Today at pricespin.net, we have a resource person who specializes in handling large cases in Houston. Rosenfeld a Houston personal injury attorney. And we’re talk about houston 18 wheeler accident lawyer, accident cases and some of the some of the big questions that we get from either our clients or potential clients about truck 18 wheeler accidents.
Yeah, it’s pretty cool. How long have you been practice in Houston personal injury law? I actually went to law school in Houston and ever since my first.
Opportunity as a law clerk I’ve been an involved in personal injury law. And when I became a licensed attorney in Illinois, I really enjoyed the work. So really it’s been for the past 12 or 13 years I’ve done exclusively personal injury law and you know of that I’d say a very significant percentage of my practice is related to different types of auto accidents truck 18 wheeler accidents today are a big percentage of my practice as they are for most personal injury attorneys. And then what.
What if the public may not quite understand the distinction when we talk about a personal injury attorney or a truck 18 wheeler accident attorney?
Is there a difference. It depends where you talked to. There are a lot of attorneys who sort of. You know in Illinois there’s no such thing as a specialization. So, any attorney in Illinois can handle any type of case.
And one of the things that I say is jack of all trades master and not so you know. Personal injury lawyers. You don’t handle the gamut of cases everything from slipping falls to. Work injuries to auto accidents. I think to the general public when you’re when you’re selecting an attorney.
The main thing that you want to be aware of is you want someone who has experience with your type of case be it a truck 18 wheeler accident case a nursing home case or whatever type a case that’s out there because its really personal injury does encompass so many different areas.
Right. Well one of the things that the public always likes to know and sometimes you even get this asked of you at the first interview with a client they want to know you know how much is my case worth.
Jonathan how do you make a determination. For. You know how much is a client’s case worth how much to ask for. What factors do you use what goes into that.
It’s an it’s a great question. You know there’s two things that I know that clients are always asking. They always ask of me or they’re always thinking in the back of their head and the first thing is how much am I going to get. And the second thing is when am I going to get it.
And if you’re injured in any type of accident those are very legitimate questions to have because every person who is involved in an accident of some sort has suffered some type of hardship. And in the in the scope of truck 18 wheeler accident cases I basically look at several different factors.
I look at first of all I look at tangible hard. Damages OK. I look at the medical bills that a person has. I look at the time that they’ve been off of work is this someone who’s a high wage earner you know if they’re a high wage earner and they’re off work for a number of months that wage loss can be very significant.
I look at you know. Their future medical needs. OK. And then I look at sort of the intangible damages. I look at is this an injury which they’re going to heal from.
Or is this an injury that’s going to be leaving them with some pain for the next six months or is this even a real serious injury that’s going to really cause them some hardship for the rest of their lives.
Those are two elements of damages that I look at and sort of the third factor that I look at which a lot of people are not aware of until after the fact is, I look at what type of insurance coverage is out there. How are we going to be able to recover for this person?
Is it? Are we going to be able to recover fully from the at fault party’s insurance? Or is this a situation where we may need to make what’s called in on an uninsured or underinsured motor claim with their insurance company.
Basically, you know you need to look at all these different elements to really fully evaluate a case and really give a reasonable explanation of the value of a case. You know I’m always hesitant to put a dollar figure on a case because there’s always variables that you encounter. During the various course of a case.
And you know my job is to sort of take those as they come. But certainly, there’s a lot of things and a lot of information that we can get from the outset that can give me a fairly good idea and I don’t mind sharing that with the client.
So, then the other question that you said that the clients ask a lot or potential clients is how long is this going to take. Addy What do you do. What’s an answer to that question?
You know that’s a hard thing to answer. But you know there’s certain things as an attorney that I can do to make the case move faster. And what I do and what my office really focuses on is we try to push people and encourage them to get the medical attention that they need when they need it.
You know it sounds you know sort of like a parental relationship where you’re pushing your child to go to a certain export or something like that. But I’ll tell you that having handled hundreds of and hundreds of auto cases that well who are generally happier in the cases that tend to get resolved quicker.
Are the people who follow their doctor’s instructions and getting to see the doctor when they need to. That’s one thing that’s very important and that can really speed cases along.
Another thing that you know that I try to do in my office I think is really good at is we get the medical records. You know we do what it takes to get those medical records as quickly as possible.
And the reason that that’s really important is because in order for the insurance company to really fully process and evaluate a case they need that information that’s contained in your in your medical records.
