Posts Tagged ‘elder abuse’

Is there more than one type of
“Personal Injury” case?

Slip and fallYES.  A lot of people don’t really know what a “personal injury” case is.  Most people think of a “personal injury” case as a car accident or a slip & fall accident. It is a lot more complicated than that.

During part of  my 25 years of practicing “personal injury” law I handled primarily medical malpractice matters and I remember folks coming up to me and saying, “I wish you could have handled my medical malpractice case, but I thought you were a personal injury lawyer”  (I always refrained from saying what I was thinking, “Hey dodo, medical malpractice IS personal injury”).

Most people just don’t know that the world of “personal injury” law includes many different kinds of cases and there are special personal injury lawyers for each type of case.

Personal injury law (like everything else in the world) is very specialized now. Here are just a few of the types of cases that “personal injury” lawyers handle:

There are “personal injury” lawyers who practice in each of these areas of law. It used to be that every Tom, Dick & Harry in the legal business handled “personal injury” cases because they were easy money. Not so anymore. Lawyers practicing in the field of personal injury law do not make the kind of money they did in years past. It is a difficult business now and unfortunately a lot of lawyers are accepting personal injury cases which they have no business taking (and that is really bad for the client).

Some of the worst examples I have seen are in nursing home neglect cases. I have seen situations when a so called “personal injury” lawyer sees a client with terrible bed sores or broken bones caused at a nursing home (SNF or RCFE) who signs up the case and handles it like a general negligence or medical malpractice case. Big mistake!  I have seen cases that were destroyed by the lawyers incompetence.

Every injured person is entitled to a fair fight against the defendant who they believe caused their injuries. Rest assured the lawyers who represent the defendant will always be specialists in defending the case you bring against their client. In some of the medical malpractice cases I handled, the lawyer who was defending the doctor my client was suing knew more about the area of medicine than the doctor we were suing! So the advice I have here is to be sure you know how to find a lawyer and how to hire a lawyer.  That’s the only way to level the playing field.

My Number One Tip On How To Find The Right Personal Injury Lawyer

Don’t be surprised…

When you have to hire a personal injury lawyer it is because something bad has happened. So don’t make a bad situation worse by hiring  the wrong kind of personal injury lawyer (yes there is more than one kind of “personal injury” lawyer, and I don’t mean a good one vs. a bad one). I worked as a personal injury lawyer for 25 years and I thought it would be appropriate to start this blog (and the the first of many legal tips) with the best tip I can give you on how to find the right personal injury lawyer.

Tip No. 1: Use a Certified Lawyer Referral Service.

Let me use an analogy. If you had a broken arm, would you want it to be set by an orthopedic surgeon or by your family doctor? No brainer! The orthopedic surgeon is a specialist in treating broken bones and your chance of making a great recovery is much higher if your ortho fixes it. The same is true with lawyers, and especially personal injury lawyers. If you have an auto accident case, you don’t want a personal injury lawyer who primarily handles elder abuse cases to take it. But guess what? Many personal injury lawyers are hurting for business and if a decent auto accident case comes through their door (not literally) the elder abuse or medical malpractice “personal injury” lawyer is going to take it.  THAT’S BAD FOR YOU. That’s why you want to use a Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) that is certified by the California State Bar.  A good LRS will help you find the right kind of personal injury lawyer for your specific type of personal injury case.

What is a Certified Lawyer Referral Service?

  • They are private companies.
  • They have a special referral certification from the California State Bar.
  • They are required to pre-screen their lawyers.
  • They require their lawyers to have legal malpractice insurance.
  • They must meet standards established by the California Supreme Court.
  • They can refer you to a lawyer specializing in the field of law you need.

Are all Certified Lawyer Referral Services the same?

No. There are approximately 130 Certified Lawyer Referral Services in California. You can find information about them on the web site of the California State Bar.

Let me use my doctor analogy again. If you needed to hire an orthopedic surgeon, you would want one from an orthopedic group that treated all types of orthopedic injuries, like broken arms, hip replacements, back surgery, etc. because the orthopedic group will have many orthopedic doctors with various specialities within the field of orthopedics. You wouldn’t want your ortho from a small hospital with one “jack-of-all-trades” orthopedist.

The same can be said for LRS’s.  You want to find a LRS that specializes in one field of law and has many specialists within that particular field of law.

Bottom line, before you hire a personal injury lawyer, DO YOUR RESEARCH!