On today’s Inside Look by Brooks, Steve Brooks talks about what types of law the Brooks Law Group practices.
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Introduction – the Types of Law
Good afternoon! Steve Brooks here. Welcome to Friday’s Inside Look by Brooks. Today’s topic is: What types of law do we practice? This is a question I get asked often when I’m out in the community and even amongst friends. So, I kind of want to give you the 30,000-foot view, and then I will get more granular and talk about the real specific type of law we practice.
In law, there are two specific types of law:
- There’s Civil Law
- and there’s Criminal Law.
We don’t do any criminal law. We just practice in the civil arena, and the civil arena covers lots of areas. It can be anywhere from trusts and estates to family law to business disputes to personal injury, mortgage foreclosure. Anything that has to do with people and property that’s not criminal. So, you know, there are a lot of attorneys that practice what I like to call General Practice.” I honestly don’t know how they do that. We have chosen to specialize in what I like to call “Injury Law,” which is a subset of Civil Law, and injury law means exactly what it says: if you are injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, a truck accident, an ATV accident, an elevator accident, a pedestrian accident, a bicycle accident, any kind of event where someone else is negligent and you’re injured would fall under that umbrella.
Why Brooks Law Group Only Practices Personal Injury On Behalf Of The Plaintiff
So, my philosophy… we have eight attorneys at the Brooks Law Group. If we’re focusing and concentrating our efforts from a very limited subset of the law, then we should be able to hone our skills and do that really well. Which is what we do and continue to try and improve, so we always do it well.
So, the other thing that confuses people is, within Civil Law, you can represent the plaintiff or the defendant. So again, we’ve chosen a microcosm. We’re already a subset of Civil Law by focusing on injuries. But also, we’ve decided to just represent plaintiffs, never represent the defendants. I’ve seen attorneys who try to balance the act, who represent plaintiffs on the one hand and attorneys on the other hand. I don’t know how they do it. It’s not something I would want my practice to be involved in.
If you’re representing insurance companies, first of all, you’re drinking the Kool-Aid. Second of all, if you’re soliciting insurance companies and you want more insurance companies as clients so you can represent their interests in a lawsuit where they are the defendants or the insurers are defendants then you may have crisscross loyalties.
If you’re representing a plaintiff versus an insurance company whose business you are seeking in the future, you know, it may compromise your advocacy for that plaintiff. We don’t want any potential compromises in our representation of the consumer. So, we represent consumers who have been injured. We only represent you, the plaintiff. We only represent parties in injury situations.
Social Security-Disability Cases
We do have a separate division: Social Security division. We have one attorney who full-time does nothing but represent Social Security-Disability clients. Some of those clients come to us as personal injury clients to begin with. Because, ultimately, they’re disabled by injuries, we represent them in the Social Security-Disability Arena. But again, that attorney, who works for us in the Social Security-Disability Division, one-hundred percent of his caseload is disability cases. So he can perfect and hone his craft really well. He’s an excellent attorney.
How Big Does My Case Have To Be?
People think when I talk about some of our bigger cases, they think we only handle huge million/multi-million dollar cases. And I’m like “No, no case is too big, no case is too small. We handle huge multi-million dollar cases, and we handle small tissue cases.” So, it runs the gamut.
Premises Liability (“Slip And Fall”) Cases
Another area we practice is if you’re injured on someone’s property. We call that “premises liability.” You’ll hear a lot of law firms refer to it as “Slip and Fall.” There seems to be misnomer about the liability in a “Slip and Fall,” or Premises Liability case.
Typically, a lot of times we have clients who come in here and have fallen at a local Wal-Mart, and they’ve got a serious injury, maybe a knee or hip injury. They think because they fell on Wal-Mart’s premises, that Wal-Mart is liable, but that’s not the case. With any injury case, you’ve got to prove that the other party was negligent, that somehow their actions were deficient, and those actions caused you to be injured.
So, obviously in a car case, when someone runs a stop sign, that’s obvious. If you’re a pedestrian walking down the sidewalk and a guy’s texting on his phone and swerves and hits you, that’s obviously a negligent action by the responsible party. But if you got Wal-Mart and you’re not paying attention, and you slip, and there’s nothing on the ground that causes you to slip, and there’s nothing in the store that we can say “Wal-Mart did wrong to cause you to fall.” Unfortunately, that’s just an accident. You had an accident and you can’t blame Wal-Mart for that.
The only time you can blame a corporate defendant, or even an individual defendant, is if somehow they are responsible for the injury. I’ll give you some examples: stores need to take precautions for spills, liquid spills on their isles in their stores. So, if they don’t have a program in place to monitor that and clean up those spills, so you don’t step in it and fall, and you go into a local store, and you step in a puddle of water, then potentially that store may be liable.
So, we kind of have to get granular, as “was the puddle cold or wet?” If it was cold and clear, that represents that it was probably a new spill, maybe a minute or two minutes before you stepped in it. And it’s not reasonable to assume that the store caused that spill. Now, if the water is dirty or warmer, and there’s evidence that people have tracked threw it, and there’s pictures of footprints with dirty footprints walking away from that puddle, then we may be able to argue that puddle had been there a while. And because it had been there a while, the store should have known it was there and should have cleaned it up to prevent you from falling.
Conclusion: The types of law and cases that we practice
So, premises liability cases are very nuanced, but getting back to the big topic: we handle big cases, we handle small cases, we handle everything in between. But we only do it from the plaintiff’s perspective, never represent the defendant, and we only handle the subset of Civil Law known as injury or personal injury law. So, I hope that clears up a lot of confusion about the questions I’m frequently asked. Thank you for joining me today! We will be here next Friday with a new topic and hope everybody has a wonderful weekend and look forward to seeing you next Friday. Thank you.