IMPORTANT QUESTIONS WHICH SHOULD BE ASKED BEFORE HIRING A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
Like any important life decision, potential clients should ask some basic questions before hiring a personal injury or medical malpractice attorney. What many may not realize is that if they have a good case, they can hire a first-rate attorney at no additional expense compared to hiring an inexperienced rookie or someone with a mediocre track record. So it pays to ask questions before hiring an attorney and at Jackel & Phillips we do not shy away from responding to these important attorney questions.
1. DOES THE FIRM HAVE EXPERTISE IN PERSONAL INJURY AND/OR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
Jackel & Phillips is a civil litigation law firm which has expertise in personal injury and medical malpractice. On a daily basis, we work with clients who have been injured as a result of careless or inattentive actions by others. The two partners of Jackel & Phillips know personal injury and medical malpractice law backwards and forwards from over 50 years of combined real and practical work experience (and it takes a law firm with our experience at the highest skill level to get the best results for potential clients). Additionally, the attorneys of Jackel & Phillips work in close coordination with their staff nurse consultant and retained medical experts to make sure that all medical aspects of your case are fully understood and explained in order to recover the full value of your case.
2. WHAT IS THE FIRM’S PHILOSOPHY TOWARDS CLIENT CUSTOMER SERVICE?
At Jackel & Phillips we take special pride in the fact that your case will be professionally handled by seasoned attorneys who work as a team in order to obtain the best results. Unlike many law firms, at Jackel & Phillips you will always be able to speak with our attorneys when you call or want to meet about your case (and we promptly return our calls if we are out of the office). In case of litigation, we will keep you well informed about how your case is progressing and we will always thoroughly prepare you for the potential rigors of civil litigation. Ultimately, you are in charge of your case and our philosophy is to give you the entire picture regarding both the good and bad aspects of your case (along with our recommendations), so that you make the best and most informed decision as to all settlement and important litigation decisions.
3. HOW LONG HAVE THE ATTORNEYS BEEN WORKING IN THE FIELDS OF PERSONAL INJURY AND MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
As in any field of legal practice, experience is extremely important and Jackel & Phillips has just exactly that. With over 50 years of combined actual work experience in the fields of personal injury and medical malpractice litigation, the two partners of Jackel & Phillips have represented numerous victims of automobile collisions, injurious products, slip and falls, personal injuries, and medical malpractice obtaining millions of dollars in jury verdicts and settlements. More importantly, when settlement negotiations fail, the attorneys of Jackel & Phillips have tried numerous personal injury and medical malpractice cases before juries throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area, thus earning the requisite skill, knowledge and understanding which can only come from authentic courtroom experience.
4. DO THE ATTORNEYS I HIRE ACTUALLY TRY LAWSUITS IN COURT, OR WILL MY CASE BE SENT TO OTHER ATTORNEYS IF IT DOES NOT SETTLE?
This is an extremely important question that many injured people may not know to ask. There is only one way to get top dollar for your case in a settlement and that is to show the insurance company that your attorneys are actually ready, willing and able to try the case in court and obtain a significant jury verdict if they fail to make a proper settlement offer. If you hire a lawyer who always settles and never goes to court, then that attorney will have a reputation with the insurance companies of being “scared” to try cases and he or she will not be taken seriously. If this is the case, the potential client should understand that the insurance companies will look to only settle your case on the “cheap” and that the client should be prepared to take a substantial discount on his or her case.
Additionally, in every city, including the metropolitan Atlanta area, there are “clearinghouse” “law firms” which advertise heavily in the media with catchy advertising lines which are designed to get as many clients “signed up” as possible. Of course, the problem with “clearinghouse” lawyers is that they are generally interested in volume and quick turnover. This means they try to settle cases quickly, usually at the expense of the client whose good case may be shortchanged in the lawyer’s rush for a fee. If the “clearinghouse” lawyer cannot settle the case, then typically the case is “farmed” out to a different attorney to handle, often leading to confusion and frustration as to which attorney is actually handling the client’s case.
On the other hand, “genuine” personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys actually go to court and try cases the old-fashioned way: in front of judges and juries. Of course, “genuine” attorneys also settle cases out of court, but they compile a track record and reputation for not being afraid of trying the case before a jury if necessary. Jackel & Phillips is just this type of “genuine” law firm. When settlement negotiations fail, the attorneys of Jackel & Phillips are ready, willing and able to use their skill, knowledge and understanding derived from years of courtroom experience to present your case in the absolute best way possible to a jury for the best verdict results.
