staff does not know how to properly work a PIP case, they could be failing to push the case along appropriately. With PIP, it is essential to move cases forward as the defendants (insurance companies) will tend to let cases linger.
Factor #3- Does this attorney know the current law?
Even if a lawyer practices PIP every day, and it’s primarily the focus of their firm, the attorney still needs to be out independently gaining knowledge of the new finds in the PIP case law. Is the attorney you hire the type to sit around and wait for things to come to them, or are they outgoing and willing to keep learning? This is an important factor.
Factor #4- Do they communicate well with you?
The number one bar complaint and complaint I hear from clients and friends alike is that their attorney does not keep them up to date with what is happening in their case, or that their attorney does not return their phone calls. Remember as the client, you have the ultimate say in who you choose as your representative and attorney. Essentially as attorneys we work for you. This means meeting your needs to stay informed. As an attorney, I never like to have an email sit in my inbox without a response for more than 24 hours. Even if an error has been made or something fell through the cracks it is very important for an attorney to reach out to you, admit it, and make it better. If an attorney is not communicating well with you, I bet they are not communicating with opposing counsel that way either.
Factor #5- Do they communicate well with the Defendant’s attorney?
Going along with Factor #4 your attorney must also communicate with the other side. Relationships are key in the PIP area of personal injury. With the major insurance carriers, they only have so many adjusters and lawyers who work on their files. Some attorneys even represent 15-20 insurance companies at a time. Having a good working relationship with these people are essential to settling and trying matters. If an attorney knows they can reach you by email or phone and get a response and knows another won’t get back to them, who do you think is getting the phone call? These phone calls and emails are how cases are resolved. Personal relationships are key.
Factor #6- Do they properly prepare for hearings, depositions, and trials?
Being the best and brightest attorney can get you very far in this profession. However, being a well-prepared and organized attorney will get you further. Making sure your attorney manages their time and manages their staff properly are all important factors in how effective they are for you. When looking to hire a PIP attorney make sure the person takes preparation to the highest degree.
If you are looking to hire a PIP attorney and want to make sure your attorney has a check next to all six (6) factors above, look no further than the PIP department at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. We have served Florida drivers and medical facilities who were underpaid or not paid their PIP benefits properly for years. Call 727-222-6922 or email Derek@dolmanlaw.com if you want to speak to an attorney who practices PIP every day, does predominantly PIP, knows the current law, communicates well with clients and opposing counsel, and prepares diligently for court.