Image: Sira Anamwong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It's happened before, both to my attorney friends, and yes, to me as well. In all likelihood, it will continue to happen.
But it shouldn't.
Following a serious accident, you get a series of frantic phone calls from the husband, wife or parent of a person who was seriously injured in an accident. You spend an inordinate amount of time with them, guiding them through the immediate crisis - such as making sure that medical care and the medical bills are taken care of, and that insurance issues are put in order.
You also address their time-sensitive questions such as:
- What else do we need to do?
- Who is responsible for this?
- What do I do about co-pays and other out of pocket expenses?
- How do I go about getting a copy of the police report?
- Are my insurance rates going to go up because of this?
- What do I do about my lost wages?
Being a relatively "normal" person, you help answer all of these questions - and you don't push a retainer agreement in front of their face because, well, that would just be unseemly.
Here's what happens next:
The Lawyer Who Has Never Lost a Case
During that stressful time, this family member gets bombarded - and pressured - by others (yes, including people at the hospital) to hire "their guy," who "has never lost a case," and who got $10 million for their second cousin twice removed for a sprained thumb.
Who wouldn't want to go with that guy?
The Problems With Hiring THAT Lawyer
There are a few problems with this entire factual scenario.
- In many instances, these people who are pressuring the family member are paid for what they do. And it's illegal.
- The stories they are peddling, that the second lawyer "never lost a case" is one of three (3) things:
- It's a bald-faced lie;
- That lawyer has taken on precious few cases; or,
- That lawyer has never taken on a difficult case.
- The implicit promise that you will make untold fortunes of money, BEFORE they have:
- Seen any medical records;
- Don't know how the accident happened; and,
- Don't know how much insurance or other assets are available to compensate you for your injuries
is not only pure fantasy, it's terribly misleading and done with the deliberate intent of pushing you to sign on the dotted line.
In other words, you shouldn't be at all surprised if/when they're singing a vastly different tune as to the value of your case a few years down the line, after all of these questions have been answered.
Yep, clearly, none of the options in Point 3 are good.
So, here's the question:
Armed with that knowledge, do you still really want to hire THAT lawyer - yes, the one who, directly or through one of his minions, is deliberately misleading you just to make a profit?
I thought not.