Articles Posted in Hiring a Lawyer

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First, allow me to use an example to explain subrogation: You are hurt in an accident. You go to the emergency room, are admitted to the hospital for several weeks and then have a few months of follow-up appointments and physical therapy.   After deductibles and co-pays, your health insurance company pays all of your medical bills. After you recover from the accident, you settle your injury case with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Using the money you got from your settlement, you buy your first home. Several months later, you get a letter from your medical insurance carrier demanding to be paid back for the medical bills they paid on your behalf after the accident.   You no longer have the cash because you bought a home, but they are threatening to sue you.

Can they do that? What about if you are on Medicare or Tenncare? Isn’t that why you paid the premiums for your medical insurance? If they sue me, could they take my house or garnish my wages?   What if I never tell them about my accident? Continue reading

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Not surprisingly, every accident victim whose case goes to trial wants to know the answer to this question. Of course, victory at trial depends upon a number of factors including the facts of your case, your lawyer, the opposing lawyer, the judge, the jury pool, etc.   Below we will examine each of these in a little more detail and how you can help your case: Continue reading

This week, the International Society of Barristers (ISOB) inducted John Day as a fellow.  The ISOB is dedicated to preservation of the adversary system, the right to jury trial and an independent judiciary.  Membership is by invitation only and includes a rigorous screening process involving both judges and fellow lawyers.  The ISOB extends membership to those lawyers “of exceptional talent, whose qualities including integrity, honor and collegiality embody the spirit of the true professional”.  Of course, those of us at The Law Offices of John Day, P.C. have always known that John possesses these traits but we are certainly pleased that the prestigious ISOB has recognized it as well.  Congratulations, John!

Virtually all, if not all, Tennessee personal injury and wrongful death lawyers will work on a contingent fee – which means the lawyer receives a percentage of the total recovery for the client in the case.  If there is no recovery, the lawyer charges no fee whatsoever.

However, not all personal injury lawyers have the same approach on the question of expenses incurred during the preparation and trial of personal injury cases.  Litigation expenses can be relatively small – $100 – $300 in a case involving minor injuries which is settled before a lawyer is filed – to hundreds of thousands of dollars in complex medical malpractice and product liability lawsuits.

Here are the common approaches to the issue of case expenses in personal injury and wrongful death cases in Nashville and throughout Tennessee:

It is that time again.  Time to assess our lives and look for ways to improve in the new year.   While losing weight is usually the most popular resolution, we wanted to give you some things to consider from a legal perspective.   

1.  Evaluate your uninsured/underinsured insurance coverage.  I know.  Yawn.  But, in the event you are injured in an accident, the type of insurance you have and the amount of your coverage can make a critical difference to you and your family. 

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects you in the event the person or company who causes your injuries either does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to compensate you.  For example, let’s assume you are involved in a car accident with a person who only has mandatory minimum liability coverage of $25,000, but your medical bills are $75,000 and your injuries prevent you from returning to work for 3 months.  Clearly, the value of your claim greatly exceeds the at-fault party’s $25,000 in coverage.  In this situation, your own underinsured coverage could help make up the difference in your compensation.  Without your underinsured coverage, unless the at-fault party has assets (which is unlikely — otherwise, they would almost certainly have more insurance coverage), you would not receive adequate compensation for your injuries.

If you look around it seems like there are thousands of lawyers who say that they represent people who have  personal injury and wrongful death cases. In Tennessee and many other states, any lawyer, regardless of their experience, can say that they do personal injury and wrongful death litigation.  Thus, it is up to the consumer to figure out who should he or she should turn to for legal representation.

This Guide will help you conduct the right research and ask the right questions so that you can hire the best lawyer and law firm  for your case.

1. Is the lawyer a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers?

Rumor has it that some lawyers have "relationships" with tow truck operators.  These tow truck operators encourage people involved in Tennessee car or truck accidents to hire their lawyer friend.

The ethics of these type of relationships are questionable and, depending on the circumstances, are just plain wrong.  However, from your standpoint as a consumer who needs an experienced Tennessee personal injury lawyer, you have to give serious consideration to whether or not you  want to accept a recommendation of a lawyer made under these circumstances.

All lawyers are not equal.  Any lawyer who would push ethical boundaries to gain a client is a lawyer to be very concerned about.

Tennessee ethics rules for attorneys who represent people involved in personal injury cases or wrongful death cases on a contingent fee basis provide that the lawyer must have a written fee agreement with their client.

It is important that, as a prospective client, you read the agreement and make sure you understand what the fee is and how it will be charged.   

If you are pressured to sign it the same day you meet with the lawyer, be careful.  If you must take it home to read it carefully, or to review it with a family member, you should do so.  Do not be forced into signing such an agreement before you have had the opportunity to study it.  Do not be afraid to ask questions about any provision of the agreement that you do not understand.

There are lots of lawyers who are willing to represent you in Tennessee automobile and truck accident cases, Tennessee medical malpractice cases, and other types of Tennessee injury and wrongful death cases.  How do you figure out who to hire for your case?

One place to look is for sites listing "top lawyers" or "best lawyers."  However, the qualifications for some of these listings require nothing more than a credit card and really tell you nothing about the actual qualifications of the lawyer or what his or her peers think about his or her legal work.

Here are some "best lawyer" sites that you can trust to help you find the right lawyer for your case"

In the legal profession they are called "runners" – non-lawyers who approach Tennessee personal injury victims and families of  Tennessee wrongful death victims and try to persuade them to hire a particular lawyer or law firm.  They may come to the scene of an accident, a hospital room, a residence, even a funeral home.  Sometimes they are paid for their services, sometimes they do it just to have an "in" with a lawyer.

Runners may be ambulance drivers, tow truck operators, nurses or hospital technicians.   Whoever they are and however they approach you, what they are doing is wrong.  It is improper for a lawyer to employ the service of a non-lawyer to solicit personal injury clients or wrongful death clients.  It is also improper for the lawyer to conduct this type of activity himself or herself.

So why do some lawyers do such a thing?  Why would a lawyer put his or her law license on the line to get a new client?  Because they have trouble getting clients based on their reputation or any of the other ways good lawyers find good clients.  And the reason that they have trouble getting clients in an ethical way is that they aren’t good lawyers.