Exploring the misleading claims made by legal advertisements

It’s hard to turn on the television and not see a law firm commercial. They can include paid actor testimonials, cute canines, or even discussion of swagger. What once was an unethical practice in the legal profession is now just a normal part of the TV viewing experience. This marketing phenomenon leaves injured victims with one important question: can I trust an attorney who advertises on TV?

As you might expect, it would be very hard to answer this question with just a yes or no; however, there are recurring claims made in many of these ads that are misleading. 

• We Don’t Get Paid Unless You Get Paid

It sounds like a great marketing message. A claim that sets a law firm apart from the other firms that bill hourly or require payment upfront; however, the truth is most, if not all, personal injury attorneys utilize a contingency fee arrangement, which means the attorney only receives compensation when their client makes a monetary recovery. 

There are situations where no attorney may offer a contingency fee arrangement, including family and criminal law cases. For example, an attorney’s fee could never be contingent on the outcome of a criminal trial; however, in a car accident, most attorneys will have a contingency fee agreement and they only receive compensation if they are successful in getting their client money.

In short, when an attorney on television says that you only pay them when you make money, they are accurate, but that would be the same as with most, if not all, personal injury attorneys.  

• Lawyer Referral Services 

If you’ve turned your television on in the last decade, you’ve probably seen commercials from companies that offer to refer you to a highly qualified, experienced attorney. Though it’s nice to think that a company’s mission is to connect injury victims to the most qualified attorneys to handle their claim, the unsurprising truth is that these referral services are another deceptive business model, which have attorneys pay to be included or require the lawyer refer them business – creating a potentially unethical exclusive referral arrangement. 

In your search for the right lawyer, we recommend you do your due diligence and collect the information that is important to you. Find an attorney who knows the area of law for which you’re seeking representation; an attorney who will actually be the one standing by you from the initial consultation to the ultimate resolution. 

For many, a legal battle can be one of the scariest, most stressful events in his or her life. The opposing party will fire difficult questions meant to confuse and intimidate; they may resort to tricks to try to get the claim dismissed; and they will do their very best to prevent the at-fault party from paying the money that you are owed. Hire an attorney with the legal expertise and trial experience to best handle your case.