Can lawyers afford to be altruistic in every case?

The MatterhornQuestion: What actions can I take against the loan company for missing items after my car was repossessed?

Hello, I’m (really not) Mr. Ed!

Question Detail: My car was repossessed and I was able to reinstate the lease and get my car back. When I went to pick up my personal belongs a lot of my stuff were missing! One item in particular was sunglasses (of sentimental value). They listed the item in the inventory sheet but were not there when I picked up my personal belongings. I filed a report before I left the lot. They will not do anything about it. More than 15 items are missing as well. The repossession people did not make an accurate detailed list of inventory. I understand that items such as water and food would be thrown out but items such as cleaning cloths for my car, a new box of tea, unopened expensive soaps, and other items are missing.

Answer: The value of the items missing makes it cost prohibitive for a lawyer to get involved. There will be no corpus from which to generate a contingent fee and hourly rates run from a low of $65 per hour to a high of $750. For a pair of sunglasses you would not spend thousands of dollars on lawyer fees. So you can do one of two things, either forgettaboutit or represent yourself in small claims court.

If you chose to sue in small claims court, you may want to consider the value of your time versus the amount you may or may not recover. Economic feasibility is what lawyers grapple with in deciding if the claim is worth the lawyer’s time. We are after all businessmen and women. Everyone wants to believe we lawyers practice law 24/7/365 for altruism and sometimes we do, but mostly we just have to work smart to pay the bills. So while it’s fun, exciting and makes us feel good about what we do when we do the right thing, just like you, we have utility and tuition bills to pay. Our staff for some odd reason likes to be paid on pay day. So while we would like to shoe every horse that comes into the barn it's not economically feasible for us to do so. After all unlike the horse we do not run on hay and oats.

Steve Lombardi
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Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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