Friday, May 23, 2014

Do You NEED A Personal Injury Attorney To Settle Your Claim? Maybe Not (But You May WANT One...)

Recently I decided to take on the task of fixing a running toilet. In the interest of full disclosure, being handy man around the house is not one of my strong suits.

General grunt labor--mowing, trimming, mulching, gardening? I'm all in and I'll outwork anyone. Home repair--electrical, plumbing, fiddling with small engines and appliances--not so much. My two general rules of home repair are (1) force and jam everything; and (2) if it breaks it needed to be replaced anyway.

And so it was with my feeble attempt at fixing the toilet. After watching a few YouTube videos, I thought I was up to the task. Long story short, after about 2 hours, I said to my wife--"to hell with it" and called the plumber, and $158 later, all was well with the toilet. I'd like to think that, eventually, I could have cracked the toilet code without cracking the toilet, but I also realized that I would have spent way too much time fiddling with a toilet on a weekend (and, after all, the walleye are starting to bite), with no guarantee that I could have fixed it.

Lesson: I probably NEEDED a plumber to complete the task. Personal injury cases are no different. Frequently, you'll NEED one to help you, particularly if you've had any kind of follow up treatment after your collision, such as continued visits to your doctor or chiropractor, physical therapy, diagnostic tests, etc. This is where it can get complicated when you go it alone with the at fault insurance company's adjuster.

There's a TON of mistakes you can make without even knowing it, as I have written about in our free book: "Your Ohio Accident: Sorting Through The Insurance Maze." But what if your auto accident injury claim is relatively straightforward? What if the adjuster promised to "work with you" and you're inclined to give it a shot on your own?

Recently I met with a man whose 18 year old son was in a collision. He went to the ER, had a few follow up office visits with the family doctor, and a brief stint of physical therapy. He was inclined to try to resolve his son's claim on his own. I explained some of the issues he faced, and answered some practical questions he had about who was going to pay the medical bills, the release, etc.

There were a few things I pointed out that he hadn't thought through. At the end of the meeting, I told him that a good number of my clients realize they don't have a significant injury claim, but they're tired of dealing with all the paperwork, the phone calls, and worry about not tying up loose ends that may come back to bite them after they settle the case. They are happy to turn the whole file over to me with the trust and knowledge that the claim will be competently negotiated and that all straggler issues, like accounting for, negotiating, and paying all outstanding bills and reimbursement and subrogation claims, will be finalized.

I left the decision to him. Two hours later he called and said: "I want you to handle it and get it off my back."
For him, hiring an attorney for his son was more a case of WANT rather than a matter of NEED. It was more about washing his hands of the aggravation than worrying about the value of his son's injury claim.

I told him I can relate to that, just like my call to the plumber.....


Monday, May 5, 2014

Why We Do What We Do....

Over the weekend I received the nicest thank you from the son of an elderly couple I represented. His Mom and Dad were involved in an auto accident, and the son contacted me after doing an Internet search.

 Long story short, Mom was injured, had a fair amount of treatment, and the family had been dealing on their own with the insurance company for months. After getting mixed messages as to the adjuster's intention to settle the claim on fair terms, they called me.

It was a straightforward case and after gathering all the medical records and evaluating the claim with the clients, we were able to successfully resolve the claim with the at fault driver's insurance company.  It wasn't a "big case" as that term goes.

But no matter the case, the real problem accident victims face when dealing with the insurance company on their own is the lack of a frame of reference as to whether what they're being told or offered is fairly accurate of a load of nonsense. They have no measuring stick with which to gauge what they're being told. Most folks who are injured after a crash  are concerned that their bills and other out of pocket losses will be taken care of, and  they are treated fairly by the insurance company with a decent offer. And they don't want any loose ends to crop up after the case is resolved.

These goals are well within reach even in cases not involving serious or catastrophic injury. The son's heartfelt thank you for helping his elderly parents meant much more to me than the fee that was generated.
Thank you's like that make Monday mornings a lot more easy to take.....!