And so, what we do is we have a woman whose job is exclusively to order medical records and we have her do whatever it takes to get those records into our office as soon as feasible.
A lot of personal injury cases. It’s an it’s a progression. Every case you know there are certain steps that have to be followed in order to get the case from point A to Point B as a personal injury attorney who handle truck 18 wheeler accident cases. Our job is to make that transition from point A to Point B.
As smooth and as quick as possible and to get it done in a way to maximize the damages for a client. So those are the things that we do behind the scenes to position the case to be resolved. Unfortunately, even after we do those things not all cases can be resolved.
There are some cases that do require litigation and that’s fine that’s part of the you know that’s part of the deal here with auto cases in Houston . But Once we get that case signed that case up what we want to do is we want to try to position the case to get resolved or get that case in suit and get that lawsuit on file so we can move that case.
To a conclusion be a settlement or verdict as soon as we possibly can. Cases generally do not get better with age. What is the main factor that you look at in saying OK?
That now is the time for me to make a demand for settlement on this case.
Houston 18 Wheeler Accident Lawyer
That’s an interesting question. You know I think the most important thing that that I try to do is I try to get a really good feel of. How that client’s doing.
From a physical standpoint you know is this someone who’s really you know sort of on the mend and they’re sort of making nice progress in terms of healing whereas as someone who’s really hitting a lot of bumps in the road and you know it needs more medical attention you know they may need to see a specialist maybe they need a surgical procedure.
You know once you have a personal injury case that’s settled you can’t go back and you know go back to the insurance company and say hey you know what. I needed another surgery or Hey I needed this or I needed that.
So, it’s a responsibility of the personal injury attorney to really make sure that they have a full assessment of the clients at the client’s needs. Before they even consider trying to resolve the case. And so, what I do is you know a lot of times I’ll meet with a doctor I’ll meet with the client I’ll share medical records with them and we’ll make a determination together as to how they want to proceed a direction that’s really going to be best for that.
You know Jonathan I find that the thing that you just mentioned meeting with the doctor during the course of a person’s treatment is very unique. I know that most attorneys do not do that.
And It’s really not necessary and every case is case but it’s a great tool isn’t it in a complicated case or a very severe injury case. You know every single personal injury case you know the lawyer really has to have a full appreciation of.
The medicine involved and you know if I don’t have a full appreciation for the medicine for the type of injury for the type of medical treatment that my client needs or has gone through, I’m not going to be able to sufficiently.
Get that information across to the judge or to the jury or to the insurance adjuster who’s going to be making these decisions as to the value of my client’s case.
So, you know it’s something that my office does very regularly on significant injury cases of all different types. And I really think that it serves the client well.
The other thing that I will tell you is that the doctors are genuine are generally very receptive to having a lawyer get involved and really take an interest in the injury.
I’ve had a lot of doctors who have said to me during the course of a deposition or during a course of a trial you know how grateful they were that that we really got involved early on.
And you know I think it’s always. You know it’s someone who’s injured it’s always very important to earn the favor of your doctor. You really want that doctor to be an advocate for you.
And I’m not saying that this is you know the end all be all but certainly know when they see that you are genuinely interested and invested in a case that doctor is willing to probably go a little bit further than he or she would have had they not seen that interest level take.
I agree with your 100 percent. I just do that real quick. I had a case involving a reverse elbow transplant that I never had heard of before and heard that either. Well I went to the doctor’s visit with my client.
I don’t know if I followed the protocol that you use, I just showed up with my client and walked into the room like you know I’m her son or whatever. And again, the doctor in 30 seconds wrote on a piece of paper. The picture that explained to me what this reverse elbow transplant was.
And you know the client also is very grateful. When you do that, I’m sure you pick and choose. But I say that I commend you for that.
Now it’s great. We’ve all heard of and some it’s a kind of a couple part question. Going back to when we when we are ready to try to help the client resolve their client.
We’ve all heard of people who go to. That at least as attorneys the so-called settlement mills where these people are doing attorneys or maybe doing heavy advertising.
They’re running a lot of people through there. A lot of the injuries are neck and back. They could be strange they could they could end up being something more serious like a disk injury.
How does the public know? 1 1 they should get an attorney and 2. How to find the right attorney. That’s not a guy that just is going to push him out the door you know six months before their injury has matured.
