Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City’s five boroughs, with a population of about 2.6 million. While you can find personal injury lawyers throughout the borough, the largest concentration of personal injury lawyers is located in Downtown Brooklyn, on Court Street. The term “Court Street lawyer” has become synonymous with the street-smart, aggressive personal injury and malpractice lawyers that inhabit the area. While there have always been some scoundrels and ambulance chasers to be found, the great majority of Court Street lawyers are skilled attorneys who fight hard for their clients and are feared in the courtroom.
Here are a few things you need to consider before hiring a Brooklyn “Court Street” lawyer.
1. Does he or she offer a free legal consultation?
Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation, either by phone or in office. If a lawyer charges for an in office consultation, you might want to look elsewhere. Reputable, experienced personal injury lawyers never charge a consultation fee.
2. Is this lawyer an ambulance chaser?
Did the lawyer contact you about your recent accident? If he did, he got your name and information from one of his “investigators” or “runners.” These individuals have “ins” with tow truck drivers, police officers and even hospital staff who supply then with your pertinent information. Be leery. Ambulance chasers are not the most skilled or well-respected lawyers on the block. They usually have high volume practices and therefore cannot devote much time to any particular case.
3. How experienced is the lawyer?
Is the lawyer you are about to hire a seasoned pro who knows the ins and outs of personal injury law? Is his or her practice limited to personal injury cases? You do not want to hire a lawyer who does a little of everything. You wouldn’t hire a foot doctor to do brain surgery. You shouldn’t hire a criminal lawyer to handle your personal injury claim.
4. Has the lawyer told you how much your case is worth?
Some lawyers will tell you your case is worth a large sum of money to induce you to hire them. When settlement time comes, the amount you are asked to accept is a faction of that large number promised. Be leery of the lawyer who uses the hard sell. No lawyer can tell you what your case is worth in an initial consultation. Every case is different, even cases that share the same fact pattern.
5. Has the lawyer told you he can settle your case quickly?
While many personal injury cases do settle relatively quickly, these are usually small cases where there are few facts in dispute. Cases involving serious injury or complicated issues tend to take time to resolve. If a lawsuit has to be started, the case could drag on for years. Be leery of any lawyer who tells you he can settle you case quickly. He may be just looking for a fast settlement, to your detriment.
If you’re a Brooklyn accident victim, a “Court Street” lawyer may be just what you need. But remember, there are all kinds of lawyers out there. Choose wisely.