By Dale Gribow
Believe it or not many lawyers do have a heart. I feel like crying after rejecting a victim’s case with big injuries. Unfortunately most potential clients focus on the injury and not on the harmful negative factors like: admitting liability at the scene; no immediate medical treatment; being at or partly at fault: low property damage; prior accidents; no auto insurance; talking to the adjuster; not contacting a lawyer right away and social media showing the victim playing sports for months while complaining of an injury. It is not what the client told the insurance company but what the adjuster THOUGHT was said.
During my weekly “Accidentally Yours” radio show, for years I advised victims to not hire an attorney who had not been an accident victim enduring with the resulting pain. Sadly many lawyers that have not been in an accident do not have the empathy for the victim who is seeking their guidance. They do not understand what the victim is going through.
Having practiced for 30+ years and been an accident victim that treated with chiros, orthos & physical therapists, I know what it is like to not be able to hold your baby or grandchild after the doctor says not to lift anything over 15 lbs. I remember not being able to lift trash cans or luggage, being in pain and being in a lousy mood.
We are all like a 12 oz. bottle holding our stress and responsibility and after an accident with all the extra stress we try to fit 24 ounces into the 12 oz. bottle and it overflows. When it does we take out our stress on our spouse and kids and this is why so many accident victims have trouble with their marriage post-accident.
Last week alone I rejected 3 PI cases with good injuries. One did not call the police because the other driver accepted liability at the scene and they felt ok at the time. The other side later changed their story and it became liars poker because there was no wit.
Another did not seek medical attention and refused the ambulance because she did not have the money for the ER and ambulance. She did not understand that the “at fault” driver would be responsible for these bills and their lawyer would get doctors on a lien to treat them. An experienced lawyer does not want to accept a case knowing his client will not be happy with the results.
On July 22, 2016 a Monterey CC resident came in with what would have been a great case, TWO MONTHS AGO…when it happened. To her credit she had Blue Cross and went to Eisenhower, but did not have any follow up medical treatment. She also talked to the adjuster several times.
With a driver having a prior accident, no matter what we argued to the insurance company or jury I know that it would be a challenge to convince them that today’s complaints were not from that old accident. They would ask “Mr. Gribow, how do we know that she did not recently slip in the shower or at the pool or fall playing tennis and tried to tie them into this new case?”
When a client talks to the adjuster we will never know the harmful things the client innocently said. The worst thing that can happen is learning of admissions to the adjuster in the middle of trial. The adjuster could testify as to what the client said right after the accident and BEFORE the client hired a lawyer. The implication is that the client only filed and sought medical advice because of his lawyer.
If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow 760-837-7500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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