Joseph A. Fried
How does a former local police officer end up one of the top personal injury lawyers in the entire country? For Atlanta-based “out of the box” attorney Joe Fried, it’s been a natural progression. “I have always hated bullies and stood up for the little guy,” Fried says. “Holding those who are responsible for hurting others fully accountable is what I did as a police officer and it is still what I do today as a lawyer—I just have a better education and much better resources.”
That education goes way beyond law. Fried has formal education and real world experience in physics, accident reconstruction and forensics, as well as hundreds of hours of training in psychology, neurolinguistics, persuasion science, story structure and story-telling. When you add all these pieces together with a tireless work ethic and a spiritual calling, the final product is a lawyer who is hard to beat. “Cases are about much more than a string of facts and legal principles,” Fried muses. “It’s my job to figure out why anyone should really care about my client’s case and how I can present that case in a credible and compelling way. The jurors in my cases get a chance to be heroes by righting a wrong and restoring justice.”
All you have to do is spend a few minutes talking to Fried to know he is not your typical lawyer. He is genuine and real—and has a rare ability to feel what is going on in others and connect with them at a deep level. “I wasn’t always like this,” Fried says. “I had to learn to deal with my own fears—to be willing to be vulnerable—and to find my own truth before I could feel the truth in others. I am still a work in progress.”
Fried is a master at seeing through negatives that constrain other lawyers and turning them into positives. A defense lawyer recently said of Fried, “I thought I had him boxed in with a world class expert who was set to gut his case, but by the end of a short deposition that expert had flipped and was supporting Fried’s case. There was nothing I could do about it.” “I don’t let the defense dictate what is important in a case,” Fried admonishes. “Lawyers often fight the wrong issues and then get mad and look like jerks when they lose the fight. I try hard not to be that lawyer.”
Fried started out handling medical negligence cases and then happened into a case where a woman was badly burned when her car caught fire after a crash. It was the modern-day Ford Pinto case, but it involved the Ford Mustang. “When I first saw how little damage there was to the car, I couldn’t understand why it caught fire,” Fried says. “I started digging and found that a lot of people had burned alive in Mustangs. I felt compelled to do something about it.” He quickly became the go-to lawyer in Georgia and beyond for these cases, and said if Ford would fix the problem, he would stop suing them. It took several years, but Ford ultimately changed the design of the Mustang to eliminate the issue. Fried kept his word and stopped suing Ford. “My goal has been reached,” he says.
Fried then looked for where he should focus next. For a few weeks, it seemed that everywhere he looked he saw safety issues involving big trucks. “There were truck wrecks on the news, I passed a terrible truck wreck on the road, and someone even left a magazine open to a truck safety article in my seat pocket on an airplane,” he says. One night as Fried tossed and turned, it struck him: “I’m supposed to focus on truck accidents and truck safety,” he says. “I woke up with a new vigor. That morning, I got my first truck crash case and that confirmed it for me.”
Since then, Fried has become one of the foremost authorities in the country on handling truck crash cases resulting in serious injury or wrongful death. “Too many lawyers treat truck crash cases as if they are simply big car crash cases. That is a huge mistake,” he says. Because of his extensive knowledge and record of success, Fried is often associated by other lawyers to help maximize the results in trucking cases. “Most of the cases I handle these days involve truck or other commercial motor vehicles, but I always have time in my life to consider other major cases where I can make a difference.”