Lawyer Up!

After returning from the set of ABC’s The Bachelorette, Kelley/Uustal’s newest trial attorney, Josiah Graham, shares his expert legal advice about what for many is the most difficult time of their life.

Q: How do you choose the right personal injury lawyer?

A: Never make a hasty decision when choosing the right lawyer. Selecting the appropriate counsel is the most important decision you will have to make when confronted with a personal injury matter. It is vital to make this decision right because there are many laws that govern personal injury. For example, the statute of limitations governs when someone can no longer file a lawsuit. There are times where sloppy lawyers have missed this deadline based on a misinterpretation of the law and the client ultimately suffers by having their case dismissed. Additionally, a good lawyer can decide what type of claim to bring and against whom it should be brought. Imagine this: You are a truck driver working for a major retailer delivering packages. Your co-worker in the passenger seat is intoxicated and accidentally grabs your steering wheel and the truck drives off of the road. If you are injured in this accident, the right lawyer would be able to decide who exactly should be sued— The passenger? The truck manufacturer? The person that supplied the alcohol? Or the major retailer? And would you be prohibited from suing the major retailer and the passenger because of the Workers’ Compensation statute that governs “on the job” injuries?

    These are all intricate questions that many lawyers do not know how to answer. The right lawyer would be able to research the possibilities and restrictions of suing each party. This is why vetting the lawyer and thoroughly researching his/her credentials is imperative! Many lawyers take the easy way out and go after the most convenient defendant.

Q: What advice do you give most often in regards to a vehicle accident?

A: Never, under any circumstance, should you settle a case without legal representation. Insurance companies are not your friends! After an accident, first, call 9-1-1 and then make sure to secure legal counsel. There are plenty of times where an injured person is entitled to much more money than the insurance company offers them but they are ill informed of their rights. An insurance company is far more likely to provide their full policy limit to an injured party that is represented by an attorney than to someone unrepresented. Don’t be so quick to settle a case or suspicious and untrusting of lawyers to the point where you forego legal representation and confront a giant insurance corporation on your own. Insurance companies hire big law firms to represent them and one injured person is no match for their enormous power. Be smart and seek out an attorney before negotiating your claim. This will make a huge difference!

Q: What should I do if a family member suffers a catastrophic death?

A: No one wants to think about a family member passing away in a catastrophic way. Yet this happens every single day and people are left wondering what to do. The right attorney will guide you through this difficult time and devote his efforts towards making sure your awarded justice no matter how long it takes. The most rewarding moment of my career was trying a very difficult case with Kelley/ Uustal attorneys, Eric Rosen and Kimberly Wald. The plaintiff was an 80-year-old woman with a 6th-grade education. Her husband died 25 years prior by the hands of one of the largest tobacco corporations in America. He too had a limited education. This case was in litigation for some time and many thought that the jury would not award any money to this elderly woman after her entire family was depicted in a very negative manner. However, after 25 years, and at the conclusion of a two-week trial, the jury awarded her $4 Million. This showed me that no matter your background or life experience, a jury will listen closely to the facts and ultimately justice will prevail.