Admittedly, I am not a fan of lawyer tv and radio advertising. Never have been. Of course, the consumer does need to be educated but, I have found that many of these ads are, in fact, misleading and fail to educate. The truth is, any lawyer who takes on your case, personal injury or otherwise, has an ethical obligation to “fight for you”.

Recently, on the radio, I heard something new. An unnamed law firm states that when you call, someone answering the phone will tell you what your case is worth. This is absolute nonsense.

Frequently, a potential client will call and ask me what their personal injury case might be worth. What I always tell them is that I could not give them such an estimate until I can investigate and evaluate their case. This includes an assessment of liability on the part of the at-fault actor; a complete review of all medical records; an assessment of disability, i.e partial or permanent; lost wages or lost earning capacity (two very different things); how the particular individual has been affected by the accident, both physically and emotionally, and what a jury is likely to do if the case goes to trial. These, and other factors all go into a responsible assessment of what a case is actually worth. And, of course, lawyers can differ in opinion.

We recently took over a case which the prior lawyer valued at $50,000. We worked the case up and settled for $100,000. Every case is different, and every client deserves to have their case assessed for its unique circumstances. For example, a broken finger is going to mean something different to a concert pianist as compared to a trial lawyer!

So, if any lawyer tells you they can evaluate your case on a phone call, run the other way. Of course, whether or not you pay attention to lawyer ads on TV or radio, always do your homework. Talk to friends, get referrals, check out peer review websites like Martindale Hubbell, and ask the lawyer questions about his or her experience with cases like yours. And, if any lawyer tells you they’ve never lost a case, that means that they’ve never tried one.

Here’s hoping you never have that accident!