We are living in a time that digital and mobile outlets are used more frequently than ever before. According to Hubspot.com, it is estimated that 81% of consumers conduct online research prior to making a decision. The internet is full of helpful information and makes it very easy to access what a person is searching for quickly and easily. And while most the time this improves our daily lives, there are times when online information can be deceiving as well. Don’t forget, not everything you read on the internet is true.
Online legal research websites, such as LegalZoom, have become more and more popular to search for personal injury facts, attorneys, reviews and more. While we always encourage Georgians to do their research before hiring an attorney, we also realize that online legal information can sometimes be mistaken for legal advice. So while you’re doing your research, it is always important to consult with an actual attorney before believing something you’ve read on a website.
The LegalZoom website disclaimer speaks for itself in regards to the quality of content within the personal injury practice area of the site. It is labelled “ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT” and warns visitors that LegalZoom is an advertising website which doesn’t offer legal advice. It also states the following:
“This portion of the LegalZoom website is not a lawyer referral service. LegalZoom does not endorse or recommend any lawyer or law firm who advertises on our site. We do not make any representation and have not made any judgment as to the qualifications, expertise or credentials of any participating lawyer.”
So not only should the information found on LegalZoom not be considered actual legal guidance, but the lawyers and legal professionals advertised on LegalZoom are not vetted prior to being added to the website. While some websites require certain qualifications and legal achievements to be met before listing attorneys on a website, those on LegalZoom have simply paid for a listing on the website.
The disadvantages associated with not fully understanding the content one consumes on the internet may seem minimal, but can become large issues. Hiring the wrong attorney to represent you in a legal claim can mean the difference between a successful resolution and your loss of ability to recover damages for someone else’s negligence. So while we would never suggest that readers shouldn’t perform online research before hiring an attorney, we also want to educate on the reliability of information found on the web.
Should you ever come across legal information online or elsewhere, personal injury or not, the experienced staff members and attorneys at Jones & Swanson are happy to confirm the validity for you. We’re only a phone call away at 770-427-5498.