- posted: Jan. 09, 2024
TV advertising lawyers say “call us and we will tell you how much money you can collect”. I guess you can say anything if you don’t mind lying. Lawyers, like politicians, take an oath, but unfortunately not all lawyers, or politicians, are honest. Logically, how can a lawyer know what the police and medicals reports will say, let alone what future medical symptoms you will experience?
Jacoby and Meyers no longer has the 2 named partners, as they sold their firm name to other lawyers. That’s not to say that some of the lawyers there are bad. Some are good trial lawyers, however, I think it is important to be transparent with a client.
Two cases can have $10,000 in medical bills, and one can be worth a little more than $10,000, and another can be worth a million dollars.
If you go to the hospital right after the accident and have $10,000 of imaging within an hour, that naturally is not worth as much as someone with $10,000 of physical therapy for a year.
A $5,000 amputated leg bill, is worth more than $5k in x-rays and CT’s on the accident day. Realistically, how can a lawyer project the length of treatment, or what injuries may surface in the future. If after treatment you are still hurting, that is a different case from a patient who recovers.
What about Loss of Earnings (LOE)? Are you going to lose an hour or so for every PT treatment. Obviously, that is not worth as much as someone who is out of work for weeks or months, because of the injury. Some accident victims lose their job and can never return or have to be retrained.
Many things can’t be learned on day 1. For instance, has the accident decreased the value of your car? The Diminished Value (the decreased value of a car following an accident and repairs ) and Loss of Use (which is the cost to rent a similar car while your vehicle is being repaired) are recoverable. Yet some lawyers don’t focus on this, because they don’t take a percentage of the property damage.
Many injuries don’t surface for months. I had a case where my client, a 50 year old Palm Desert mother, had a daughter at UCLA. The mother had a parakeet she loved almost as much as her daughter. One day the daughter came into my office with her mom and I asked how mom was doing. The mom said fine and the daughter interjected, mom you forgot to feed “tweetybird”. The accident had caused mom to forget about her beloved bird, who died in the cage from starvation.
Having attended seminars on Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), I understood how mental injuries can be as serious as physical. How can a lawyer know on day one what treatment will be necessary …and whether the client will recover. The answer is simple, they can’t. Yet, in order to get new biz, some lawyers will say anything. I won’t!
I feel terrible when a caller wants a legal answer I can’t give over the phone because I need more information. They want me to represent them, but I don’t get the case because I won’t lie to them. They wouldn’t expect a doctor, or contractor to quote a price for representation, without meeting the patient or customer in person, but somehow a lawyer is often thought of differently.
I feel sick when I don’t accept a PI/DUI case, and it is hard for most callers to understand why. We focus on successfully resolving our client’s legal problems with the best results possible. However, we have to consider how much money will be spent to recover a nominal claim. Lawyers traditionally get 33%, however, because of the costs, there is no money left for the injured plaintiff. I don’t want a case when I know the client will not be happy. I prefer rejecting cases, rather than having a future unhappy client. I don’t need the money that much to take advantage of clients.
The bottom line, an accident victim deserves an experienced lawyer who has “their” best interest at heart. My goal is to always keep the client first.
Dale Gribow, attorney at law, a well-respected “Boutique Concierge” Palm Desert firm, representing the Critically Injured and Criminally Accused (DUI) for 50 years, has received over “20 TOP LAWYER AWARDS”; “4 DALE GRIBOW DAYS”; “8 MAN OF THE YEAR AWARDS” (City of Palm Desert, City of Hope and California Senate)…and awarded “MR. CHARITY.”