This one may get ugly…it’s the personal saga of yours truly as I embark on the process of hiring the right personal injury attorney—for real! The attorneys I’m reaching out to do not know I work for a legal news website. So I’ve got no special “in” here and will live this process just as everyone who clicks that “submit claim” button does. Only, to be fair, I’m not submitting a claim here, where I work. Ready to come along for the ride?
It happens. One day, you say the words, “Maybe I should talk to a lawyer.” There’s an uneasiness in your stomach as the words flow from your lips. But you’ve reached that point where, for whatever reason, you need—and are ready to pursue—legal help.
You might think your next step would sort of be like what you’d do if, instead, you had said something like, “Guess I need to get the car checked.” No. That would be too easy: Pick up the phone. Schedule a time to bring the car in. Done. A pain in the a$$, but easy.
No. When you need to find a good lawyer, you start to feel more the way Rose might in a Dr. Who episode—you know, the parts when she’s all like “But why Doc-tuh?…Doc-tuh?…Doc-TUH?!?” And there’s Rose standing helpless and clueless in the middle of some street while “Doctuh” has disappeared.
And I’m not talking about trying to find your run-of-the-mill divorce lawyer or the lawyer who writes up your will. No disrespect to those folks—but their work, while important and at times quite messy, is pretty straightforward. You know the end goal and pretty much how to get to it. And, chances are, you can get a few good referrals right from your circle of friends. No, I’m talking about needing a personal injury attorney. Things start to get murky when you’re in the land of “harm”, “damages”, “wrongdoing”, and the ever-popular “pain and suffering”.
So here I am, muttering that “get a lawyer” phrase and…I’m stymied. Yep. Don’t know where the hell to start. And here’s the part I want y’all to remember: I WORK IN THE LEGAL INDUSTRY. So for those of you who do not, and who are either on this journey or have been on it, please know I have no special “in” that I’m using and yes, I really am feeling your pain. Really.
Now, before you even get to picking up your mobile to dial 1-800/888/877/866-INJURY-NOW or whatever cute & catchy vanity phone number you saw as you blew by that billboard on Route You-Name-It, you hesitate. You don’t even know if you SHOULD call an attorney, right?
Maybe you’re overreacting. Being a bit prickly. A wuss. After all, people (the media?) always tend to show potential plaintiffs in the worst light: we’re all opportunists (hot coffee lawsuit anyone?). Or, we just don’t suck it up. So there’s that stigma to reconcile with yourself at the outset. And let’s face it, most people really don’t want to be litigious. It’s too…confrontational.
Then, there’s all that imagery of advanced learning—framed certificates of this or that, suits & ties, mahogany everywhere and built-in bookcases with series upon series of books that all have that same monotonous red & gold leaf binding. Who are these people? And who the hell wears a suit all the time anymore?
It’s off-putting. You feel self-conscious, insignificant, daunted and on the defensive before you’ve even opened your mouth or shaken any hands. Why is it that those legal help billboards scream “Come On In!” and yet for some reason you still don’t feel that welcome feeling? As someone whose background is in marketing—yea, I drank the “consumer’s always right!” kool-aid and am a strong believer in transparency—if I had the option to shop elsewhere for legal help—for example, maybe my mother-in-law who’s been known to put up a good fight (and has no problem stating her mind) would like to represent me. I’d get her on contingency. But there’s that lousy requirement about being admitted to the bar. Excuse me, The Bar.
So here we go. I’ve weighed the pro’s and con’s—as much as I know of what those could possibly be—and I’ve decided to go for it. I’m going to find an attorney! I’m going to right the wrong!
Not so fast.
You thought you’d walk into the lawyer store and pick one off the shelf, eh? Thought they’d have your fit, size and color right there for the taking? Silly you. Well, actually, not silly you–after all, that’s sort of how you find a doctor, right? You figure out what part of you ails and you get a doctor who works on that part.
Ahh, but just try to let your fingers do the walking in the Yellow Pages (online edition, of course) for a lawyer, it’s not like they’re listed by the lawsuits they work on. Go ahead and see for yourself. Search for “lawyer” and you’ll be given some options to further filter your search. One of those options is “Personal Injury Attorney”. Think you’ve found your match? Think again!
No—the lawyer who argues the case about Yaz birth control is NOT the same guy (or gal, we don’t discriminate here) who argues your wrongful termination case and is NOT the same guy/gal who even might argue your egress/regress employment issue! And see—I’ve already started with the jargon—WTF is egress/regress?!? (Yes, I know what it is…I’m making a point.)
That will be your first surprise. Which you won’t necessarily know unless you actually MAKE CONTACT with someone at the law firm you’re trying to connect with, and they tell you in so many words that you’ve got the wrong address (aka, the proverbial “I don’t really handle those cases” line that tells you you’re not welcome there, but does not quite tell you where you should be.)
Frustrated yet? And you’ve only just begun (nod to The Carpenters).
