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How do I choose a New York Personal Injury Lawyer?

You’re probably reading this because you’ve been injured in an accident in New York.  With so many lawyers to choose from, how do you know you’re making the right decision?  The truth is that there are many excellent personal injury lawyers and law firms in New York, and it is a difficult decision to make.  Here are some things to take into consideration when choosing a lawyer.

Table of Contents

01.

Does Your Prospective Lawyer Have Experience Handling New York Accident Cases Like Yours?

If you’ve been injured in an accident in New York, it’s very important that your lawyer has been through this before.  You don’t want someone making mistakes on your dime.  If you go with a larger firm, and your case is assigned to a young associate, that is ok, as long as the case is closely supervised by a senior associate and/or partner with lots of experience.  How do I know this formula works?  Because I was once that young associate with no clue how to even find the bathroom in the courthouse! 

Make sure the law firm regularly handles personal injury cases.  Some lawyers are general practitioners, they do what’s known as “door law,” – anything that comes in the door.  While some of these lawyers do know personal injury, make sure to ask what percentage of their work personal injury is.  You don’t want to get stuck with someone who is excellent at divorces, pretty good at real estate closings, and every now and then handles a car accident.  There are many many pitfalls in personal injury.  It’s important to hire a lawyer who can see the perils ahead and guide you and your family during this difficult time.   

I am very fortunate to have learned from some excellent personal injury lawyers.  I also learned the inner workings of an insurance company by spending three years at AIG, the world’s largest company.  All of this experience enables me to know, more or less, how each case will go.  While there is no guarantee, an experienced lawyer has a good idea, from the get-go, how, when, and how high the case will go.

02.

Has The Lawyer Obtained Favorable Results For Clients?

Results really matter.  I have seen some personal injury lawyer websites that do not list their best settlements and verdicts.  It makes you wonder – where are their best results?  It probably means they don’t have any results to be proud of.  Maybe they are new to personal injury.  Maybe they’re fresh out of law school.  Maybe they’re great trial lawyers who just left the District Attorney’s office, but have never handled a trip and fall case.  Who knows?  It’s not for you to find out.  You want a lawyer who lists many six and seven figure settlements and verdicts.  (I think it is safe to assume that any settlement numbers on a lawyer’s website are true.  Putting up fake numbers is a great way to be disbarred.  While there may be some lawyers willing to take this chance, I believe most are truthful in this regard.)

03.

Has The Lawyer Been In The Media Recently?

This is certainly not necessary, but it is telling.  If someone has a case that is so shocking to be newsworthy, and trusted their case to this lawyer, that should tell you something.  It tells you that this person had a choice of a thousand lawyers just like you do, and she chose THIS lawyer because she thought he could get her the best result.

Since 2019, LAW TEAM attorney Matthew Haicken has had three of his personal injury cases featured in major media outlets.  The New York Daily News, NBC News, and News 12.  Links can be found on the News page.  Getting these cases in the media drove the defendants mad and forced them to settle MUCH sooner, and for MUCH more money than they would have without the media coverage.  Companies with household names hate negative publicity and usually fold rather than having their names in the news. 

In addition to having recent media coverage of their cases, has the potential lawyer been sought out by the media for her expert opinion on personal injury matters?

Attorney Haicken was quoted in 2020, and 2021 respectively in The New York Times, and Newsmax.com for his opinion on different aspects of personal injury law. 

04.

Does The Lawyer Have Trial Experience?

The insurance companies keep tabs on which lawyers can try cases and which will always take the insurance company’s last offer.  While most cases settle, it’s always best to have a lawyer who can say “See you in court” if the insurance company won’t give a reasonable offer.  I am known to the insurance companies as someone who is not afraid of trial.   

05.

Will Your Case Get The Attention It Deserves, Or Will It Be Lost In The Shuffle Of A Thousand Cases?

When I worked at other firms as a young associate, I was swamped.  My caseload was out of control, and only the biggest cases got my attention.  There was never enough time to call everyone back, and work on every case.  I was so overwhelmed; I was in constant fear of being fired.  I vowed that when I started my owner firm, I would not operate this way. 

And I haven’t.  I keep my caseload small.  Of all the people who call me after seeing my television commercials, I only accept a select few cases.  I want to only take cases that I believe in.  I want to have enough time to aggressively push the cases through our serpentine court system, and never forget that these cases are people’s lives, not just numbers on paper. 

06.

Is The Prospective Attorney Involved In Legislation For The Greater Good, Or Is She Only Interested In Herself?

Since 2019, I have given $500/month to either the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, or the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.  These trade groups lobby to make sure our laws get better, and not worse for injury victims and their lawyers.  We are up against massive enemies – the insurance, real estate, and trucking industries to name a few.   Paying my share to these organizations is like paying for insurance to make sure our basic rights are not taken away. 

In 2020, I also gave $15,000 to the American Association for Justice, the national lobbying group for personal injury lawyers.  With unprecedented attacks on our civil justice, I felt I had no choice but to step up and help in the fight.

In 2020, I also moved to Philadelphia for 6 weeks to knock on doors as a volunteer for the campaign of Joe Biden.