If it’s a really good question you know big cities like Houston . There is a there’s a lot of attorneys out there and there are a lot of attorneys out there who may happily take your case.
I always suggest to clients who you know I get a lot of referrals from old clients and from another attorneys and. You know that’s really a for me.
That’s a great vote of confidence in the work that I’ve done and the work that I do. And I think it really sort of lends an element of comfort both on my level as well as the client’s early on.
Unfortunately not everyone has a friend or a colleague who’s an attorney and they sort of are left on their own to find an attorney frequently especially in a situation involving a personal injury case it’s usually after a traumatic event it’s after you know they may not be feeling well they may be coping with a real significant loss in the family.
There’s a lot of external stressors involved in terms of finding a lawyer. One of the things that I always suggest that people do is you know nowadays with the Internet there is a tremendous toolbox of resources out there.
For four prospective clients to research an attorney before they ever pick up the phone and call them. You can do your searches you can find an attorney who may have information on their Web site about your particular situation.
And while that’s helpful that’s really not the be all and end all. You then want to take that a step further you may want to research that attorney at certain Web sites or through your bar association to make sure that that attorneys have good standing.
And then I think that probably the most important piece of the puzzle is to pick up the phone and call that attorney’s office.
You know you’re going to be as a client you’re going to be doing that task. Many times, usually over the course of a long period. You know as is the attorney accessible is his staff responsive you know are, they returning your calls.
These are little steps early on that you know are usually a fairly good indicator of the type of office that is that attorney operates. Lastly I think the most important thing to do is to really sit down with that attorney either at his office or at your home or any location that’s comfortable for you and to sort of get a good feel for both that attorney’s experience from a professional standpoint but also really try to get a feel for that attorney as a person.
I think that you know clients really need to understand that the practice of personal injury law and truck 18 wheeler accident law is a lot more than just pushing papers and going to court.
There’s a lot of human interaction both amongst the clients the insurance companies you know other lawyers judges that clients really need to understand and appreciate from the get go.
They vote they need to understand that this is someone that they’re going to be working with for some time and there needs to be a level of comfort and trust from the get go.
Jonathan we’ve all had cases where you know it’s a Houston resident maybe they’re on vacation and. They get injured in.
Tennessee. And you know we’re in our little circle of legal trust and we’ve met through that and we have some. In seven or eight or nine states. We have some guys that we trust.
We know we would refer clients to. The circuit legal trust there’s no one in Tennessee so how would how would you go about if you have a client looking for an attorney Yourself.
That you’re going to end up in a co-counsel relationship you’re going to take truck 18 wheelere of the client there in Houston whatever the needs are but the case has to be dealt with let’s say it was Tennessee has to be dealt with in Tennessee because that’s where the accident happened.
What do you look for when you try to find an attorney? To co-counsel with.
You know that’s an interesting question. You know I do have you know having served clients you know over a fairly broad period of time.
I do get calls from you know ex clients or clients you know family members or something who may have been involved in an accident or they may be dealing with the situation out of state.
And the first thing that I want to do as an attorney is, I don’t even think about that from a business perspective. I think about that from you know. A general you know good guy human perspective.
I want that client or that that individual to be in the hands of someone who I know and who I trust and who I think your good things about. So, you know you know I’ll do a lot of legwork if someone calls me and they say hey I need an attorney in New York first of all I know quite a few attorneys you know out of state across the country who I’ve worked with on other cases before.
But if it’s a jurisdiction that I may not be familiar with a lot of times what I’ll do is the first thing I’ll do is I’ll go to my colleagues I’ll go to my group of five or 10 you know Attorney colleagues who may maybe positioned throughout the country and I’ll ask them you know who they know or who they like or who they trust.
And I’ll see what comes of that if that doesn’t work that I have access to several listens that I’m real active on and you know I still think that word of mouth even in the day of day and age of the internet word of mouth I think still goes quite a quite a long way.
So, you know if someone is involved in an accident you know. Out of state and they need an attorney. You know in whatever jurisdiction. I still welcome them to call me into you know ask me for sexual advice and input as to a local attorney.
I will and I genuinely say this I will take it upon myself to find an attorney who I would feel the same comfort level referring a family member to as I would you know a prospective client to me because I have seen firsthand how there are some attorneys out there who may not really be top shelf.
I really want to make sure that the people who come to me are placed in very good hands and real capable attorneys to avoid any kind of unfortunate situation where they may be disappointed down the road. And that’s something that I take very near and dear and you know.
