How To Find An Attorney For Civil Suits And What To Expect

It looks like my mold saga is coming to an end. We seriously considered finding an attorney to help us negotiate with our landlord. It was a frustrating process, but my eyes are definitely more open to the reality of what it’s like to work with an attorney.

Last month I was at a kindergarten graduation and I was talking to one of the moms. The topic of lawyers came up because she had been through a divorce. She said, “all they want to do is bill you.” I didn’t think much of it but after looking for representation of my own I realized she was right.

I Learned A Few Things About Lawyers And The Law This Week:

  • The Purpose Of Tort Law

Tort law, according to Wikipedia, is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act. Its purpose is to right a wrong that has been made and put that person who was harmed back as if they were whole again.

So if someone negligently drives under the influence and ran someone on the sidewalk over and then that person lost their legs, tort law tries to find a monetary amount that would be equivalent to losing your legs. In other words, how much are that man’s legs worth?

So even though we were exposed to mold in our apt, which could have dangerous health effects on us and our 2 month old baby, the fact that we weren’t dead or dying didn’t give us much of a case.

  • Lawyers Aren’t Going To Do All The Work.

I don’t know why I have this image in my mind of lawyers wanting to jump at the opportunity of righting some injustice, but that’s not even close to how they work.

They don’t want to have to prove you have a case. YOU have to go to them and prove that you have a case under the law. That means you have to do a bit of digging on what laws apply to your issue.

From there you might get a consultation and if the attorney feels you have a good enough case, then he’ll take you on and start the process of the lawsuit.

  • It’s All About The Benjamins

Even if you have a case, that still doesn’t mean you have a case worth taking on. Because attorneys need to get paid one way or another. It’s going to be either hourly billing or contingency.

For contingency fees, they usually run 33% if you settle and 40% if it goes to trial. Zilch if the case doesn’t settle or win. So what they’re really looking for are cases that can settle or win.

For most attorneys, the question on their mind is, “If I take this case, how likely will it be to win and how much will I make.”

If they can’t make money off the case, they won’t take it.

  • Personal Injury Attorneys

Our first attempt to resolve this was to find a personal injury attorney. And they are the worst. I could not get a hold of a single one of them. They all had these bulldog secretaries that just took information and messages. Whether the attorneys actually got the messages, we don’t know, but I never heard back from anyone.

I thought it was really ridiculous that they spent all this money on advertising, to bring clients in, but they couldn’t be bothered to meet with us or respond. I guess we just weren’t dead or dying enough to make a case that was worth the money.

  • Find An Attorney That Specializes On What You Need.

At first it felt like we were taking shots in the dark. I would call personal injury attorney’s and ask, “Do you do mold litigation?” I didn’t have any referral attorneys that I could turn to. If someone said no, I would ask for a referral. It seems no one wants to give another attorney a referral.

None of the lawyers would help me so I had to rely on information from the legal secretaries. One straight out told me I would have to be severely injured for them to take me. Another referred me to the state bar association. The state bar can refer me for a $35 fee. Another secretary was more helpful and told me I would need a landlord/tenant attorney and to check AVVO.

AVVO is basically like the Yelp for attorneys, they sort by area and specialty and can help you find an attorney that has the experience you need. There are also a lot of reviews, so you can choose a top rated attorney.

  • Be Prepared To Drop Your Case Before It Even Started.

“I’ve always found the legal system to be disappointing” That’s what my dad said when I told him I wanted to sue over the mold.

Well, he was right. After I finally found a landlord/tenant attorney to meet with me for a $150 consultation, we learned we wouldn’t recoup much in damages. Maybe one months rent.

The attorney was very knowledgeable but basically laid it out for us that to pursue this in court would cost more than we could get and that basically we need to negotiate with our landlord to fix the problem permanently or to allow us to break the lease. I felt a little jipped, of course I can negotiate with my landlord directly and they already told us we could break the lease. What we wanted were damages for the costs of moving and furniture!

Our search for an attorney was long and stressful. In the end we did get enough information to make an educated decision on what to do about our apartment. I honestly hope I never have to consult a lawyer again or use an attorney’s services. Because at the end of the day, getting injured from mold or anything isn’t worth a large settlement.

We learned a lot from our situation. In case you ever need legal advice, here are the questions you’ll need to ask:

  1. Have you ever dealt with cases like this before?
  2. What is your success rate
  3. What is your retainer?
  4. Do you work hourly or by contingency basis?
  5. How will you keep me in the loop about the progress of my case?

Good luck and thanks for reading!

Memento Mori: Reflecting On Life and Death

I’ve gone to three different Catholic funerals in my life. I’m not particularly fond of funerals because I find it too heavy for me. Each time I go to pay my respects, it has me thinking about my own life and death.

The first funeral I went to was when I was 16 and attending to pay my respects to another classmate who passed. John died very unexpectedly. He was a star student , an amazing athlete, tall, handsome, kind and loved by everyone in school. Little did we know, he was born with a heart condition that he believed was corrected. One day in October he was jumping rope as a warmup, went into cardiac arrest and died.

