Since when did the term “trial lawyer” conjure such negative emotion? Since when did business owners feel at odds with attorneys? Don’t they use attorneys, too?
If your mother or child was injured in an accident, would you not want the best representation possible? Would you not want aggressive, diligent, and competent counsel to assist your loved one?
What about an employee who was injured in a job-site accident? What about an employee injured in an accident completely unrelated to work? Is a healthy and happy employee a “good” employee?
For the past year (plus), I have had the opportunity to represent a fantastic person. She was severely injured in a car wreck (not related to her job) – broken and dislodged teeth, broken nose, and a neck that will not improve despite months of chiropractic care, physical therapy, orthopedic consultation and facet block injections. She is young, intelligent, and hard-working.
She lives well over an hour from her dentist, oral surgeon, doctors and surgical facilities – all of which are located in Shreveport/Bossier. She earns a low hourly wage. When she attends medical appointments, she misses work and does not get paid. This results in a lost wage claim to which she is entitled under the law.
To prove this lost wage claim to a liability insurer, my office uses a simple two-page form completed by the injured party’s employer (or the Human Resources or Payroll supervisor of larger outfits). We advised my client to broach this subject with her employer to see if he would be willing to fill out a form. My young, intelligent, hard-working client called my office this week to tell me her boss is not going to cooperate. He will not fill out any paperwork for a lawyer.
To which I say “fine.” Subpoenas for records and depositions work better than asking nicely. They are more time-consuming for all involved, but they are most definitely effective. The same folks who are uncooperative with a lawyer are often graciously compliant when Judges get involved.
My point is this: I am business owner. I am also an attorney. I have much in common with both groups, and see our mutual need for each other. I am not hostile to my local hardware store owner, nor do I think my local coffee shop owner is “out to get me” with a hot cup of coffee. I think my clients and my employees (not my bank account or advertising budget) are my strongest assets. I want to keep my clients happy. I want to keep my employees happy. Business runs very well as long as I never lose sight of these two things.
If you have an employee, and he works hard for your business, help him out when he needs it. If he is hurt in a car wreck, don’t assume that he and the lawyer are in cahoots to ensure that he misses as much work as possible to go to doctor appointments. The lawyer and your employee both have better things to do than to plot against you. Your employee would rather be healthy than hurt, he would prefer to earn money instead of miss out on wages, and would choose employment over the alternative.
You and your company have a vested interest in keeping a happy and healthy employee around to do the work of your business. As always, it’s as simple as treating others the way you would wish to be treated.