Archive for the ‘Personal Injury Lawyer’ Category

Drunk Driver Verdict: $31.7 million

In a recently concluded civil case entitled Landeros v. Torres,  a jury awarded a verdict in the amount of $31.7 million dollars against a drunk driver who caused severe and permanent brain damage to 16 year old Rocio Landeros.  This is the second of several headline stories about  drunk driving tragedies. Last week in a criminal trial,  Andrew Gallo, age 23, was found guilty of second degree murder for driving while drunk and causing an accident that killed Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, age 22 and his friends, 20 year old Courtney Stewart and 25 year old Henry Pearson. Andrew Gallo will probably spend the rest of his life in prison.

The bottom line is that despite our tough laws on drinking and driving, people are still doing it. People are still being killed.  People are still going to jail.  And a lot of innocent lives are being shattered in the process.

Don’t drink and drive. Please.

Does a Free Lawyer Referral Service
really exist?

Question Mark MoneyIt depends on what you mean.

FREE? Yes. If you call one of those companies (which we can’t actually call “referral” services), you know the ones I mean, they have huge advertising budgets… they will “give” you the name of a lawyer. Here is how they work: You call them, they give you the name of a personal injury lawyer (you’ll have no idea if that lawyer is any good) and that’s it.  End of story. End of relationship. (See my prior post “Lawyer Referral Service Illusions” about the difference between being “referred” to a lawyer vs. being “informed” about a lawyer!)

SERVICENo. Most of those big companies “give” you the name of a personal injury lawyer who has paid to be on their referral list. That’s it. What they don’t do is provide you with any service, and that’s not good for you.

Solution: Find a California State Bar certified lawyer referral service that will help you find the best personal injury lawyer for your particular type of case.

You Don’t Always Need a
Personal Injury Lawyer!

Handy ManSometimes you have to fight for justice on your own.    So how can you get a little do-it-yourself justice? By filing your own case in small claims court.

In this day and age everyone loves to “lawyer up”. Well some cases aren’t big enough for a lawyer to take, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have your day in court and your own slice of justice. Having worked my entire career as a personal injury lawyer I understand how difficult it is to get an insurance company to actually pay money for a legitimate claim.  If the insurance company knows your claim isn’t large enough for you to find a lawyer, they will often deny it outright. But don’t give up! Fight them in small claims court.

It is simple to file your very own small claims case and obtain a judgment of up to $7,500. In small claims court the parties must act as their own lawyers, so you won’t be up against a lawyer on the other side, you will be up against the person you feel actually caused your damages. You can file your small claims case and handle the entire case on your own. It’s really not that hard.

Below are the links where you can get all the information you will need:

For Los Angeles County Small Claims

For the Orange County court handbook on how to file a small claims case

For small claims information in Santa Barbara County court

For the Ventura County Superior Court

For the San Bernardino County Court

If you need assistance filling out the forms, or have any questions about how to prepare your small claims case, feel free to email me at info@higherlegal.com.

San Bruno Tragedy. Lawyers Beware!

Good for the State Bar of California!

I just read the notice placed on the California State Bar web site telling sleazy lawyers to stay away from the victims of the tragedy in San Bruno. The State Bar also notifies the victims that they should beware of  the illegal “runners” and “cappers” who may try to approach them to sign them up with a lawyer. State Bar Notice.  The State Bar of California recommends that anyone from this disaster who feels they need to consult with a lawyer should consider contacting a certified lawyer referral service. The notice goes on to state:

“If an injured person or family member believes that they have been improperly solicited by or on behalf of an attorney, they should immediately report the matter to the State Bar at (800) 843-9053″.

In this day and age of ambulance chasers, which unfortunately gives all good and reputable lawyers a bad name, I applaud the State Bar for coming out with this notice to the public.

Don’t let a personal injury lawyer
buy your case!

If you asked your friend for the name of a doctor to fix your broken arm, would you want your friend to:

  • A.  Give you the name of the best orthopedic doctor they know,  or
  • B.  Give you the name of a doctor who paid your friend $5,000 to get your name?
PI lawyer

PI lawyer

Of course you would want them to refer you to the best orthopedic doctor they know. In fact, if they told you to go to a doctor who paid them $5,000 to get your name, you would probably be highly suspicious of that doctor because the only reason he got your name was because he paid for it, not because he is a good doctor.

People with personal injury cases fall victim to this trap everyday.  Thousands of personal injury clients have their cases “sold” to lawyers every day, and they never even know it. How does that happen? I’ll tell you how…

Most lawyer referral services are not really lawyer referral services at all. Instead, they are “advertising call centers” that make themselves look like a law firm, take in telephone calls from people who are looking for a personal injury lawyer and then sell the calls to lawyers who pay for them.  These are well known “referral” companies that “sell” clients to the highest bidder. In my opinion, that is a very bad way to find  lawyer.  So how can you protect yourself?

When you contact a lawyer referral service ask them these important questions:

  • Are they actually licensed as a “certified lawyer referral service” by the California State Bar?
  • Are they owned and operated by lawyers, or are they really just an advertising company?
  • After they give you the name of a lawyer, will they stay involved and monitor the progress of your case until it is completed?
  • Do they have a 24/7  telephone hot line number so you can contact them at any time and speak with a lawyer?
  • Has the lawyer paid them a fee to get your call? (i.e. is that lawyer buying your call?)

Most unsuspecting consumers who need a personal injury lawyer call one of these well known companies simply because they feel a level of comfort after seeing their commercials so many times. But beware! Don’t let your personal injury case be sold to the highest bidder.