I remember everyone in my grade, nearly all 300 of us, went to the wake. I didn’t even know John all that well but thought it was right to support my friends who did. There was a line outside the funeral parlor to enter the viewing. It was so long that people passing by would stop us and ask what we were waiting for, curious about the spectacle. I’ll always remember the look of confusion on their face when we said it was for the passing of a friend.

John looked beautiful like an angel; his hair never looked more red. Somehow, they always look truly at peace when they’re laying in their casket.

At 16, I never faced death before and was not prepared for it. I felt the sadness and grief in the air and I could of cut through it with a knife. I had to leave the wake early because I was sobbing uncontrollably and upsetting everyone around me. I felt the sadness of everyone grieving and it filled me to the point where I was just sobbing for everyone else. His life was cut so short! If only he wasn’t jumping rope, he would have lived!

That day I learned that life isn’t always promised and that it could be taken from you in an instant. It seemed so unfair. In my eyes, John was least deserving of death.

The second funeral I went to was for my neighbor Jim. He suffered with Alzheimer’s. He was in his 80s when he went. I thought it would be easier, his death was very expected and he suffered a long time with his disease. But it wasn’t.

He was an Irishman and as I reflected on his life, I couldn’t help but feel blessed to have known him. He lived a long life and often spoke to us kindly in his beautiful Irish accent. The day of his funeral I longed to hear him speak again, it was so mesmerizing. Even though he and his wife had been in the US for decades, he still carried a heavy accent. I remember playing with his grandson and watching him mow his grass from our front window.

This time I felt a sense of true loss, here was someone I knew and saw every day for years. And now he was gone.

Silent tears rolled down my face at the funeral as the priest gave his homily reflecting on Jim’s life. I knew he was in heaven with God, no one lived a more humble and god-loving life. Yet I still felt sad that he left us.

They held the reception in his family’s backyard. I listened as his family told stories about all the things Jim did in his life, how kind and exceptional he was.

It’s funny, even in death you can be celebrated. It had me thinking a lot about my own death and the future for my parents. They were getting older and even though death is expected at the end of old age, I realized it was never welcomed. There will always be a sense of mourning and loss.

Most recently I went to my Husband’s grandma’s wake. Grandma P’s death was also expected. She was sick and going through a lot physically in the end of her days. It gave me a lot to think and pray about. She was more aware that she was dying.

She was also blessed to have so many children. All five of them came to her side. Aunt B was the one who had cared for her all these years.

Aunt B asked her, “Are you scared?”

“Yes.”

“Don’t be, we’ll be with you. We won’t leave your side.”

The thought that you can be aware of your impending death is terrifying. The thought of saying goodbye to everyone you love saddens me. I pray she went in peace.

Her wake was small yet beautiful. My father in law put together a slide about her life. It was amazing to see how many lives she touched and how much she meant to so many people. I realized her 84 years of life was not meaningless but rich with purpose. With five of her grandchildren, including my Husband, she played a huge role in raising them. I left with a sense of peace, knowing that she was truly with God and that she was in good hands.

A Catholic funeral is quite beautiful but also very expensive. In some cases it can be compared to the price of a wedding. The casket, funeral services for the wake, funeral and reception, flowers, burial site and tombstone can reach upwards of $15k-20k for standard services.

But can you really put a price on remembering the life of a loved one?

For Catholics, death is the biggest event of our lives. We believe that our life is a journey, with death being the final destination. That, with God’s Grace, we’ll be reunited with our merciful God. It’s not a live for today ideology but one that hopes for a better future.

Memento Mori in Latin means remember your death. It’s the concept that our death is inevitable and we should prepare now for what comes after. I’ve learned that our lives are truly precious no matter what age we are. And though it makes me sad to think my mother’s, father’s or even my own death, I know there’s a peace on the other side and that life doesn’t end with death.

Check out my other posts

Blood Is Thicker Than Water: The Power Of Family

My Best Friend Ghosted Me

Social Media Peaked: Then And Now

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Going back through social media memory lane makes me feel so old I want to cry.

I remember the heydays of Mypace. That was the start of it really. Everyone had a profile, we friended each other. I remember spending hours just learning HTML so I can put banners on my profile and floating stars that would sprinkle the page as it loaded. And let’s not forget the top eight. Who was in your top eight was a huge deal, people lost friends over that. And that everyone was automatically friends with Tom and Tila Tequila, she was somehow in the mix there. I wonder what happened to her….oh yeah she peaked too.

But Myspace was pretty awesome with millions of people on it; bands could get discovered and people could share their talents. You’d put your music online and somehow be found. It was the beginning of something amazing; the beginning of ordinary people becoming extraordinary!

Then shortly after, Facebook came to be. Initially, it was only accessible to college students; the exclusivity made it popular, you had to sign up with your college email to get an account. I didn’t sign up until 2008 when Facebook was only about two years old. It’s crazy when you think about it, how Facebook started in 2006 and now it’s literally the biggest tech and social media company in the world.