I will really do whatever legwork it takes to find that attorney and if I’m not satisfied with the answers, I’m getting I’ll move on to the next. But I think as attorneys I think you would agree.
A lot of times we’re in a better position to evaluate someone than your average person who may not have that background and may not have that experience with these types of cases.
Well you know you made a lot of great points there. Go into colleagues and in fact that’s how I found an attorney in Tennessee. That. Was just unbelievable.
And I had also actually talked to I also look are they involved in their trial lawyer’s association in that area. And you know a lot of us. They’ve renamed the trial lawyers association the Association for Justice because we had such a bad connotation for trial lawyers and we kind of the way they kind of ran struck 18 wheelered and to me it’s still the Trial Lawyers Association and that’s what I call it.
And I know and I’m proud about it. But I spoke with one fellow who was the head both these guys were heads at one time and the one guy was struck 18 wheelered. Of the case. And this other guy was like You know it’s a tough case.
Bring it on. And that was the guy that my colleague recommended so I can see that the public if I have a little tough time if I don’t have a colleague even the public is going to have a tough time.
But you make a great point with the Internet there’s so much information out there they can see the attorney if there’s video they can read his resumé they could go to different sites.
There’s a lot of great stuff. One more question Jonathan because the lawyers are known to talk a lot for people. But I think this is one that’s really important.
A lot of people. Sometimes clients. And certainly, people insurance companies. Who try to poison the well say all personal injury is the lawsuit lottery baby you know you got hurt in a truck 18 wheeler wreck? Your yard your number is up and you got a license to get money. How easy is it. To get serious damages for personal injury. Is it a lawsuit lottery?
I wish and unfortunately it’s not you know every single you know you read about these cases out there you know these seven figure cases you know and whatnot behind I will tell you that you know having worked on and having tried you know some larger cases insurance companies today.
And juries today in particular in this economic climate where they do not you know throw money around like they may be perceived to be you know on the news you know for the most part you know every client who walks into a courtroom is there because they need some type of redress for their for their injuries for the wrongs for their loss whatever that reason is that they’re there not for fun not to win a lottery they’re there for you know to take truck 18 wheelere of something that that needs to be in that they’re entitled to be compensated for under the law.
So that perception that you know. Every person who’s involved in a in a medical malpractice case you know is a multimillionaire is really couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you look at the statistics roughly 80 percent of the medical malpractice cases that go to trial wind up with a verdict in favor of the doctor or medical institution.
These cases are you know if you’re if you just look at it from a business perspective as an attorney who’s bringing these cases you would be foolish and broke. If you were to file a lawsuit for every case that came into your office and that’s why you know one of the things that.
That I do and I know what you do and other attorneys do is you know you have to screen your cases you have to screen your clients from the beginning to make sure that you know that you have a case that you are committed to for the duration.
And I think from the client’s perspective it’s equally important you want to have an attorney who’s behind you who’s ready willing and able to take your case to trial and is really believes in you and your case to make sure that your case is really maximized and that you’re not really put in a position where there is a gamble.
You know truth be told I’m not much of a gambler. I like to pick cases that are really going to know that I’m going to be a be able to benefit the client and that really are going to pan out for everyone down the road.
Not only is it not good business it’s not good public relations for me to take a case and have an unhappy client. I would much rather have. Happy clients who are out there you know saying good things about my office than one or two clients who may be unhappy because I took a case that probably shouldn’t have been prosecuted from the beginning.
But I think overwhelmingly today I think we’re seeing that the cases that really do have merit. Those cases do tend to have value and I think the cases that may be if there are you know an iffy case.
I think people are smart enough today jurors’ judges are smart enough to really to see through some of that those things and really you know push those cases aside.
Well Jonathan I appreciate speaking with you today. We’ve been talking to Jonathan Rosenfeld a Houston personal injury attorney. We’ve been talking a lot about truck 18 wheeler accidents because that’s mostly what personal injury attorneys do and it’s what the public has a lot of questions in their mind.
But Jonathan I know does a wide range of personal injury work to get some great content on his Web sites nursing home neglect and abuse. Is one of the ones that he’s. I think he’s famous because I love to go there and see the stuff that he is.
So, you know I would I don’t want to give you a big plug but I would say if you’re hurt and Houston . I’m going to call Jonathan Rosenfeld. So, listen buddy thanks a lot for answering a question today.