Connecting Lawyers to Lawyers

Finding the right lawyer for your special cases

I have a story about a bus crash case. As I am not a lawyer, my role in this case was as an adviser, a matchmaker, if you will, between cooperating lawyers.

If I could, I would be more evocative, but the details must remain confidential. I know that I could draw you a picture so that you would see more, feel more, understand more. If I could, I would put names and ages and faces together, or talk in specifics about the bravery of young burn victims, or talk about the kind of grit it takes to make it through grueling therapy, but we must protect the victims. Just understand that every survivor I am speaking of is a hero facing steep odds. And survivors include the families of those who did not survive. They especially are dealing with calamity, and trying to rebuild on a broken foundation. My friends who are lawyers providing voices for these victims are motivated to do their best, for the very best of reasons.

Everyone understands that there is no putting financial value on the intrinsic value human life. Life is priceless. But you can’t tell that to an insurance company, and you can’t tell that to a lawyer, because legally, they have a designated way of handling the financial value of human life. Cash is the only currency the law recognizes.

The tour bus in the accident I am discussing had a five million dollar liability policy, even though the accident caused seven deaths plus injured a number of passengers, some terribly.

The bus rolled somewhere in the U.S. Five million was all there was for all these families and injured. Maybe that sounds like a lot, but when you focus on the individuals, it is not much at all. Consider for example, that one of the injured is still in a coma years after the rollover. The medical expenses are unbelievable. The money is not nearly enough to cover the medical issues of the coma victim, the other injured survivors, much less pain and suffering, etc. for the families of the deceased, some of whom lost their breadwinners.

The investigation revealed that the bus company that was originally contracted had subbed out the job to another company because they could not themselves handle it. That gave the families five million from the bus that rolled over plus, on a technicality, another five million from the company that was hired but who did not use their own bus. Two bus companies are better than one, but was it really the best that could be done for the families?

At that point, it seemed that the case was over.

I recommended to the lawyers who had the case that I should contact a friend who handles many bus cases. He has a deep pockets firm that has the bucks, and they roll the dice when they believe a case deserves it.

That lawyer studied the situation, recognized the value of the case and took it on. The law firm purchased an identical bus and had experts roll it. They purchased a second identical bus and rolled that over too. The law firm proved that the bus itself and many components were defective, and made a product liability case out of it.

After the specialists I invited joined in, the case settled, and brought in an additional 40+ million dollars.

This particular bus accident was here in California, but fifty million dollars is a lot of money anywhere. It pays a lot of medical bills.

Even though I’m not a lawyer myself, as an advisor, I work with lawyers whereever they are. I travel internationally meeting and mediating with lawyers. I have seen a lot of cases, and I know this kind of success on a bus crash case doesn’t just happen. The specialist law firm spent over 1.5 million (not just on buses and experts) to prepare that case. Just before trial, the defendants caved and settled. A landmark win like this could not have happened without the specialist lawyers I recommend. And their bankrolls. And their experience. And their reputation.

A lawyer may want another lawyer to handle a case for a lot of reasons. It’s not always about money. Many times it’s about experience, or expertise in a particular area. There’s no substitute for experience.

George Hatcher