By Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney, Bradley L. Kenny, Esq.

Often people are too immersed in their daily lives to take a look at their situation and ask the obvious question–how did I get here? As a practicing attorney, it is more important to begin a relationship with a client than to end one. In other words, how does one effectively screen clients without turning away good business?

“Joe” came into my office to inquire about an accident that he just had. He was injured and felt that he needed an attorney to make sure that the “damned insurance company pays a lot of money.” Of course, this conversation should have set up warning signs that the potential client is more interested in money than in recovering from his injuries. But, in my defense, I try and help everyone who needs assistance. We do not advertise on television, radio or billboards. Someone had to have sent Joe to our office following his accident as we receive most of our referrals from former clients.

There is an old adage that you serve others by saying no. If one were to take the saying to the next logical level, it would be that you serve yourself and others by saying no. Anyway, as Joe continued to talk about his injuries and accident, it became abundantly clear that our firm would not be able to satisfy him because no amount of money would be enough to compensate him for his injuries. Money will not bring back your limb or restore your lost vision or a host of other problems that you may encounter, I told him, but the more that I tried to get him to see another attorney, the more Joe was chomping at the bit to sign up with our firm.

One week before I was to begin my first year in law school, I was in St. Germain, which is located near Lake Superior in upper Wisconsin. While diving in the water, I struck a rock and broke my neck. I was airlifted by helicopter on a flight-for-life to Milwaukee where I underwent spinal fusion surgery. The surgeon removed part of my hip and fused it with the bones in my neck. I was in a body cast for a few months following this ordeal. The law school deferred enrollment for one year. From personal experience, I know about devastating injuries. Thankfully, Joe did not have a serious injury. In any event, I reluctantly agreed to help Joe with his accident claim. As I look back now, I knew that it was trouble from the inception. Joe started calling my office daily for status updates. He kept asking how much money he was going receive.

A few weeks into his claim, Joe’s doctor called my office to tell me that Joe had been missing his appointments, but Joe would call the doctor and tell him to make it look as if Joe had been there. At this point, I called Joe to verify the information. He stated unabashedly that absolutely he told the doctor to put him down for a few more visits–“counselor, the more money for you is the more money for me.” I told him that I do not conduct business in this fashion and that I would be resigning from his case. Joe was absolutely flabbergasted. How could I withdraw from such a great case, wherein I knew that I would be making money?

Of course my firm resigned from representing Joe, but I am still amazed at the lengths to which people will avoid being honest. I knew in my heart of hearts that I should have stuck with my initial belief that our firm was not the right one for Joe.

The lesson, of course, is to avoid the mountain. It’s much easier to avoid the mountain before you start climbing it. Once the climb begins, it’s much harder to get back down. In Joe’s case, I had to notify the appropriate insurance companies that I no longer represented his interests. I had to notify the medical providers, and I had to notify Joe that I was indeed resigning. I had to mail out registered letters and so forth. A lot of money and time were wasted because I thought that I was bigger than the mountain.

When you leave our firm, the last thing you will read on our sign in our lobby is “thank you for allowing us the opportunity to serve you.” We work for you and always will, but we will not be involved in any fraudulent activity. We are extremely proud of our history of helping people and proud to call Las Vegas home.

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