This is a quick post and more of a reminder than anything else. Before you hire your attorney check out their references. Avvo.com or other rating services are good to visit. But, you may want to go straight to the source. In other words, check out the state’s lawyer regulation office. In Wisconsin it is called the Office of Lawyer Regulation.
You can click on the link to see which lawyers currently have pending disciplinary matters pending. Also, you’ll be able to read decisions from the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
The PersonalInjuryLawyerMichiganBlog.com has a good post about talking with your soon-to-be personal injury lawyer. According to this blog here are a few things to watch for:
- Fees. How much is the lawyer going to take of the settlement? It shouldn’t be an excessive amount.
- Honesty. Do you get a sense he is over inflating your potential award settlement or chance of winning to get you as a client? Like the saying goes, if sounds good to be true if probably is. That’s not to say that you don’t have a good case, but an experienced lawyer knows that most companies won’t sit quietly by as you sue them. He or she should let you know honestly what to expect.
- Quality. Does your lawyer answer all your questions so that you understand them or do you feel rushed through? You want to work with someone who is willing to get all the details and to work with you to get what you deserve. You don’t want a lawyer with a thousand clients, giving a half effort because he’s happy if a few of the lawsuits get paid.
Believe me, if you go to your initial meeting with a personal injury attorney with a list of questions and a trusted friend or family member in tow it will be a good/productive meeting. I see it as refreshing not insulting.
Hiring a personal injury attorney is a big decision. Be sure to google search the attorney. Look up their rating, cases and lawyers in the office or office share.
The more information the better.
Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Shawano, Algoma, Kenosha and Wauwatosa.
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Either take less money or wait years until Allstate is forced to settle. That is what has been reported about Allstate’s claims practices. (Remember the ad: when you have Allstate Insurance you are “Always in Good Hands”).
Yesterday, I was talking with a friend whose client was hesitant to hire a personal injury attorney. Simply asking the powerful question, “Why?”
I think the answer to “Why hire an attorney” is answered in that story. It discovered a few things about Allstate’s injury claims:
First, the company evaluates claims with a computer program designed to reduce payouts by as much as 20 percent of what the company once paid for the same injuries.
Second, Allstate pushes policyholders to accept quick settlements without the help of lawyers. Policyholders who try to fight for more money face Allstate attorneys coached to refuse to negotiate and to drag out litigation.
A former Allstate attorney described their tactics:
They put pressure on people by establishing that they are a bully in the market.
I recommend you read the article or other blogs about the article. Many other insurance companies are now using Allstate’s computer program or programs just like it. If you have any questions about their tactics feel free to post a comment or contact me.
Don’t forget to read my previous post entitled “Why Hire a Personal Injury Attorney.”
Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in West Allis, Crivitz, Plymouth, and Germantown.
I previously wrote a post ending with a question for the blogosphere. The general question concerned the remedies involved when a hospital destroys medical records before the mandated 5 year holding period. Well, Michael Brown of Peterson, Berk and Cross emailed me with an answer:
A provider’s destruction of medical records would also violate HIPAA federal privacy law. Your client could file a HIPAA complaint to Dept of Health and Human services, but the best that will yield is a slap on the wrist to the provider, with no civil claim or damages.
If the records were destroyed at a time the provider should have reasonably contemplated litigation would occur (e.g. if a hospital destroys records of a patient who suffered injuries during a medical procedure and is likely to file a malpractice claim), there may be spoilage law that applies. In the federal context, you can check out the landmark Zubulake cases, which set forth serious standards and penalties for document retention. Keyciting the Zubulake cases may lead you to influential State law cases concerning spoilage.
Thanks for the answer Mike. I think there should be more someone could do when their medical records are lost or destroyed. Any legislators out there that can help us out?
I talked with one of my favorite clients today. At the end of our talk she said, “I have a professional question.” That’s when a lawyers ears perk up and you try to remember every class you ever took in law school. Who knows what topic is going to be discussed.
She asked about medical records. Her records were destroyed. She had the same primary doctor for years. That general practitioner retired. Her medical records were sent to another medical facility for ‘safe keeping.’ Well, they weren’t that safe because the facility destroyed them.
According to Wisconsin Administrative Code medical records must be “preserved” and “maintained” for at least 5 years. (See HFS 124.14(2)c)). But, what happens if the records are destroyed!
I’ll let you know the answer after I do a little research. If you know, please post a comment!
Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Sheboygan, Slinger, Pleasant Prairie and Wauwatosa.