On Monday, a man calls our office. He only has a few minutes to talk. He tells our intake specialist that his brother has been at Shock Trauma in Baltimore since the beginning of the month and that he was hit by a commercial vehicle. The man briefly describes his brother’s injuries as head, eye, shoulder, and ankle.
She didn’t get more details. But he has me, obviously, at “Almost a month and counting in Shock Trauma” and “commercial truck.” The majority of our large serious injury cases are truck accident cases. We set up a meeting with the brother for the next day in my office.
An hour before the meeting, the brother calls and says that the injury victim wants to be a part of the meeting, asking our intake specialist if we can move the meeting to the hospital.
I swallow hard. I’m simultaneously happy and miserable. Sure, I can now sign up the client directly. But I really hate hospital visits. Why? Because it makes me feel like an ambulance chaser, that’s why. Many people pride themselves on not caring what anyone else thinks. I don’t. I really do care – especially what health care providers think because I really have a lot of respect for them.
I’ve probably lost a lot of cases over the years eschewing hospital visits. But last month, our firm went on a weekend retreat to the Hyatt in Cambridge, Maryland. Great place. (Picture to the right of us after dinner.) The purpose of our meetings there was to become a better law firm. I’m convinced that we can never stop getting better. We are blessed to have a group of people who have been together for a long time. I think that experience individually and collectively gives us a chance to continue to improve. The focus of the meeting was what I call Kaiser Sose: doing the little things other people can’t or won’t do to (1) make our clients happy, and (2) increase the values of their cases. In the spirit of that meeting, which included the theme of EVERYONE having to be accountable, I have to start making hospital visits when current or potential clients ask me to come.
So I drive down to Baltimore to visit the hospital. I’m planning to meet the brother in the hospital lobby. This makes me feel better because it gives me some cover other than the guy who looks like a lawyer going up alone. While I’m fidgeting in the lobby, the brother calls the office and just asks, inexplicably, if I can just come up to the room.
Shoot. Now I’m really uncomfortable. But I sneak by the front desk without getting a visitor’s badge, effectively pulling off that “I am regular here, I know where I’m going” look, simultaneously feeling James Bond clever and a complete loser. Because I’m so clutch, I add a degree of difficulty by screwing up the “600-630 this way” arrow, having to suspiciously double back again. Thankfully, no one is paying attention because, you know, they are tending to very badly hurt people and I’m in Baltimore City and I’m clearly not carrying a weapon.