Make sure the firm you hire has lawyers experienced in trying cases
Incredibly, many of the heavily advertising personal injury lawyers and law firms have never tried a case to a jury. They are completely without this courtroom experience. This is as if you ask a doctor to perform surgery who has never operated before. Insurance companies know that a lawyer without experience in court is not likely to be as successful as an experienced lawyer and the settlement offer made by the insurance company will reflect this reality.
Many of the heavily advertising personal injury lawyers who don't go to court will tell you that it is not necessary to go to court to settle your case, as their reason why they don't go to court. Don't believe them. What they are telling you is not true. If they do not have a successful track record in the courtroom where it counts, insurance companies have no incentive to pay for your settlements because they know that ultimately the attorney will take whatever it is the insurance company decides to pay them. In these situations the insurance companies and defense law firms are in the driver's seat, not the plaintiff's attorney who doesn't go to court.
If an attorney handling your case has no experience in court, and the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement, there are only two options.
1. The lawyer for the first time tries the case before a jury, and has a real learning experience, the problem is it is your case he is learning with; or
2. He must refer the case to an experienced firm. The problem here is that then the lawyer has to give the experienced firm the lion's share of the fee. Some lawyers may put their economic interests ahead of the client's and convince the client not to go to court and take a smaller settlement so they do not have to give up the majority of the fee.
Presently, about 60% of the cases in our firm are referrals from other lawyers. Fortunately, we deal with referring attorneys with high ethical standards who put their clients' interests first even if they will earn a smaller fee by referring the case to an experienced firm after the insurance company fails to offer a fair settlement.