Michael Humphries: For Him, It's Personal

By Sarah Torres

Anyone experiencing a personal injury has already been touched. First during the collision, the strike, the fall to the ground, etc., that caused the injury. Then by the paramedics, the doctors and nurses, the physical therapists, and more, who are trying to help the injured party through the discomfort.

But to attorney Michael Humphries, it’s the personal touch that matters. No, he won’t change a bandage or adjust a splint, but he will provide a client with the round-the-clock care that helps to ease the kind of pain that’s not always physical.

“You call, you get me, and you get my cell phone number,” he says. “I’ll take late-night calls and calls early in the morning. They can text me. I’ll even come to the client’s house if that is easiest for them. However the client wants to communicate, is how I like to communicate.”

Humphries says it’s the attention he lavishes on his clients that sets him apart in an extremely competitive market.

“There’s a lot of talented attorneys in Jacksonville, and personal injury is very well represented,” Humphries says. “I try to stand out in three ways – being overprepared, having the resolve to take a case to trial, and offering more personal service and attention than some of the larger firms.”

He describes the typical large firm as one that receives a potential client’s inquiries through a call center and passes the file to a paralegal or case manager. He says the client who hires an attorney at a large firm, even with multiple calls, rarely gets to speak with the one handling the case.

This practice, Humphries says, leaves out the most critical element to winning a case: building the relationship with the suffering client.

There’s a lot of talented attorneys in Jacksonville, and personal injury is very well represented. I try to stand out in three ways ...

“A lot of what we do in personal injury is tell their story,” he says. “You can tell someone’s story much more effectively if you’ve taken the time to get to know them.”

Humphries cites one of his highest-winning cases, which is also the one he is most proud of, as an example of how he feels when he can provide solace to an injury victim or the victim’s family.

In this case, he was able to help a woman whose husband suffered an accident in the Panhandle on the last day of the couple’s vacation. Another driver had run a red light and the two cars collided, resulting in the husband suffering a head injury. The EMTs on scene didn’t appreciate the severity of the injury, the husband didn’t get the medical treatment he needed to possibly save his life, and he passed.

Humphries was able to obtain policy limit settlements with three different insurance carriers without filing suit.

“Being able to help this wonderful woman who was planning her golden years and lost the love of her life for over 50 years, providing support to her and listening and learning about her husband, who was an incredible man – that case was not just a big win but also one of the most personally gratifying cases I’ve ever been a part of,” he says.

Becoming a lawyer may seem like a natural path for someone who wants to devote his career to ease others’ suffering, but for Humphries, that path wasn’t clear at first.

I was drawn to personal injury because it is something your everyday person can experience and relate to ...

“In undergraduate, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I knew I wanted to do something that made a difference in people’s lives,” he says. “You can toil at your job your whole life but if you’re doing something to help people, it doesn’t feel like work.”

Humphries’ father was an attorney (and now a judge), so law was always something he considered. “I knew I wanted to continue my education as undergrad was wrapping up, so I decided to take the LSAT and go from there.”

But his first steps into law had a lot of toil and felt a lot like work. He practiced a few different areas of law and excelled in real estate law but found the subject “a little too dry.” Personal injury, however, seemed like a good fit.

“I was drawn to personal injury because it is something your everyday person can experience and relate to,” he says. “I wanted the opportunity to help more people, and personal injury gives me that opportunity.”

But even after he settled on the practice area, he didn’t find the satisfaction he was looking for. His previous firm was not a plaintiff-only practice; it handled defense work as well, which wasn’t sitting right with him.

“I gravitated toward helping people, but instead I was fighting for an insurance company or a large corporation,” he says.

But when he hung up his shingle a year ago as a solo practitioner, it was his experience working with insurance companies and corporations that helped him win against them.

“My background in insurance defense work defending personal injury claims gave me the insight into how insurance companies work,” he says. “I’ve seen first-hand how insurance companies not only value but fight claims, and I use that knowledge to increase the value of my clients’ claims.”

One of those clients was the daughter of a former colleague. She came to Humphries after being involved in an auto accident with a driver she claimed ran a red light.

“Of course, the insurance company insisted my client was liable for the accident and that she either failed to yield or ran the red light herself. But I believed my client’s version of events, and fortunately through our investigation we were able to prove she was in fact not liable for the accident and obtain a policy limit settlement.”

From wrongful deaths to auto accidents, Humphries is building his practice one negligence case at a time – on his terms.

“I can take the cases I want to take and help people as they come to me,” he says. “I do envision growing but making sure any growth is organic to ensure we can deliver an exceptional level of service. I don’t ever envision growing to the size of the larger TV firms. My goal is to have a small firm of talented trial attorneys.”

Humphries Law PLLC

The Morris Building
2064 Park Street
Jacksonville, FL 32204
(904) 910-0567

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