I remember it like it was yesterday. It was Saturday, October 13, 2001. I was riding in a car, heading out for a bite to eat with my law school roommate and her boyfriend, when I received a telephone call that would forever change my life.
On the other end of the line was a woman who identified herself as a nurse at Slidell Memorial Hospital. According to the nurse, my father was in the Emergency Room after being involved in a car accident. I immediately asked if my father was okay. The nurse explained that my dad was banged up but was fine. I then asked the nurse if she had been able to contact my mother to let her know about the accident and my father’s condition. The nurse said I should speak to my dad and handed him the phone.
My dad came on the line. He was shaken and could barely speak. I asked him if he was alright. He said yes. I then asked if the hospital had been able to reach mom. Crying, my dad indicated that my mom had been with him at the time of the accident, and that she was “gone.” My stomach dropped. I immediately rushed to the hospital to be with my dad.
As a friend drove me, a million thoughts ran through my mind. One thought was that maybe my dad was mistaken. Maybe my mother was badly hurt, but was still alive. Maybe dad did not realize this because he was hurt and confused and simply could not remember or just did not know for sure.
At the time, I was a Reserve Deputy Sheriff in St. Tammany Parish. I reached out to those I knew at the Sheriff’s Office for help. One particular Deputy I called, Patrick McCormick, not only left a cart full of groceries in the store to rush to the hospital and check on/be with my dad, he contacted dispatch who advised there were no fatal accidents “working” at that time. Hearing this, I began to think positive thoughts. However, when I arrived at the hospital, a Mississippi State Police vehicle was parked outside of the Emergency Room. My dad was not mistaken. The Trooper confirmed that my parents had been in in an accident on I-10 in Hancock County, and my mother had passed.
After my mother’s funeral, we began receiving calls from the insurance company. As a second year law student, I was viewed as the “lawyer” in the family, and tasked to deal with them. In my initial discussions with the adjuster, we were offered little. Apparently, in the insurance company’s opinion, the life of a stay-at-home mother of three adult children had minimal value. This despite the fact my mother never missed a little league game, school function, Boy Scout meeting, etc. in her life, and continued to provide emotional support and advice to my brothers and I until the day of her death.
Stressed by the loss of my mom and the normal issues associated with law school, I turned to two Loyola Law alumni known for their personal injury work. Although liability/fault was not an issue in the case, each attorney quoted a 40% fee to handle the matter. I was shocked. This did not sit right with me. While an attorney certainly deserves to be compensated for his/her skill and the time spent advocating on his/her client’s behalf, 40% seemed out of line with the facts of this case (no liability issues, plentiful insurance), and just did not seem fair.
Having personally experienced the stress associated with an auto accident, the loss of a loved one, and the haggles of a large insurance company seeking to pay a little as possible, I have committed and made it my mission to help people injured in car, truck and motorcycle accidents receive more of the compensation they deserve. Additionally, in an effort to allow my clients to keep more of their compensation and use it to further their individual healing or lives (e.g., grief counseling, replacement of lost income, educational funds for children, etc.), I have decided to buck the “traditional” personal injury fee structure in Louisiana (33% contingency fee before suit is filed, 40% if after), and charge my clients less.
To this end, it is the policy of my firm that if we are able to resolve a client’s claim without need for filing suit, our fee is only 30% of the gross recovery amount. If we must file suit our fee is only 37%*. I can tell you from personal experience, this is much lower than what many other Louisiana personal injury and/or auto accident firms charge.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, our firm would be honored to assist you with the matter. If selected as your attorneys, know that our representation of your interests will be guided by our Firm’s Core Values: Dedication to Client Service, Truth, Continued Learning, Genuine, and Compassion/Empathy.
Please feel free to call our office at (504) 264-5587, or submit an online inquiry via the form on our website today. A member of our team will ensure you receive the WOW legal and customer service you deserve all the while charging you less. This is my promise to you.
Material presented on www.magnesslaw.com is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended as professional advice and should not be construed as such. Any unauthorized use of material contained herein is at the user’s own risk. Keith Magness is licensed to practice law before all Louisiana state and federal courts including the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal. To learn more about Attorney Keith Magness click here.
* Should we be able to resolve your car accident claim before filing suit, our firm limits its fee to 30% of the gross amount collected. If suit must be filed, our fee is 37%, which is still less than the “traditional” fee charged by many Louisiana personal injury law firms. The fee will not increase any more even if we have to take the case to trial.
* Please note that in addition to the agreed upon contingency fee, should we collect money on your behalf via settlement or judgment, you will be liable for costs and/or expenses. These sums will be subtracted from your portion of the settlement proceeds and will be identified on a settlement statement provided to you. Click here to learn more about the fees charged by our firm.