My North Carolina Law License that hangs on my office wall indicates that I am admitted to practice as an “ATTORNEY AND COUNSELOR AT LAW” in the courts of North Carolina, and that phrase is bold and capitalized. When I am asked what I do, however, I generally say that “I am an attorney who helps individuals injured in some type of motor vehicle accident through no fault of their own, and I handle their claims with the insurance company of the driver at fault.” I have represented a number of motorcyclists over the years throughout North Carolina. So, when I am speaking with a motorcyclist or talking to a motorcycle organization, I will usually refer to myself as a “motorcycle accident attorney who helps motorcyclists injured in motorcycle accidents through no fault of their own, and I handle their claims with the insurance company of the driver at fault.” But, no matter whether the case involves a motorcycle accident, scooter accident, car accident, truck accident, pedestrian accident, or bicycle accident, I do not add “counselor at law” to describing who I am or what I do. Also, I am sure that if somebody asks a client of mine who is their attorney, their response is “Gary Poole is my attorney” and not “Gary Poole is my attorney and counselor at law.”
Maybe the phrase “counselor at law” needs to get back into how I describe myself because I consider the counseling of a client to be the most important thing I do. When a client is injured in a motor vehicle accident through no fault of their own they now have a personal injury claim and want to get fairly reimbursed for their medical bills, lost earnings, how their injuries have impacted their life (often referred to as pain and suffering) and how their injuries will impact their future. The ultimate goal of any personal injury case that I handle is to resolve the client’s personal injury claim pursuant to the wishes of the client. The client’s personal injury case is just that – the client’s case. Don’t get me wrong. I do not sit back and passively see what happens in their case. When a client hires me to represent them I take over all of the responsibility of dealing with the insurance company of the driver at fault. I work as hard as I can for the client to position their case for the best outcome possible, and then advocate and negotiate hard for the client. The best outcome for a client could be an agreed upon settlement with the insurance company without having to file a lawsuit, or filing a lawsuit on behalf of the client and reaching a settlement during the litigation process, or filing a lawsuit and having a jury decide what compensation my client is due. At this point in time my job is not to make the final decision regarding accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company or the filing of a lawsuit, but to counsel the client regarding the pros and cons of every option they have. Of course I will give the client my opinions about any settlement offer from an insurance company (e.g. is it low, does it seem fair, etc.), do I think it is in their best interest to accept the offer, or do I believe they will have a better outcome in their case if they file a lawsuit. One of the main reasons I have been hired is to give the client those opinions based on my experience. But, the ultimate decision to accept or reject settlement offer is solely that of the client. As I tell my clients, “I will tell you all day long about what I think of any settlement offer from the insurance company, but the case is yours, so you have to ultimately make the decision.”
Now, counseling a client involves much more than me just telling them that the insurance company offer is low, fair, good, etc. Clients need to know the basis of my opinions so they will be able to make a well-informed decision about the outcome of their case. So, throughout their case I will educate the client about all of the components of their injury case, the applicable laws, the particulars in the case that are favorable, and whether there are any issues in the case that are not favorable. I will explain in depth the pros and cons of settling a case versus litigating a case or eventually going to trial. Because of the counseling that my clients have received throughout their case, they will always be able to make an informed decision regarding how they want to ultimately proceed.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the fault of another driver, please give me a call and I will provide counsel to you regarding questions I know that you have such as: how does the insurance company put a money value on my personal injury case; how do my medical bills get paid while I am getting treatment for my injuries; and do I even need an attorney.
Gary Poole – Motorcycle Accident Attorney (and Counselor at Law) “On the Side of Those Who Ride”