Archive for Choosing A Lawyer

Justice Served! Firm successfully defends local business from $750,000.00 lawsuit

Last month, Jeremiah Hodges and Tim McFalls defended a local business who had been sued for $750,000.00 in damages. The case was tried for a week at the Madison County Courthouse. Ultimately, the jury returned a defense verdict on all claims made against the business. Additionally, the jury also awarded damages to the local business for the plaintiff’s tortious interference with the business’s contractual relationships. We appreciated the jury’s attentiveness to the case and were thrilled for the result for our clients.

An important lesson to be learned from this case is that sometimes it is better to spend a little money now on a lawyer to avoid spending more money later on a lawyer. The case centered around a contract that the business had chosen to draft for itself rather than hiring a lawyer to draft. While the contract was pretty well written for a layperson, there were some missing terms and ambiguities in the contract. These terms caused the business to incur legal expenses and spend time in litigation to prove the meaning of the terms and get full enforcement of the contract. If the business had hired a competent lawyer to draft the contract, it may have been able to avoid litigation and saved thousands of dollars in legal fees.  We see this not only in contracts but also in wills, bills of sale and other documents that are common for consumers to need.

It may seem expensive to hire a lawyer to prepare proper legal documents, it is much less expensive than hiring a lawyer having to litigate fix a poorly drafted legal document. Paying your lawyer to draft proper documents is an investment that will save you money in the future.

Disability: Do I NEED a lawyer?

I’m thinking about applying for Social Security disability, do I need a lawyer or should I do it myself? Will a lawyer take all of my benefits? How much does a lawyer actually do in a disability case?

 

We hear these questions all the time. The short answer is, it depends. Some people prefer to have a lawyer with them from the beginning of their case because they are afraid they might mess something up on their own. This is a legitimate fear. We handle many cases from the filing of the initial application because the online application is lengthy and can be difficult to use to someone unfamiliar with it. This is the safest action and one we always recommend. If you are approved, we generally won’t even generate a fee and just ask that you remember that we helped you and spread the word to others.

 

But if you are comfortable with filing your own application, then often times you can wait until your initial application is denied before hiring a lawyer. After your claim is denied, you really need a lawyer to navigate the appeals process and hearing before an administrative law judge. A competent lawyer can review and order additional records, can ask treating doctors for written opinions on your abilities, prepare a pre-hearing brief for the judge, and attend the hearing with you. So at this stage, a lawyer is essential to helping you win your disability claim. You’ve already been denied once, you need a lawyer to help ensure that doesn’t happen again.

The Backside of a Personal Injury Case

There are many things that distinguish our firm from others that say they handle personal injury cases.  One of the biggest is making every effort to maximize a client’s recovery.  Every personal injury lawyer wants to increase the overall recovery which increases the attorney’s fee.  Our firm works hard to recovery as much money as possible, but also to reduce the subrogation claims and medical liens.  We call it the “back side” of the case.  The picture you see here is a letter our office drafted to explain to the health insurance carrier in question why some of the treatment that the carrier claimed is not actually related.  This is tedious and time consuming work that some firms simply will not do.  This effort does not make our firm any money, but it helps increase the “take home” amount for the client.  Before you hire a billboard or TV lawyer, make sure you ask about how that firm handles the “back side” of your personal injury or car accident claim.

Choosing the Best Lawyer

Car Turn Signal

My granddaddy used to say the only thing a blinker meant for sure was that the taillight bulb worked. I didn’t realize it, but he was teaching me not to assume that just because the blinker was on that the driver would turn.

Hiring a lawyer only because you see him or her on a billboard is assuming that that lawyer is qualified. All a billboard proves is the last month’s billboard invoice is paid. Don’t trust billboards and blinkers, you might end up with a mess on your hands.

If you trust that the driver is front of you is going to turn just because the blinker is on, you might get hurt in a wreck. If you trust that a lawyer will do a good job because of a billboard, you might find yourself stuck without the help you need.

Make sure you hire based on qualifications, experience, and results, not billboards.

Are TV lawyers charging unethical fees?

The following is an excerpt from an actual TV personal injury lawyer’s fee agreement or contract.

 Reduction of Medical Bills. Liens and Subrogation Amounts. The parties agree that upon Client’s consent, Attorneys will attempt to mitigate all medical bills and subrogation amounts due and owing. Any resultant savings will be divided between Client and Attorneys.

 Translation: After TV lawyer settles your case (because we know he or she won’t go to trial), said TV lawyer’s staff will attempt to negotiate down your medical or subrogation expenses.  Per the agreement, TV layer gets ½ of any savings.

 The Alabama State Bar has now banned this practice because, essentially, TV lawyer was getting paid twice on the same dollars.  If your lawyer has to be regulated by the Alabama State Bar to keep from ripping you off, do you really think that lawyer has your best interest at heart?  If you prefer lawyers whose trial skills are superior to their jingle writing abilities, call Hodges Trial Lawyers.