Anyways, back then Facebook was very bland you couldn’t really decorate it like like Myspace it was just about connecting with your friends, posting things that you had to say, and sharing pictures. It was an incredibly simplified way of connecting with people. I remember posting my thoughts and tagging friends, my pictures were everything to me.

And it’s kind of ironic because you look at Facebook now and is nothing like the Facebook of 2008. Remember how it used to look?

Original facebook

Now all that’s on my newsfeed are political pundits and arguments about politics, annoying quizzes, and baby pictures. Nobody’s connecting anymore…

Instagram and Facebook used to be my drug addiction. It really messed with my mental health to see all the posts about partying, dating, and living your best life. As we’ve all experienced, #FOMO, caused plenty of distress for those who were living perfectly normal ordinary lives.

Today, I don’t even talk to 99% of the people on my friends list but I’ll look at their pictures and try to keep tabs. The connecting that I used to do in my early 20s and in the early years of Facebook doesn’t even happen anymore. And people who are now in their early 20s aren’t using Facebook. It’s outdated, they’re on Snap Instagram, TikToc and all the newest social media platforms.

Twitter, which was started around the same time as Facebook in 2006, in my opinion, has been the most unchanged platform out of all of them. It looks pretty much the same as it did in 2006, the only major change was instead of the original 140 character tweet, you get 240 characters now. It took me a while to get used to Twitter but I can appreciate it for the simplicity and that you’re really are just having one big giant conversation with everyone else. But who would have guessed that our President in 2019 would use this platform for to communicate with the public.

When YouTube launched 14 years ago in 2005, I didn’t think much of it. First of all video taking technology was just not there yet. You needed a good camcorder to take even the most grainy films. You could not take videos on your phone. Are you kidding me, in 2005 I was still using this Nokia.

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And I didn’t think much of it. The videos made no sense at the time, just people doing dumb sh*t on the Internet. But I guess that’s what made it funny. Who knew that YouTube would be the Bitcoin of social media, those who got in early made a killing. (Sidenote: I have to share these two videos that are the funniest viral videos. Really, 2010 literally was a great year for YouTube).

Bed Intruder Song

How To Trick People Into Thinking You’re Good Looking

It’s crazy getting viral on YouTube literally meant you could just quit your job and become a YouTuber. So many people have been able to turn YouTube into a full-time career. Around 2010, was also when people stopped watching MTV and you started to see music really take off on the video hosting platform. I remember watching Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance over and over, it reached 10 million views on the first day it published. It was one of the longest music videos, like a like a mini movie.

Now YouTube has absolutely monetized the hell out of it. Once Youtube was bought by Google in 2006, it became all about the advertising, monetization and selling of videos. Forget DVDs, everything you want and need can be bought on YouTube.

And the publishing content there is different too now, like you literally need to have some sort of studio in order to build a following on YouTube because making grainy videos is not gonna cut it anymore.

I think the scariest thing about social media is that it’s how we get a majority of our news. Since social media is the platform, they can essentially decide what we see. It used to be you picked up the newspaper at your local deli. I remember having a school project and having to get the newspaper or seeing someone at the coffee shop with a newspaper in hand. Not anymore. We’re all on our phones now looking at the news through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Let’s not pretend that these companies aren’t deciding what they want to show you. Because they are.   Social media monitoring.   I’ve noticed that only certain media channels are promoted, especially on Facebook. We saw the rise of Huffington Post and BuzzFeed. And a lot of liberal media became a majority of what you saw on those channels.

Now we know that these websites have been collecting information on us. Facebook had its scandal and refused to share with the government the detail of their privacy practices and how they use the data. It did come out that Facebook is literally watching you and using the info that you’re willingly giving them to sell their ad space to companies.

A more recent instance of censorship would be from Pinterest and how they categorized some users under their porn block list as a way of suppression. There was a whistle blower who shared some insider information that Live-Action, a controversial pro-life organization, was under that list on Pinterest. This resulted in all of Live Action’s posts being hidden from the public, unbeknownst to them. The crazy part is that had it not been for this whistleblower, Live Action would never have known that their account was being tampered with. Pinterest obviously didn’t agree with their views and mis-characterized them as a porn site to limit their exposure.

Though social media still works to connect people to share memories and ideas, it’s now been tainted with privacy sharing, censorship, the feeling of jealousy and lack of self. From where we’ve been to where we are now, I still think 2010 is the peak of social media. Never again will we be so free and so excited to share our lives with strangers. 2010 was the year we lived social media, I don’t really know where it can go from there. Will it keep connecting people or will we be looking at a world not too different than George Orwell’s 1984?

It’s hard to say, what I do know is that social media is here to stay. And though it plays a very different role in our society now, history will tell how it changed our lives for better and for worst.

Check out my other posts:

Never Believe The Propaganda, Create Your Own Purpose

Motivational Book Club: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck By Mark Manson

How To Make A Change in Your Life

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