Injury & Accident Compensation Resources

Finding A Vioxx or any Attorney
By: Joan Bounacos

Since a south Texas jury awarded more than a quarter billion dollars to the widow of a man who died after using Merck's Vioxx medication, the trial lawyers have been circling the web. Sites pop up every day, looking for new parties whom lawyers can represent. Banding together a large group of plantiffs puts a firm in a powerful position with regard to the court system and makes the company more likely to try to strike a deal.

Some estimates are that over 7,500 suits are pending or have already been filed with Courts throughout the United States. "Merck may be vigorously defending itself, but the blood is in the water," said Consumer Help Web President Joan Bounacos. "It is critical that consumers pick the right attorney if they intend to participate in legal proceedings."

Consumer Help Web, the Internet's leading consumer advocacy organization announced today a checklist to help consumers find the right legal representation if they are considering a Vioxx claim.

1. Ask your physician for a referral. Although every state "certifies" attorneys in different areas of expertise, your physician may know of an attorney whose practice involves healthcare-related cases.

2. Another resource to use is at, which provides a list of self-reported information from law firms organized by city. That list is located at

3. Shop for an attorney based on the attorney's experience, proposed fees (especially any contingency fees in the event of a settlement) and referrals. Do not simply pick the first attorney who approaches you or one who offers a lower contingency fee without first investigating them.

4. Check with your local bar association to ensure there are no pending or previous complaints regarding your attorney. An interactive listing of local bar associations can be found for free on the web at

5. Once you have selected a lawyer, read everything carefully before you sign a document. Ask for "plain English" descriptions of any wording you do not understand. Once you are given that description, ask to have the description added to your Agreement as an addendum.

6. Make sure you understand who will be your contact in the attorney's firm. In many cases, the actual client contact will be with paralegals and associate attorneys. If you insist on regular meetings with the attorney signing an agrement with you, be prepared to write that requirement into the agreement. Also be prepared to pay extra for those meetings on a billable hour basis.

7. Understand what rights you are surrendering. In your Agreement, you may be assigning the attorney the opportunity to combine your case with others, sell or trade the case to another attorney or accept a settlement if a combined class votes to do so. That settlement's provisions will often allow for attorney's fees to be deducted from the initial amount. That means the attorneys are paid first.

8. Make sure your Agreement specifies what information or evidence you will need to provide and who will bear the costs of gathering that evidence.

9. Keep a written record of all conversations and correspondence with your attorney before, during and after signing an Agreement.

10. Inform your physician that you are now represented by legal counsel. You are not required to say anything, but doing so will help nurture trust and goodwill in your doctor-patient relationship.

About The Author

Joan Bounacos is the President and co-founder of ConsumerHelpWeb, the web's leading complaint resolution service. Multiple media sources have quoted Bounacos as a national consumer expert. She has personally won settlements totalling tens of thouands of dollars for individual consumers and leads a team that takes on individual cases for only $14.99 each.

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