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Advertising does not mean a thing. Many lawyers advertise. Some of them are great lawyers. Some of them should not be allowed to walk your dog. Just because a lawyer has a big advertising budget or a slick ad does not mean the lawyer is competent to handle your case. In fact some research has shown that the lawyers with the biggest advertising budgets get the smaller settlements on cases than lawyers who devote their time and money to their client's cases.
Prior work for an insurance company does not mean a thing. Some lawyers tout that they have worked for an insurance company in the past. It seems that this would give them an advantage but it really doesn't. A lawyer who used to work defending cases learned that in trial you win with confusion. They were trained to muddy the water, blur the lines and hide the ball. When presenting a case as a lawyer for an injured person the presentation must be crystal clear. Just because a lawyer knows how to muddy the water, it does not mean the lawyer knows how to filter the mud from the water. In fact, the opposite is most often true. A lawyer who has spent their career creating confusion cannot easily make the switch to creating clarity.
Having gotten a million dollar settlement or verdict does not mean a thing. There is an old saying among lawyers that the best way to get a million dollar settlement is to give a ten million dollar case to a lawyer who does not know what they are doing. For lawyers, sometimes getting a big case is just dumb luck. Maximizing the damages in big cases is what makes a lawyer worth his salt. Unfortunately, many lawyers know that the public think that large settlement and verdict numbers sound impressive so they will publish them without disclosing that they didn't really earn the verdict. There are even examples of lawyers who have taken multi million dollar default judgments against defunct companies so they can say they got a million dollar judgment.
Any lawyer can settle your case. Not many people know this but in Kansas an insurance company is under an obligation to fairly and honestly evaluate a case and make an offer to an injured person if they believe there is clear liability. In other words, your grandmother is just as capable of handling your case as most lawyers. In order to meet their legal obligation an insurance company will evaluate your case with the goal of looking for facts that minimize the value of your case and allow them to avoid responsibility at every turn. A good personal injury lawyer knows what information will maximize the value of your case and get you more money than the insurance company wants to pay.
The only thing that matters is trial experience in personal injury cases. Lawyers with trial experience have a distinct advantage when negotiating your case with the insurance company. This is true for several reasons. First, a lawyer that tries cases has learned by experience what facts will maximize the most value from your case. Second, all insurance companies fear the possibility of a run away verdict. Lawyers who don't try cases never create that fear when trying to add value to your case. Third, lawyers who practice being an advocate for you by trying cases are better negotiators at every level than the lawyer who has never had his persuasion skills tested in the fires of trial.