Accident Lawyers - Good and Bad
by David Schneider
(Los Organos, Peru)
Be Sure To Get The Right Legal Advice When You've Been In An Accident. Seek a second opinion, if necessary!
Our Experience With Accident Lawyers - Good and Bad!
My wife and I had been in some minor collisions while living in California and Hawaii. Lin had some permanent damage that resulted in neck and upper back problems. We had received some compensation previously in Hawaii.
We moved to the state of Washington, when another mishap occurred.
We were in a bank parking lot, parked. My wife was sitting cross-legged on the passenger seat of our van. Another vehicle had been parked at the higher end of the parking lot. Apparently, the brake had not been set, and the unoccupied vehicle rolled across the parking lot and struck the rear end of our van.
My wife went off the seat head first under the dashboard, of course re-injuring her neck.
We didn't know any lawyers. We chose one who I believe was on a list by the lawyer's association there. We made an appointment and went for a consultation.
After a brief explanation of the antecedents and the current mishap, the lawyer said that the state of Washington was very strict on claims and that it would be impossible to pursue compensation for this "minor" occurrence (it may have been minor to him, but of course with doctor's bills, massage, etc., not to mention possible repercussions throughout life, it was not minor to us).
As we left his office, he requested a fee of $50.00. I wanted to laugh in his face but refrained. I just told him that that was adding insult to injury and that I had no intention of paying.
He could have told us the same thing on the phone prior to the consultation. We did not pay and never heard from him again.
We left his office dismayed at the unfriendly attitude of the State of Washington.
A few months later we were in a car of friends. A driver made a left turn in front of us, resulting in another collision. My wife again suffered the same type of injury, adding to the already damaged tissue of her neck and upper back.
This time we found a different lawyer. He said that standard practice in injury cases was never to charge for a consultation since the lawyer would be paid a part of the claim settlement.
When he heard what the previous lawyer had told us about the prior accident, he asked for the details and immediately got us $1,000.00 for that prior accident from the insurance company to cover medical expenses. And he did that for FREE. He did not even take a part of the settlement.
On the latest case we ended up receiving a large settlement which included estimated future costs over the lifetime of my wife.
The moral of the story is:
- Don't believe a lawyer who is trusted and recommended by the community until you have consulted several.
- Do not pay for a consultation on an accident. To me, that is a sign that you are not going to be helped.
- Find a friendly lawyer who will bend over backwards to help.
After all, they make a huge amount of money of the settlements and should be willing to do all they can to help you, the victim.
Oh my goodness! Your poor wife! I can't imagine very many people are in so many damaging accidents in so short a span of time. How sad. I do hope that she has been able to get enough help and therapy so that she is not in constant pain.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences with different accident lawyers - good and bad. You are completely right in your summary.
It pays to consult with more than one car accident lawyer or law firm if you don't get a favorable response the first time, or if you feel uncomfortable in the way you are being treated.
In most areas, there are plenty of lawyers - good and bad - to choose from. Don't settle for a bad lawyer, or you may end up settling for little or no compensation.
All the best to you and your dear wife.