Should I Use a Personal Injury Attorney Referral Service?

Personal Injury Attorney Referral ServiceAfter an accident, you are likely facing a lot of challenges. You may be behind on your bills and missing work, making it impossible to support yourself and your family. You may also be dealing with a whirlwind of phone calls from insurance companies, repair companies, mechanics, and maybe even law enforcement.

You may also find yourself contacted by companies on behalf of lawyers – lawyers you never contacted. The caller may imply that they work for a law firm or an insurance company, but the truth is they don’t. Today we want to talk about personal injury attorney referral services, and when (and why) they can be risky to use.

What is an attorney referral service?

ALPS Insurance states that “A lawyer referral service is commonly understood to include an arrangement by which a third-party, non-attorney acquires prospective client leads and sells them to subscribing attorneys.” Lawyers sometimes use these services to solicit new clients, and there are Bar Association rules about ethical solicitation – but referral services are allowed under those rules. The Washington Bar defines solicitation as:

a targeted communication initiated by or on behalf of a lawyer that is directed to a specific person and that offers to provide, or can reasonably be understood as offering to provide, legal services. Solicitations can include in-person, written, telephonic, and electronic communications. In contrast, a lawyer’s communication typically does not constitute a solicitation if it is directed to the general public, such as through a billboard, an Internet banner advertisement, a website, or a television commercial, or if it is in response to a request for information or is automatically generated in response to Internet searches.

And generally speaking, attorneys aren’t allowed to pay people to solicit on their behalf, except they may “pay the usual charges of a legal service plan or a not-for-profit lawyer referral service.”

Unfortunately, many of these referral services use unscrupulous methods to find out your information, from the nurse who treated you in the emergency room or your tow truck driver. Sometimes that information is public, and there’s no way to avoid it. Sometimes, however, it’s not.

Should I trust one of these referral services?

If you’re considering using a personal injury attorney referral service, it’s essential to proceed with caution and be aware of any potential pitfalls. While these services may promise to connect you with experienced lawyers who can help with your case, there are several factors to consider before trusting their recommendations:

  • Quality of attorneys: Not all attorneys recommended by referral services may be of appropriate quality or have the necessary experience you need in your personal injury. Some services prioritize quantity over quality, leading to referrals to lawyers who may not be the best fit for your case.
  • Financial incentives: Some referral services receive financial incentives for recommending specific attorneys or law firms. This could result in biased referrals, where the service prioritizes its own financial gain over your best interests.
  • Lack of transparency: It may not always be clear how referral services select the attorneys they recommend. Without transparency about their selection criteria, you may not know if the recommended attorney is truly the best choice for your needs.
  • Limited options: Referral services often have a limited pool of attorneys from which to choose, which means you may not be getting access to the full range of legal services available in your area.
  • Conflict of interest: In some cases, referral services may have partnerships or affiliations with certain attorneys or law firms, creating potential conflicts of interest that could impact the referral process.
  • Additional fees: While many referral services offer their recommendations for free, some may charge additional fees or take a percentage of any settlement or judgment you receive if you choose to hire one of their recommended attorneys. You should understand any financial incentives the referral firm may receive.
  • Lack of accountability: If you have a negative experience with an attorney recommended by a referral service, it may be challenging to hold the service accountable for the referral.

How can I make sure I choose the right lawyer for my needs?

To protect yourself when using a personal injury attorney referral service, we’ve put together some tips.

  • Research the attorneys recommended by the service independently.
  • Ask for referrals from trusted friends, family members, or other professionals in your network.
  • Interview multiple attorneys before making a decision.
  • Inquire about the referral service’s selection process and any financial incentives they receive.
  • Review online reviews and ratings for both the referral service and the recommended attorneys.
  • Be cautious of any referral service that guarantees specific outcomes or pressures you to make a decision quickly.

While personal injury attorney referral services can be a helpful resource for finding legal representation, you must approach them with caution and conduct your own due diligence to ensure you’re making the best choice for your case.

At Philbrook Law Office, we invite you to learn more about us, see our case results, and read our testimonials to find out why clients consistently choose us for their legal needs.

Have you been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence? Ensure you find the right legal representation. Here at Philbrook Law Office, we treat clients like family because we know your case matters. When you are ready to work with one of our injury lawyers in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA, we invite you to call our offices or fill out our contact form. The consultation is free.