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Caveat Emptor!!

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  • Caveat Emptor!!

    Dear All -

    I have had a Google alert for the past 3 years on the word "FELA" and most of the Google Alerts are lawyers optimizing for searches for FELA Lawyers or FELA Attorneys, FELA Law Firms, FELA Railroad Injury Lawyers, etc.

    However, one came across this morning that was quite different. It was Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) Lawsuit Loans Now Available for Railroad Accident Lawsuits | Press Releases @ Your-Story.org

    So, I clicked on it and to my surprise, it is what I call a "Vulcher Company". In our business of personal injury law, which FELA comes under, there is always the problem of how is the person going to make ends meet while their lawyer handles their lawsuit and claim. There are, for some, railroad employees RRB benefits but they play out; for some that were prudent to get disability insurance fin their Group Coverage, they have disability benefits but they can also play out. And, RRB & Disability benefits considered, there is usually a monthly short fall.

    In my experience, this very real issue causes some not to even report their legitimate claim. Not to be sexest here but most railroad employees are men and when they are hurt, most their wives are very scared about losing their home, their car, food and all what we call the necessities. You would not believe how many persons forego reporting their accident or even getting medical tests to determine the extent and severity of their injury for fear of punishment from the railroad. The numbers are truly alarming. I do not fault these railroad employees because of their fears are actually very reasonable in light of the company's actions and constant threats.

    So, it is natural that you would see a Vulcher Company going after FELA claimants to loan them money while their claim is pending. But at what cost? The cost is enormous! They tout that it is not really a loan because, if you do not recover money, then you do not have to pay it back. Very enticing right? Well, they are not kind-hearted; they do it that way to avoid the usury loan rate laws AND they know that a FELA claim has a very high chance of success if the lawyer works hard enough. In actuality, when you total all the costs, fees and interest charged, you may pay as high as 60% interest!!!! So, if you get $1000.00 a month for two years, you may end-up paying $60,000.00 with some companies. Is it worth it?

    I suggest there are alternatives. First, in some states, it is ethically permissible for your lawyer to advance you monies during the pendency of your claim. Two states that I know that permit necessities to be covered by your lawyer are Texas and Louisiana. There may be more.

    So, if you have a claim with a lawyer and you need money ask your lawyer if his or her state permits the advancement of loans; if so, then ask, do they advance monies; if not, ask why not?; if they do, ask if they charge interest and, if so, how much interest. Finally, ask if the loans must be paid back regardless of the outcome.

    If you do get injured, DO NOT hire a lawyer until you determine if the lawyer you are thinking about hiring can advance monies for necessities. I am not saying you should make your decision solely on this issue because you should not but it should be at least a factor to consider.

    Please try not to end-up using a vulcher company as you will be sorry you did in the end.

    If you wish for me to post Gordon, Elias & Seely's client monetary advance policies here, just ask.
    Steve Gordon
    Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
    FELA Lawyer
    FELA Lawyer Blog
    Serving Injured Railroad Employees Nationwide
    Call for a FELA Lawyer 24/7/365
    800-773-6770

  • #2
    Amazing what people will try......oh and do call them vultures if you will.
    sigpic ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ "Come and get them" Leonidas I to Xerxes, at Battle of Thermopylae

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    • #3
      What's worse is someone will call them then in the end owe the lawyers more money than they were awarded. That person is now bitter and follows along with everyone else crying how you can't beat the RR and you're better off not reporting an injury because the RR will starve you with the help if your fela attorney.
      All postings by BadOrderKing are public information, works of fiction, sometimes resembling the rants of a madman and in no way should be construed to represent the positions, views, or thoughts of any particular railroad carrier. No one listens to him anyway.

      Comment


      • #4
        GE&S' Client Advance Policy

        I received a PM request to post this, so here it is:

        We advance monies to our clients interest free. The advances are considered like case expenses. Our Contingency Fee Contract is what is called a Complete Contingency Fee which means the client literally pays nothing to us in fees or expenses unless they recover money by way of settlement and/or judgment.

        We are ethically governed to only advance for "necessities" which typically includes mortgages, rent, food, transportation costs, utilities, some insurances, and some other bills and medical care.

        Since we handle, or could handle, cases in every state, if we are going to come into the case Pro Hac Vice [for the particular case], you must typically represent that you have familiarized yourself with their rules of Civil Procedure, their rules of Evidence and their Rules of Attorney Conduct and that you agree to abide by same. Therefore, we cannot advance monies to a client where their case must be filed.

        Also, some states, for example Washington State, does not permit a Complete Contingency Fee Contract as they require the client remain liable for expenses regardless of a recovery or not.Thus, if the case must be filed in Washington State and we come in Pro Hac Vice, then we must adhere to their Rules of Ethical behavior.

        On a good note, BNSF and UP are easily served in the state of Texas and the action can readily be maintained in the state of Texas even though the accident may have happened outside of Texas. Texas does permit advances as mentioned in an earlier post.

        Steve
        Steve Gordon
        Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
        FELA Lawyer
        FELA Lawyer Blog
        Serving Injured Railroad Employees Nationwide
        Call for a FELA Lawyer 24/7/365
        800-773-6770

        Comment


        • #5
          Steve, "double thanks" for posting what you have. Appreciate you further clarifying how a client is advanced funds from the firm vs. the horrible loan scenario described in the first post. Good info!
          Standard lengthy disclaimer / warning / terms of use: All postings by "NSRLink" are fictional, public information, for entertainment purposes only, should never be taken seriously, and in no way should be construed to represent the positions, views, ideas, or thoughts of any railroad carrier, person, entity, organization, or otherwise. By reading anything posted or associated with the user ID, "NSRLink," any entity agrees they shall not be offended, harmed, sad, defamed, inflamed, upset, mad, harassed, have their feelings hurt, or similar. Parties or entities not agreeable to these "terms of use" are hereby required to block this profile "NSRLink" and agree to not read or view posts so they will no longer be offended, harmed, sad, defamed, inflamed, upset, mad, harassed, have their feelings hurt, or similar in any manner, and may do so via UserCP "Edit ignore List" & adding "NSRLink" to the list. Thank you & good day to you.

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