It sickens me when injured accident clients call and I explain why I can’t accept their ACCIDENT case. Since New Year’s I have rejected 5 Accident cases….3 were from 2017, 1 from 2016 and 2 were this year. One of those two did not treat with a doctor and the other had $250 in PD. Thus the defense argument “how could your client be injured if the car was not damaged?”
Accident victims/potential clients focus on the injury and not on harmful factors like: admitting liability at the scene, no immediate medical treatment, seeing a doctor they have seen before, who is at fault?, low property damage, prior accidents, no insurance, not contacting a lawyer right away, ongoing social media that shows the victim playing sports for months while complaining of their injury and most importantly talking to the adjuster. It is not what the client told the insurance company, but what the adjuster THOUGHT s/he heard.
We will never know the harmful things the client told the adjuster. The worst thing that can happen is learning of the client’s admissions to the adjuster in the middle of trial. The adjuster could testify the client said they were not hurt before they hired a lawyer. The implication is that the client only sought medical advice because of his lawyer.
I focus a large amount of my practice on collecting compensation for accident victims. Today it is more difficult to deal with the Deny & Delay claims strategies of insurance companies. For this reason, and those expressed herein, many California lawyers are reluctant to accept small whiplash/soft tissue cases.
When I first started practicing Personal Injury, I would send the medical bills and the insurance company would offer 3-4 times the medicals as a settlement. Those days are gone.
Now we see $9,000 in medicals and the insurance company will offer $5,000. That is not enough to pay the doctors let alone legal fees. Clearly there would be no money for the client. For example, a case that would formerly result in a jury verdict or settlement of $15,000 would today only draw an offer or verdict of $5,000-$7,500.
Thus the attorney has to find a way to generate money for the client and this often involves begging the doctor to cut their bills. Most lawyers feel it is just not worth it to argue with doctors to cut bills in addition to arguing with insurance companies and or defense lawyers to put money on the case. All the while, the client is unable to understand why their case is not worth more money and or settling sooner.
In November, a Monterey CC resident presented what would have been a great case, TWO MONTHS EARLIER…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, thus another reason to reject.
Small cases are now worth a fraction of what they would have garnered a few years ago. For the reasons expressed herein, most experienced desert PI lawyers are reluctant to accept small whiplash cases.
If you have any questions regarding this column or ideas for future columns please contact Dale Gribow 760 837-7500 or email@example.com.
“TOP LAWYER” – Palm Springs Life-(Accidents) 2011-18
“TOP LAWYER” Inland Empire Magazine Nov 2016
PERFECT 10.0 AVVO Peer Rating
“PREEMINENT” Rating – Martindale Hubbell Legal Directory