Don’t Believe Won-Loss Records When it Comes to Choosing a Lawyer
“We Win Cases!”
Have you ever heard attorneys that advertise words or phrases like these? Or use other language to suggest how many cases they win or how frequently they win?
It sounds tempting to go to firms that tout this kind of record. But the truth is that moist attorneys that brag about their won-loss record, as if they are a sports team, are probably not giving you the whole story.
Are Settlements Wins?
It is almost impossible for an attorney to tell you how often they win cases, mostly because most personal injury cases will settle—they won’t make it all the way to court. When a case settles, what is a “win?”
A win can be defined many ways. A win could be getting a victim any amount of money. It may not even be enough to fully compensate a victim, but a lawyer can advertise a case as a “win,” if any money was awarded.
If money is awarded, how much is a “win?” If the Defendant settles for medical bills and lost wages, but no pain and suffering, has the victim or his lawyer really won the case? If the Defendant pays pain and suffering, but not nearly enough to account for the true level of the victim’s pain and suffering, is that a “win?”
There are no answers to these questions—they just go to show that when an attorney advertises that he or she wins cases, or has won X number of cases, that may not be a reliable indicator of the attorney’ skill, experience, competence or record.
What is a Loss?
But isn’t losing actually losing? That’s easy to account for—an attorney who goes to trial and gets no money from the jury has lost. No interpretation there, right?
But even that is misleading. Many attorneys purposely take on difficult, novel or challenging cases. If an attorney takes on cases that other attorneys don’t want or pass up or say no to representing, that attorney may lose more—but that doesn’t say anything about that attorney’s skill. Pure losses don’t tell you how difficult a case may have been in the first place.
Sometimes losses may happen because a victim totally and completely heals, and a jury finds no injury. Yes, that is a loss in court—but the victim hasn’t actually lost; he or she has completely healed, which is, in most cases, the ideal outcome.
Other things out of the attorney’s control can affect wins and losses. Victims may simply not cooperate with their attorney, or they may die, and the family may opt not to continue the case.
Never look at or believe won-loss records when choosing an attorney. Get someone that you trust, who has experience, and who has clients that will vouch for his or her legal skills.
Can your attorney handle your case? Come speak with us, and ask us any questions you may have. Call the Boston personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of Joseph Linnehan, Jr. today at 617-275-4200 for help and for a free consultation.