It is common for the attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to work with other law firms on cases that begin with their firm to help their client successfully recover on a personal injury case. When this happens, the relationship with the other firm is usually referred to as a “referral” or “association.”
Unless an accident victim has been injured in some type of prior incident, they often do not have a North Carolina personal injury attorney in their phone contacts. However, they may have an attorney they can call that has handled past issues for them, such as family law, estate planning, or other legal issues. When this is the case, the victim will likely reach out to that attorney to help with their accident claim or lawsuit. That attorney may even begin the legal process of preparing and filing the accident claim against the party responsible for the victim’s injuries in order to pursue damages for their losses.
At some point during this process, the attorney and/or the victim may realize that the odds of obtaining a fair and just settlement would greatly increase if the case was being handled by an attorney who specializes in personal injury law. This is where a “referral” often comes in. A referral usually means our firm assumes primary responsibility for pursuing the claim on behalf of the client, the referring firm typically provides info on the incident giving rise to the claim and damages up to the point of the referral and our firm usually takes over the case from that point.
Referral practice encourages law firms that are unfamiliar with an area of law such as civil litigation to work with qualified law firms like ours to achieve a good result for the client. In most cases, referrals come from firms that do not handle a lot of significant personal injury cases or don’t usually handle cases in our geo area.
It often involves our firm paying a portion of the attorney’s fee to the referring law firm, depending on how much work the referring law firm has already done on the case. The attorney fees charged to the client is not increased by the referral.
“Association” works a bit differently. Association usually means the firm that began handling the case in the beginning remains involved in the preparation and trial of the case. Both law firms work together and usually identify specific aspects of the preparation and trial each firm will be responsible for handling.
In most of the association cases our North Carolina law firm has worked with, law firms usually become associated on a case when the originating firm isn’t as familiar with a specific area of the law/case as our personal injury attorneys are.
The firms that associate to handle a case agree how the attorney’s fee will be divided between them and, once again, the overall attorney’s fee for the client is not increased. Instead, the client actually gets two law firms for the original cost of one.
Referral and association are made with the client’s best interest at heart. The purpose is to ensure a client has qualified counsel representing them.
Contact a Carolina Accident Attorney
If you or a family member has been injured in an accident caused by another party, contact a seasoned North Carolina personal injury attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have. Even if it is not entirely clear who is the at-fault party, an N.C. injury attorney will be able to determine which party or parties are liable. At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our injury attorneys have represented numerous accident victims and have the legal expertise to handle these complex cases with positive results. Call our office today for a free case evaluation.