A car accident can change your life in an instant! One moment, you are fine. The next, you are dealing with multiple problems. If you suffered physical injuries in the wreck, you may be dealing with many different worries. Pain. Doctors. Bills. Work. I understand these issues.
After a serious injury, you may hear many different “myths” about your personal injury claim. I’ve discussed many different personal injury issues in my prior articles on this blog. Today, I’m going to discuss briefly three different personal injury myths.
Myth Number 1: If You Write The Insurance Company And Are REASONABLE, You Will Get A REASONABLE Offer
False! Insurance companies are in business to make money. They make money by collecting as much as possible in premiums and then paying as little as possible for claims. You may be very reasonable but that does not mean the adjuster will be reasonable.
Insurance companies pay claims when they have to pay claims. This means you need to collect and present the best evidence possible. Although you may not want to file your claim or go to court, the adjuster needs to understand you will pursue the matter as far as needed for a fair and just resolution.
Don’t expect the adjuster to be fair unless he has to be fair! I’ve heard so many stories from people who thought the adjuster was nice and fair, only to learn too late they were wrong. This extends to lawyers as well. So many lawyers “say” they handle car accident claims when they really don’t handle them correctly. These lawyers write the adjuster, submit the medical records without supporting research and simply “hope” for a fair offer. That’s the wrong way to handle a claim. At our office, we guide clients through the medical process. Then, we build the claim. We often spend considerable time researching, documenting and explaining the medical issues whenever we present a claim.
In my prior blog articles, I’ve answered many questions about how to best present your claim while avoiding the problems that can ruin the claim. Take a look at some of my past articles. If you cannot find the answer to your question, let me know. I’m happy to discuss the issue.
Myth Number 2: ALL Lawyers Who Advertise For Accident Cases Have The Ability And Experience To Handle Them
False! Every day, we are all bombarded by advertisements. Whether it’s television, the internet or billboards along the highway, ads are everywhere. So many lawyers advertise for accident and injury cases. But, so few lawyers actually know how to prepare cases for the maximum recovery.
We’ve all heard the ads about fast checks for wrecks. Face it, those guys aren’t going to court. The insurance adjuster knows that. The insurance adjuster factors that knowledge into making a lower offer.
How do you find the right accident and injury lawyer in Alabama? In Huntsville, we have lawyers advertising when they are really hundreds of miles away. We have other lawyers advertising just to sign and refer cases. In fact, one Huntsville DUI law firm proudly proclaims “millions recovered” when the small, fine print on their website tells the truth — They sign-up cases to refer them. They want to skim part of the fee but they don’t really handle personal injury cases. I’ve written in the past about how this can actually harm your potential case. I think people deserve better.
Choosing the right personal injury lawyer can be difficult with so many advertisements. I understand that. I urge you to research the issue, talk to people you trust, and find a lawyer who actually goes to court in accident cases. It can make a tremendous difference in your claim. And, the good advice from an experienced trial lawyer can make a tremendous difference in your actual healing as well. At our office, we discuss medical care with our clients throughout the process. Regardless of any settlement, we are often able to provide answers about difficult issues in a complicated medical system.
Does the lawyer live or actually practice law here? Does the lawyer make himself available to answer your questions? Does the lawyer work throughout the process? Does the lawyer work his cases or does he leave it up to staff? Does the lawyer know how to handle medical testimony and evidence? Does the lawyer know how to handle medical bills and subrogation claims to save you money? Does the lawyer go to court (in injury cases) when needed for his or her clients? These are all important questions. I’ve written several past articles on this issue. Your case is too important to trust to a face on a billboard.
Myth Number 3: If A Lawyer Refers You To His Chiropractor Or Doctor It MUST Be A Good Idea
False! This is a big issue with many settlement mill lawyers. Your lawyer is supposed to build your case to get you the maximum recovery. But, many settlement mill lawyers have deals with a specific chiropractor that really harms you. I’ll give you a couple examples.
Almost every week, we receive a phone call like this — The person calls. They suffered a wreck and someone else was negligent. They were hurt. They hired a local television or billboard lawyer. That lawyer immediately sent the injured person to his specific chiropractor. The injured person thought this was great. After all, they thought they are getting someone to treat their injuries. Weeks or months pass. Now, the claim is ready for settlement. Suddenly, the injured person learns the at-fault driver only had limited insurance coverage. What’s worse, the chiropractor ran-up his charges. Low coverage and inflated charges mean the client loses! This means the chiropractor and lawyer will receive a huge chunk of the settlement instead of the person who was hurt.
We’ve received many phone calls like this where the injured person learned they were getting nothing out of the settlement. Don’t get me wrong — Medical care is costly. If the care restores your health, most of us would be fine with a large cost. I don’t want anyone to think I’m criticizing all chiropractors. I’m not. I’m criticizing the bad deals that hurt clients! The problem is that the whole process is shady and NOT in the best interest of the injured client. The lawyer did not explain any of the issues to the client. The lawyer did not work throughout the process to protect the client, help the client, and maximize the client’s recovery (both physical and monetarily). In many instances, the client is victimized twice — Once in the wreck and a second time by his lawyer.
I’ll give you another example. A lady called our office. Another driver rammed into the rear of her car. She hurt her knee badly. She went to the hospital emergency room and learned she suffered a torn ligament in her knee. She also had some neck pain from whiplash but this was minor compared to her knee. She hired a television advertising lawyer from Birmingham. That law firm immediately sent her to a chiropractor. She went. She told the chiropractor her knee was the serious injury. Yet, the chiropractor ignored her swollen knee. The chiropractor told her he would treat her neck and “run-up” the bills to get her a good settlement. This lady immediately fired her lawyer and the chiropractor. The lawyer and his chiropractor treated this injured lady unjustly. She deserved much, much better.
I understand that many injured people need advice and direction regarding their medical care and medical bills. I understand this includes advice about doctors and chiropractors. Most medical professionals want to help people. As a lawyer, our advice MUST always be for the benefit of the client! Unfortunately, too many settlement mill lawyers have turned this issue upside down and provide advice that helps them, not their clients. If you are hurt, it’s important to have an open and honest conversation with your legal counsel about medical care and possible medical referrals. They may be needed. They should always be in your interest.
Personal Injury Claims Present Many Issues. You Need Skilled Advice And Answers.
If you are hurt, do your research. Look for a skilled personal injury attorney who puts your interests first. Focus on your healing. Do not rush to resolve matters with the adjuster. Your claim is too important.