5. WHAT IS THE LAWYER’S TRACK RECORD OF VERDICTS AND SETTLEMENTS?
The longer the lawyer’s list of successful case outcomes, the better it is for the client. The insurance companies who defend personal injury and malpractice cases know who the attorneys in your area are who actually go into court to try cases and those who do not. As discussed above, the insurance companies use that information to evaluate their risk. One of the first questions an insurance adjuster will ask when a serious claim comes in is: who is representing the plaintiff?
Partner Dana Jackel is the recipient of the prestigious “Best in Cobb” award and “AV” rating for his recognized and proven track record of legal success. Moreover, the partners at Jackel & Phillips have settled, tried and obtained numerous successful outcomes for their clients resulting in multiple multi-million dollar recoveries. So regardless of whether your case involves a catastrophic injury or something much less, your case will be treated with the individual respect it deserves and Jackel & Phillips will work tirelessly as a team to maximize your monetary recovery, be it by settlement or jury verdict. We would invite you to look at our “Results” page which demonstrates our proven track record at Jackel & Phillips.
6. WHO WILL ACTUALLY HANDLE MY CASE?
In many large law firms, you will hear about their “experience” or “settlements,” but when it comes to the actual handling of your case after you have signed an attorney contract, the senior lawyers often delegate your case to a less experienced lawyer to handle and you become just another case number. That does not happen at Jackel & Phillips. At Jackel & Phillips your case, from start to finish, will be handled by both partners of Jackel & Phillips in close coordination with their staff nurse legal consultant (and other retained medical experts if necessary). This “team” concept is designed to maximize the best presentation of your case to the insurance company for settlement purposes or, if settlement talks fail, to a jury for the best verdict results possible.
7. IS THE LAWYER A MEMBER OF LEGAL ORGANIZATIONS THAT SPECIALIZE IN REPRESENTING INJURED PEOPLE?
The partners of Jackel & Phillips are members of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, the State Bar of Georgia, and the Cobb Bar Association. So while a potential client can certainly find a lawyer who doesn’t belong to any of these groups, why would you want that lawyer to represent you in a serious injury lawsuit?
8. HAS THE LAWYER WON ANY HONORS OR AWARDS?
A victim of personal injury certainly wants to hire the best lawyer and litigator for his or her case. This is especially true in serious injury cases and one mark of a top lawyer is his or her personal awards and honors. Again, at Jackel & Phillips we take special pride in our recognized achievements.
Partner Dana Jackel was recognized and chosen as the “Best Attorney” by Inside Cobb in their Best of Cobb awards for his proven legal abilities and success. Mr. Jackel has also been awarded an “AV” rating, the highest possible, by Martindale-Hubbell, the most prestigious ranking service for the legal profession.
Partner Christopher Phillips graduated from Virginia Military Institute with academic distinction in 1990. He attended Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, and graduated in 1994, again with scholastic honors. Chris is a JAG (attorney) officer in the U.S. Naval Reserves obtaining the rank of CAPTAIN (O-6) and garnering no less than five Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals for his meritorious legal achievements. In his civil practice, he has garnered a perfect 10.0 rating according to the peer review on AVVO.com.
9. DOES THE LAWYER HAVE THE FINANCIAL AND PERSONNEL RESOURCES TO TAKE ON MY CASE?
Lawsuits involving serious or catastrophic personal injuries can be very expensive to take to court. Many cases can involve two, three or even more medical specialties, each one of which needs to have a hired expert witness to address the issues in that specialty. If a lawyer lacks the resources to fund a case properly, corners can be cut at the expense of the client’s case or a client can be pressured into taking an inadequate settlement. It pays to hire a lawyer who has the financial resources to take a case all the way to trial, if necessary. At Jackel & Phillips, we are veterans of numerous multi-million dollar lawsuits and we have the necessary resources to fully fund the litigation for your case from start to finish.
10. WHAT WOULD BE MY ROLE IN MY CASE?
At Jackel & Phillips, we are very mindful that first and foremost it is your case so that the client always makes the final decision as to settlement. In case of litigation, the attorneys of Jackel & Phillips will keep you well informed about how your case is progressing and we will always thoroughly prepare you for the potential rigors of civil litigation. Ultimately, you are in charge of your case and our philosophy is to give you the entire picture regarding both the good and bad aspects of your case (along with our recommendations), so that you make the best and most informed decision as to all settlement and important litigation decisions.