So, first, you need to know what your problem is. It’s not all that difficult, but no one REALLY explains that well up front. So, if it’s employment-related, you need an employment lawyer (in your state of employment, I might add). If it’s a medical device problem, you need a medical device attorney. Tracking with me? Good.
So that’s where I am in this process. I’ve figured out my problem, figured out the kind of attorney I’m looking for, and now I’ve started to reach out to them. IMPORTANT NOTE: The easiest/best thing for me to do would be to submit a claim form to request legal help right here on LawyersandSettlements.com (shameless plug)—after all, my claim would go to at least three good lawyers—shotgun style! I like that! But, again, that would be too easy and I don’t sh*t where I eat… So I’m out on the “open market”, so to speak.
I won’t name names throughout this process. But come along with me and we’ll share our pain. And we’ll ask the question (quite often I might add): Why is it so hard to find a lawyer? And maybe, just maybe, we’ll make it better somehow.
At LawyersandSettlements.com, we often interview subject matter experts—both attorneys and non-attorneys—for insight on current mass tort litigation. Many of the attorneys we interview are those we run into at conferences such as Mass Torts Made Perfect and the Annual AAJ convention. If you’re an attorney with specific practice area expertise and you’d like to be interviewed by our journalists, we’d like to hear from you. Simply contact us at Interview@LawyersandSettlements.com, or call us at 888-881-7330.
Interviews at LawyersandSettlements.com are a great way to help spread the word on, and keep the general public informed about, important cases you’re working on—while boosting online visibility for you and your firm.
Why try to brush that bad rap under the carpet when you can capitalize on it—by serving ads for your law firm up to it!
Well, it probably wasn’t the intent of Florida attorney Thomas Lewis Edwards. Heck, he had nothing to do with it really—just a matter of whatever ad company he’s using serving up ads based on web searches for his name.
See, Edwards had the misfortune of being criminally charged with drunk driving and allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident. Not usually good PR for an attorney. (Note: Edwards is criminal defense attorney.) And, after he posed for the in-house photographer—styled in emerald green stripes (a look that not everyone can pull off, mind you), his mugshot made it online.
From there, thanks to the logic built into the ad server, voila—the ad for his law firm appeared right next to his mugshot. Needless to say, once picked up by Gawker, Reddit and ABA Journal, it went viral. Talk about an endorsement!
The one who’s not mentioned in this but who sort of reaps some collateral damage out of it is Edwards’ partner, Geoffrey Mason. Guessing there were a couple of awkward moments and closed-door sessions at the firm once the screenshot went viral.
According to the Gainesville Sun, upon being asked about the irony of the situation, Mason took in stride and replied, “It is what it is.”
Yeah, it is.
Medieval Times may not be your #1 honeymoon destination. Oh, there’s courtly love and Chippendale’s-worthy guys—er, knights—riding around on horses and jousting over something or other. Hey, there’s even falconry (whatever that is). But there are also no utensils with which to dine—and horses kicking up dust as you’re trying to dig into the grub. Honey, let’s go there!
That’s exactly what newlyweds Dustin and Melissa Wiseman did last year in Buena Park, CA—and they bought VIP seats. Who knows what prompted them to go except for the fact that there is no Medieval Times in their home state of South Dakota. So maybe there was no one at home to forewarn them about the no-forks thing or to toss a sarcastic “Seriously?” at them upon hearing of their dinner show plans. Regardless, up for a just-married good time, they went.
Should’ve been a terrific show—except Dustin Wiseman wound up going blind in one eye. And now there’s a Medieval Times injury lawsuit. How? Read on.
Over dinner the Wisemans were enjoying the brave—epic!— battle that was unfolding before their eyes. At one point, two jousting knights had at it right in front of their front row seats. The next thing they knew, as titanium swords clashed and sparked before them, some flaming shards went airborne. One of those shards allegedly flew off one of the swords and hit Dustin Wiseman directly in the eye, tearing his cornea and lens and injuring his retina in multiple places.
Needless to say, honeymoon over. The Wisemans wound up at the hospital and Dustin has since had multiple surgeries on his eye. Even with the surgeries, he remains legally blind in one eye.
The lawsuit, Dustin and Melissa Wiseman v. Medieval Times Entertainment, Inc., was filed in Orange County Superior Court (Case No. 00582195) and is seeking damages of over one million dollars. The Wisemans are represented by R. Rex Parris law firm.
Final note: a quick check on the Medieval Times website provides this as an enticement…
“Surrender to an age of bravery and honor and witness epic battles of steel and steed during our ALL-NEW SHOW. From ringside seats, discover a feast of the eyes and appetite with more action, more fun & more excitement than ever before.”
Shouldn’t that be a feast for the eyes?
Sadly, Dustin Wiseman now knows all too well that the evening should’ve been for his eyes, not at the expense of them. Maybe next time a little troubadour action would suffice.