Posts Tagged ‘how to find a lawyer’

Watch out for “lawyer referral service” illusions…

When you look at this picture do you see two silhouette black faces or do you see a white vase?

Illusion

Life is full of illusions. And this is certainly true when it comes to lawyers and Lawyer Referral Services (LRS), some of which aren’t really “lawyer referral services” at all.  So if a service refers you to a lawyer, don’t they have to be a “referral service”? Apparently not, they can really just be an illusion.

The State Bar of California has a special certification for companies that engage in the business of “referring” people to lawyers to make sure that people who need a certain type of lawyer are protected from being referred to the wrong kind of lawyer.  These certified referral services have to comply with all sorts of rules and regulations that have been established by the Supreme Court to protect people who are looking for a lawyer. The point of the certification is to make sure that people who hire lawyers are protected.

There are however many companies that will “find” a lawyer for you (which is apparently different that referring you to a lawyer) and they are not licensed or regulated by the California State Bar.  I was looking recently searching the internet and I came across the company called Lawyers.com. It’s a very BIG company. You have probably seen some of their commercials on television. I have always thought they were a lawyer referral service. They’re NOT!

At the top of their web site it says: “FIND A LAWYER”. But then at the bottom of their web site it says that Lawyers.com is a “source for identifying” lawyers (what does that mean?) …and it says that “Lawyers.com is not a lawyer referral service..”  That doesn’t make sense to me. So they will help people “identify lawyers” but they don’t have enough faith in the lawyers to “refer you to them”?  I asked myself, are they “identifying” both good and bad lawyers for you! Who is going to tell us which are the good lawyers and which are the bad ones!  The whole thing smells if you ask me. Sounds like an illusion.

I checked the California State Bar web site and found out that indeed Lawyers.com is NOT a certified referral service and it does not have to comply with all the rules and regulations that have been established by the California Supreme Court for the protection of people looking for a referral to a lawyer. Sounds like a bad deal to me. Sounds like an illusion to me.

Bottom line. Before you hire a lawyer, do your research and know who you are really dealing with. It’s your best bet for success.

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.