At the Law Offices of John Day, we have two intake specialists, Penny Whitaker and Lauren Bates. When people call into the offices for a free consultation, Lauren and Penny take the basic accident information for a free review by one of our award-winning attorneys. Let me say, Penny and Lauren do a great job; they understand that when people call our office they are often confused about their rights and options, scared about what the future may bring and looking for help. And, we desperately want to help. But all too often, we can’t and that is where the disappointment comes in. This is never truer than when someone did do something wrong and injuries or death resulted. Let me explain.
Without getting too technical, in order to be able to prevail in an injury or death lawsuit, we have to prove that someone did something legally wrong. Lawyers will often refer to this as a breach of a legal duty – like running a red light. After proving someone did something wrong, we have to prove that running the red light actually caused the accident. For instance, people run red lights all day everyday but it does not cause an accident. Lastly, we have to prove that accident caused some damage. For example, if someone runs a red light, causes an accident, but no one is hurt, then there is no injury case (just a case for property damage). Even when we can prove all these things, we must sometimes turn people away. There are a variety of reasons for this: the statute of limitations has run (the amount of time the law allows you to file your case); the injuries were not serious enough to warrant legal action and so the injury victim would be better handling it on their own with the adverse insurance company; the at-fault party does not have insurance and does not have any assets that can be seized to help compensate the injury victim, etc.
While all of these situations can be frustrating for the injury victim and us, perhaps the most frustrating area occurs in medical malpractice. Let me begin by giving you these numbers: each year, we receive roughly 2,000 calls seeking help for injuries or death caused my medical malpractice. Of those 2,000 cases, we typically only take about 10. No, that is not a typo – approximately 10 each year. Why? Well, medical malpractice cases are extremely expensive to pursue. We must retain medical doctors to testify that the at-fault doctor was, in fact, at-fault. Often, we also must retain other medical doctors or experts to testify about the severity of the injuries and what care will be needed in the future to address them. In addition, medical malpractice cases almost never involve a single defendant because typically more than one person was responsible for the medical care (emergency room doctor, surgeon, nurses, etc.) All of the extra defendants require more depositions, motions, experts and the like. All of these things mean an enormous price tag to pursue the case and a lengthy litigation process for the attorneys but, more importantly, the clients. We are used to the stress and demands of litigation. We do it every day but most people are not. So at the end of the day, there has to be a strong likelihood that not only can you prove the case but also that there are enough recoverable damages to recoup the costs of going forward. All too often, there is not and it simply does not make sense to spend years in litigation only to end up with less than you have spent to proceed for a negative net gain.
At the Law Offices of John Day, we hate telling people we don’t think we can help them regardless of the reason. This is one of the reasons we offer a free consultation – so it does not cost you a penny to find out if we think you have a case that we can help with. If you would like a free consultation, all you have to do is call us at 615-742-4880 (Nashville ) or 615-867-9900 (Murfreesboro) or 866-812-8787 (toll-free).