NOT Hiring a Lawyer Can Be Expensive

Robert Edwards Dec. 2, 2013

Last week one of my fellow trial lawyers was sitting in court in Ramsey County waiting for his case to be called. Ahead of him on the docket was a case involving a little boy who was seriously injured in a car accident. He suffered a broken thumb and a nasty gash on his head which could still be seen through his hair a year after the crash. The little boy had no lawyer. His mother had agreed to a settlement with the insurance company for the driver responsible for the crash. The insurance company sent their lawyer, along with mom and the little boy, to court to get approval. Because there was no one representing the little boy the court went ahead and approved a $2500 settlement. In the opinion of my friend who was there, the case probably had a value of closer to $50,000.

Once a deal like this is done, getting it undone is extremely difficult. The courts have little sympathy for parents who try to do this on their own.The thing that I was most concerned about when I read my friend's email was the possibility that this little boy might have some sort of minor traumatic brain injury as well as the visible gash on his head. Mild traumatic brain injury can be very subtle, but very disabling at the same time.

A contractor I know puts the following at the bottom of his emails: "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional, try hiring an amateur." The quote is attributed to Red Adair, the famous Texan who made his living putting out the world's most dangerous oil well fires.