Have you been injured in an car accident?
Don’t wait, lawyer up. First of all a little cautionary note. Below I’m expressing some generalities, and particularly cases where a car accident or a Motor Vehicle Accident (“MVA”) has not resulted in extended hospital stays, gross disfigurement’s or even death. Those are the most extreme examples. And it should be pretty evident that the impact on lives in these circumstances is severe.
Most of the people we talk to have had serious car accidents, but not to the extreme where it put them in ICU for a week. And in those cases I see people bounce between two ends of a spectrum. People seem to “ebb & flow” with varying degrees.
On one end is the pacifist. Sort of a “live and let live” mentality. Usually when meeting in my office this person may be more worried about medical bills, lost income and the vehicle damage. Often they simply wish that these economic stressors would be covered and paid by the at fault party in exchange for the “forgive and forget” solution. Psychologically I think they are often thanking God that the injuries are not more serious and to demonstrate their own benevolence are looking for some conciliatory “live and let live” conclusion. For Christians, there is sometimes a consideration the Scriptures as referenced in 1 Corinthians 6:1 – 20 or Matthew 5:25.
But then pain is not such a funny thing. It is incessant. Like the slow drip of Chinese water torture, before too long it can drive you insane.
So on the other end of the spectrum is the “hyper-aggressor”. This person’s pain and the experience is so bad, they just want it to stop and “someone’s got HELL to pay for what this car accident has done do to me!”. There’s a psychological component to all this that’s not easy to explain. But when we say “Pain & Suffering”, this is the suffering part. This can be especially true for the non-injured family members who are first-hand witnesses to a loved ones under severe duress. This is usually when I receive an instruction to “…sue them and take them for everything they got.”
Before too long things tend to level out and the reality sets in that in this car accident/MVA: i) You did not have a target on your back; ii) You are not being singled out; and iii) You have to fight (or hire someone to fight for you) so your not taken advantage of by an industry rigged against you. Sooner or later most folks conclude that they need to lawyer up just get the basic, fair and reasonable solution you and I know they deserve. And, it’s a FIGHT.
Well why is that? In a word, INSURANCE.
Insurance companies are set up to make money. They collect your premiums and put them into investments which yield returns. Those investments are things such as the stock market. The longer the investment, the better the returns. If you asked for a claim to be paid you’re asking them to sell their investment, and that is not something they are interested in doing.
Truly nearly all major auto insurance companies live and make a profit by on holding your money. The premiums they collect are less than the amount of claims they paid. However the interest earned on the investments not only makes up the difference between premiums collected and claims paid, but earns the insurance company a tidy profit.
In my career I have witnessed the behavior of the claims offices of insurance companies’ change, clearly dependent on how the economy and markets are doing. If the economy is bad in the stock market is weak management sends down a notice to the claims office with a loud bullhorn “quit paying claims”. In the later part of 2017 however, I’m seeing the financial markets do better and some signs that some insurance carriers may be preparing to “adjust” claim more fairly.
Adjusters are those people who work in the claims office. They are “adjusting” a claim. There are people who wake up in the morning, brush their teeth, comb their hair, and go to the office where their job is NOT TO PAY YOU! They get pay raises and promotions based on how well they DON’T pay you. So here you are every month writing your faithful check (or Bill Pay) to the insurance company who without hesitation or skipping a beat accepts it without question, every single time. Yet the second you try to make a fair and reasonable claim is met with resistance, and accusations, and slanderous talk to make you feel like you are an advantageous sue happy piece of crap.
Of course most adjusters don’t start off this way. Most are going to be “professional” to you, accommodating and almost nearly pleasant. But make no mistake. Their effort here is to document their file with everything that they need to ensure they PAY YOU AS LITTLE AS POSSILBE. And once that task is complete this individual will have as little to do with you as possible, because they need to move on to the next file/claim.
It’s that simple folks. I’m telling you the truth. Jeff Soud.
Priority To-Do List
- Focus on your healthcare.
- Lawyer up ASAP – we’ve got a case to build and evidence to develop. Police officers and accident reports are not admissible evidence in your case. As the plaintiff you have the burden of proving your case. Proving your case means developing evidence. Speaking to witnesses. Photographing scenes and documenting injuries.
- Do not worry about the bills – we will seek a forbearance and negotiate any liens or outstanding balances.
- Anticipate this process to take between 6 to 9 months from date of accident to an opportunity of settlement. Your healthcare drives the timeline. So relax, and see 1.
One thing you have to understand, and it is critically important: an at-fault driver is NOT required to buy insurance to cover YOUR bodily injury resulting from the crash. This doesn’t mean that driver is illegal. This simply means they didn’t have enough money to buy insurance to cover the people they hurt. By my estimation one and four cars don’t have enough coverage for you or your family. So to me one of the most important coverage on your automobile policy is what’s called “UM coverage”. UM stands for “uninsured” or “under insured” motorist coverage. If this is not familiar to you then definitely check out the download for some information and worksheets related to purchasing insurance and the coverage you might consider.
Pro Tip – “Focus On Your Health”
It’s about EVIDENCE – You Prove It. In order to have a viable legal case (a good financial recovery) you have to have a doctor conclude, based on his or her excellent treatment records, that the MVA has caused you a permanent impairment. I’m not talking about a “disability”. A permanent impairment in accordance with Florida statute 627.737. MRI’s with significant findings are excellent “objective” evidence in your case.