BY DALE GRIBBOW
Clients ask this at the beginning of the case and before or while the victim is still treating. Upon signing a new accident case I give each new client my “OVERVIEW OF AN ACCIDENT CASE”. I initially explain that we contact both the client’s and defendants insurance company to share information. We then notify your medical providers of our representation and monitor your treatment and possibly coordinate additional medical providers.
Of course we rely upon the client to keep us updated on the status of their treatment. After these and other initial steps there is usually little to be done until the client has concluded their doctor’s treatment. Upon the conclusion of your treatment we will then gather any remaining medical record and bills and be better able to evaluate and assess your claims. At that time, we can submit them to the adjuster and begin the process of advancing your claims to a successful conclusion.
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK I MIGHT GET, JUST A ROUGH IDEA?
Many years ago the insurance company on a soft tissue case would just multiply the medical bills by 3 or 4 and offer that amount to settle. Then they realized a bill of $5,000 for x-rays etc. is not worth as much as $5,000 of physical therapy. Today all insurance companies use a computer program called Colossus. It plugs in the injuries and bills and spits out an amount the adjuster can offer.
Because of this program it is more important than ever before that you hire a lawyer who focuses on accident cases… to guide you and your medical providers. An accident victim needs a doctor who specializes in Treating AND Writing a medical report. Though it does not seem right there is a difference between a doctor who says there is a 50% chance of a full recovery and saying a 50% chance the patient will not make a full recovery. For years I lectured annually to the International College of Surgeons at their annual seminar teaching them How to Write a Medical/Legal Report.
A patient needs a doctor who does not say “go home and soak in a hot bath and call in a month and to take aspirins if there is any pain.” When you call in a month it takes another 2-3 weeks to get a doctor’s appointment. Thus after a few months there is very little in medical bills. Thus the insurance company argues that if the patient was really injured they would have treated on a regular basis.
When a client come into the office I explain that a lawyer can no more tell you what your case is worth when s/he meets you, than a doctor can diagnose you without treatment and tests etc. A lawyer will not even begin to evaluate your case until your treatment has concluded and we know not only what the total amount of the bills are but also are advised what your med condition had been in the past and what it will be like in the future. Even then it is not a precise formula or process as we have to look at whether our client was partially at fault.
You are an individual and your injuries are as unique and as individual as are you. We can only assure you that our office will obtain the maximum amount of settlement possible given the individual facts of your personal situation.
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.
“TOP LAWYER” – Palm Springs Life-(Accidents) 2011-17
“TOP LAWYER”- Inland Empire Magazine Nov., 2016
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