A good lawyer can go a long way. On the other side of the coin, a bad lawyer can really hurt. Although we’d like to think our legal profession is full of hardworking, honest, upstanding people; the truth is (like any field) we have our high performers and our low performers.
When picking an attorney, be sure to do your homework. Picking the wrong attorney can cost you thousands, sometimes millions of dollars.
Although her name has been changed to protect those involved, the following recounts a real story that happened in New Jersey a little over 15 years ago. We had Dawn recount her horror story.
“My son was in a bad car accident about 15 years ago. In his normal walk to work, he had to cross a busy highway in Central Jersey. While he had completed this walk hundreds of times, that day there was an obstacle. The local prison decided to have its inmates picking up trash in the wide median.
As the see of orange jumpsuits expanded towards the cross walk where pedestrians frequent, my son attempted to avoid trouble by crossing further down the street. Having to balance his apprehension about crossing a busy highway with his need for safety, my son stepped out into the road and was struck by a car doing about 50 miles per hour.
In a pure act of God, he survived. He sustained major injuries, injured that would affect the rest of his life. After stabilizing him and returning my son home, we began investigate if we have a legal case. With a small fortune in medical bills, we were looking for some relief. This was before the internet became what it is today. I didn’t use Google to find our attorney, instead I took a recommendation from a friend.
We hired our first attorney, provided him a retainer, and he got to work. In the beginning, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. But after a few weeks, we’ve heard nothing. Wanting to check the progress of our case, I attempted to contact him.
I tried for two days in a row.
On the third day, at the risk of coming off as a crazy ex girlfriend, I called again. I got a receptionist that informed me my attorney was working on my case and would be in touch…
I was rushed off the phone, getting the feeling that the office was too busy to handle our claim…
About a week later, our legal savior surfaced (I say that sarcastically). At that time, we demanded to meet in person; face to face, in order to review the progress of our case.
Our attorney showed up to our house (my son was unable to leave his bed) an hour late. Just looking for answers, I didn’t fault him at the time for his lack of punctuality, I just wanted a glimmer of hope. Our hospital bill exceeded $300,000. Coming from modest means, there was no way I or my son could ever afford to pay that.
Our attorney shuffled through a large stack of papers, attempting to locate our file. We were one of many cases. As we reviewed the case, he clearly showed he didn’t have a firm grasp of the details of the case. At some points, I wondered if he even remembered anything about the case. To add insult to injury, for the length of our visit, he called my son by the wrong name. In pure embarrassment, I didn’t even correct him…
Over the course of the following months, I began to lose hope. Our attorney was hard to get in touch with. He lacked professionalism and bedside manners for what had happened. We ended up being told that there was no real case, and recovered nothing from the state or the driver. While I am unsure if this was justice according to New Jersey law, I sure do know this—picking a lawyer who is attentive and will give your case all his or her attention is paramount.
I’ve longed wondered if I would have enjoyed a different outcome should I have picked a better attorney… My son may have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because of a poor choice in legal representation.”
Picking a qualified, dedicated, and seasoned attorney can make all the difference. We’ve heard horror stories over the years, and will surely add this one to the list. While it is unclear if there was a case in the situation you read above, people have the right to a professional service. Many lawyers chose the profession as they are called to serve. At The Law Offices of Jerrod Paul, we believe in providing personal service. Our clients can reach us 24/7. We put our clients first every day. Should you have a legal matter that needs review, please give us a call.