ReferralsOne incident can often give rise to multiple legal claims.
Over the years, I have referred hundreds of clients to different attorneys for assistance with a legal claim. Sometimes, one incident can give rise to multiple legal claims.
Example Personal Injury Claim
Let’s start with a person injured by a negligent truck driver. Our office would handle the negligence claim against the truck driver, his employer and/or the owner of the truck. Arising out of the one collision could be numerous other claims:
- Workers compensation if the injured person was on the job at the time of the collision. The Workers Compensation Bureau is outside of the court system and there are attorneys that primarily handle Workers Compensation claims.
- Social Security Disability. If the person was severely injured, they may never be able to return to employment again. In that case, the person may apply for Social Security Disability benefits. If the claim is denied, the injured person may need an attorney to represent their interests in the Disability claim. Again, Social Security Disability claims are outside the regular court system.
- Probate Law. On occasion, the injured person dies as a result of the injuries caused by a trucking collision. In those instances, a probate estate must be opened to obtain damages on behalf of the decedent. An estate must be opened in the Probate Court which is distinct from where most civil cases are filed.
- No-Fault claims. Our office handles these on behalf of the injured party. They are for economic losses such as: wage loss; payment of medical bills; household services (cleaning a home); Attendant Care (for personal needs or something a nurse might perform), prescriptions; medical mileage; or home modification.
Attorneys tend to focus on one area of the law, so they can become proficient. Below, are types of cases that our office generally refers to other attorneys for further legal representation:
Bankruptcy. In light of the present tough economic times, this area is becoming more common. When an individual or corporation run into financial hardship they may be forced to file for bankruptcy. This proceeding only takes place in Federal Courts and a person should hire an attorney familiar with the process.
Contracts and Corporations. A corporation must be represented in court by an attorney. An owner or officer of a company may not represent the corporation. Many disputes arise out of contracts. They may be for goods, products or services.
Criminal Law. This covers a wide range from traffic tickets, misdemeanors, drunk driving, and major felonies. Our office would certainly refer a client to a different attorney for a murder case than a speeding ticket.
Divorce. This can include custody hearings as well. Most counties separate their domestic cases from other civil cases. In some counties, there are Family Law judges that do not hear other types of disputes besides divorce.
Eminent domain or Condemnation. A very specific area of the law where the government decides it needs private property for a public purpose. Perhaps, a freeway is being constructed and the government plans to access private land.
Employment Law. Most employees are at-will employees and can be fired for any reason other than an improper cause. Under Michigan law, it is illegal to discriminate against an individual with respect to employment, compensation, or a term, condition, or privilege of employment, because of: religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, or marital status.
Job site or construction injuries. A person injured at a work site certainly could have a Workers Compensation claim. In addition, there may be a claim against the general contractor who created an unsafe environment.
Immigration. A person could have trouble with a visa or citizenship. In some cases, criminal charges can result in an immigration problem.
Legal malpractice. This involves suing an attorney for mishandling legal representation in a claim. These can be complicated. You must prove two things: 1) the attorney committed legal malpractice and breached the standard of care. The simplest example is failing to timely file a lawsuit. 2) You must prove the underlying case would have been successful. For example, if an attorney does not file a medical malpractice claim in time, the injured party must also prove the medical malpractice claim would have been successful.
Medical malpractice. When I was a new attorney I handled medical malpractice claims. They can be expensive because each case requires expert testimony to demonstrate that the physician breached the standard of care. One case could cost up to $10,000 in expert fees to determine if there is a viable medical malpractice claim.
Medical professionals. Physicians and pharmacists can be charged or investigated for Medicare fraud, Medicaid fraud, or opioid prescriptions. This is a very narrow area of the law and often times it can overlap with criminal law. There are attorneys that will assist medical professionals in their battle to maintain their medical license.
Mesothelioma. This is a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The companies that manufactured asbestos have formed a large settlement fund to compensate victims of mesothelioma via exposure to asbestos. The attorney must demonstrate where and when the person was exposed to asbestos whether it was at work, on a ship or other location.
Premises claim. This can be an injury caused by slipping on black ice or stepping into a pothole allowed to remain on the premises. The open and obvious doctrine is favorable to the defendants. Other claims, such as falling merchandise are more favorable to the injured person.
Probate Law. This covers a wide range. A probate attorney can draft a will or set up trusts and other instruments to avoid probate taxes. A probate attorney may establish a guardianship (to take care of someone) or a conservatorship (to manage someone’s money), the two often go together. In a wrongful death lawsuit, an estate is opened to pursue an injury claim.
Social Security Disability. Injured persons can apply for a governmental benefit of Social Secuiry Disability benefits. Many people apply and are denied benefits. Hiring an attorney to appeal that decision and attempt to obtain disability benefits is the proper course of action.
Tax Law. Sometimes a tax problem is more complicated than simply hiring an accountant.
Workers Compensation. This is an injured person’s exclusive remedy for work related injuries caused by a co-worker or employer. A person can receive lost wages and payment of medical bills. A person cannot sue their own employer or co-worker. However, a person can have a Workers Compensation claim as well as another injury claim. Think of a person delivering a package that is bit by a dog where the package is being delivered. The injured person can have both a Workers Compensation claim as well as a dog bite claim against the owner of the dog.