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 CV lawyers, AS OF MARCH 2022, are reluctant to accept whiplash claims or cases where LIABILITY IS IN QUESTION.
When I first started practicing Personal Injury Auto Accidents cases, I would send the medical bills to the insurance company, and they 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 offers $5,000. That is not enough to pay the doctors and legal fees, and 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 garner 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 just is not worth it to have 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 for all the pain they endured.
Recently, a Monterey Country Club resident presented 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 until this week. She also talked to the adjuster.
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 clearly from that 2 month old accident. They would ask “Mr. Gribow, how do we know that she did not recently slip in the shower or fall playing tennis?
Most potential clients focus on the injury, like broken bones. They do not consider the harmful factors like: admitting liability at the scene, no immediate medical treatment, who is at fault, low property damage, prior accidents, no insurance, not contacting a lawyer right away, social media that shows them playing sports for months while complaining of their injury and talking to the adjuster. It is not what the client told the insurance company adjuster, 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 admissions to the adjuster in the middle of the 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.
Recently, the Howell Case decreased the value of these whiplash cases. Today, if the med bill is $100,000 and the health insurance pays $90,000 and your obligation is $10k, you can only present the $10,000 to the jury. The amount of monetary damage to the victim, is now what the victim paid out of pocket.
Small cases are now worth a fraction of what they would have garnered 10 years ago. For the reasons expressed herein, many experienced desert lawyers, specializing in accident cases, are reluctant to accept simple auto whiplash cases.
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
DRINKING AND TEXTING BOTH CAUSE ARRESTS AND ACCIDENTS, OR MAKE A DRIVER LESS LIKELY TO AVOID A DUI INDUCED ARREST OR ACCIDENT… THAT WOULD NOT BE THEIR FAULT.
BEING INTOXICATED, IS JUST AS SERIOUS AS BEING INTEXTICATED.
A DRIVER MUST DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO AVOID AN AT FAULT ACCIDENT.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS “DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE OR TEXT, AND GET A DUI OR ACCIDENT… CALL A TAXI, LYFT OR UBER….THEY ARE A LOT CHEAPER THAN CALLING ME”.
REPRESENTING THE INJURED AND CRIMINALLY ACCUSED
“TOP LAWYER” – California’s Prestige Magazine, Palm Springs Life (PI/DUI) 2011-22
“TOP LAWYER” – Inland Empire Magazine
PERFECT 10.0 AVVO Peer Rating
“PREEMINENT” Rating – Martindale Hubbell Legal Directory
“BEST Attorneys of America” Selected by “Rue” (Limited to Top 100 Attorneys/state)
“10 Best Attorneys” for California
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