Monthly Archives: November 2010

Are we going to have to file a lawsuit for my car accident?

By | Accidents, Car, Personal Injury | No Comments

I had a new client ask: “Are we going to have to file a lawsuit for my car accident?  I don’t want the stress of having to go to trial.”

Surprisingly (or not, depending on your view), most cases settle.  Back in February ’09, I posted a statistic that “about 97 percent of civil cases are settled or dismissed without a trial.”

Mind you, this number doesn’t actually include the number of claims that are settled without a lawsuit actually being filed.  A high percentage of car accident claims are settled before a lawsuit is filed.  There’s even law firms and attorneys that will not file a lawsuit (trying cases is time consuming and demanding).  If they can’t get the case settled pre-suit, they refer their clients to attorneys willing to try cases (like us!).   I believe insurance companies facing attorneys that won’t “go the distance” will value those car accident claims much lower.  Insurance companies track opposing attorneys, and likely know how much certain firms will settle for.

Here’s a typical time-line of a car accident case:

  • Car Accident Occurs
  • ER Visits, Diagnostics, Followup Treatments, etc.
  • Property damage claim settled
  • Once medical treatment is completed or max medical improvement is reached: Our demand packet (summary of your case and offer to settle with all documentation) is sent to the insurance company
  • At this point, the insurance company will often offer to settle the personal injury claim for less than the case is “worth”
  • Settlement negotiations continue with the insurance company.  At this point the adjuster will eventually give their “final offer.”  Some times this is reasonable, sometimes not.
  • If the final settlement offer is unreasonable, and our client wants to keep going (some people want to “get it over with” even if the offer isn’t for the full value), we file a lawsuit.
  • A lot of insurance companies will increase their settlement offer at this point – even if the facts of the case haven’t changed.
  • We’ll have depositions and exchange discovery (interrogatories, etc.), and line up any doctors or experts needed.
  • Settlement negotiations and preparations for trial continue.
  • Sometimes we’ll have a mediation at this point to help get the case settled.
  • If settlement talks fall through, the case goes to trial.

Law Firm Management with Software as a Service (SaaS)

By | Law Office Productivity | 9 Comments

Our firm switched to SaaS because it makes the tech side of things easier. It does everything the onsite software does, except it’s easier to update, to implement, and it’s painless to access from anywhere. Here’s the basics of what we use to manage our practice:

Email and Calendar: Google Apps

Case Management Software: AdvologixPM

Document Management Software: NetDocuments

Read More

Darvon, Darvocet Withdraw at FDAs request

By | Darvon/Darvocet Lawsuit, Product Liability | No Comments

Recent studies have linked the active ingredient (propoxyphene) in Darvon and Darvocet to serious and sometimes fatal heart rhythm abnormalities. The FDA requested the withdrawal of the products last week.
Calls for the products withdrawal have been ongoing for years. A group call Public Citizen’s Health Research Group petitioned the FDA to ban the substance in 2006.

Where can this Oklahoma City car accident victim sue?

By | Accidents, Car | No Comments

This is almost always a non-issue. After all, with I-35 running through our great state, accidents with motorists from out-of-state are bound to happen.

Example: Someone from Texas rear-ends you here in Oklahoma City. Where can you bring a case against this person, since he or she does not reside in Oklahoma? Do you have to go to Texas?

Fortunately not: In Oklahoma, “venue” in car accident cases is in the county where any defendant may be served or the accident (damages) occurred. This means that in our example, suit could be brought where the accident/injury occurred or where we can get service on the defendant.

Why we use Google Apps for our law office

By | Law Office Productivity | No Comments

We used to run an on-site Microsoft Exchange Server for our email and calendars.  It worked okay.   Anytime we had problems with it though, we’d have to call our tech guy.

We ended up switching to Google Apps about a year ago.  The main reason I prefer Gmail to outlook is that it groups everything by conversation.  This saves time and is really easy to use.   Plus, we’ve never had to call our tech guy about email or calendar problems.

For those in your office that swear by Outlook, they can still use it.  The back-end will be the only thing different.  But, it will be generally be easier to log on from the internet and sync your phones to it.  We had people in our office that stayed with Outlook after we initially switched over.  Within two weeks they were using Gmail full time.

One of the really nice things about Google is that they keep making improvements.  How often is your Outlook software improved?  For example, Google just announced that they’re adding a voice to text feature for their Google Docs platform for use with cell phones.

Here’s some handy stuff/benefits we can use (we don’t use all of them at this time, but it’s nice to be able to easily add the stuff):

  • Google Chat (think Instant Messenger if you haven’t used it)
  • Adding attachments – it’s very easy to drag and drop them into the email
  • Viewing attachments in a new window or tab without having to download them
  • Google Search – it runs a lot faster than Outlook and seems to be more exact
  • Sign out all other sessions – this will sign me out on any computer I left signed in
  • All email in one place (even with other providers)
  • Email filtering – I can tag specific email address that will automatically go to a folder.  The good thing about this: I can specify if I want it to be in both my inbox and the specific folder (for safe keeping)
  • Calendar – It’s really easy to use and we have everyone in the firm’s calendar viewable, so we can easily schedule stuff for other people.
  • Google Docs – It’s easy for me to draft a document without having to email it somewhere
  • Google Labs – they have all sorts of free add-on.  Do you like to have weather info on your calendar automatically updated?
  • It just works – whether that’s logging in at home/work/cell phone

“Health insurance paid for surgery caused by car accident”

By | Accidents, Car, Medical Bills | No Comments

What happens with my health insurance company when they pay for my surgery that was caused by a car accident that was not my fault?  Will I get to keep my settlement?

If your car accident case settles (or there’s a court verdict) for damages, you’re insurance company will want to be reimbursed.  This is called their right of subrogation.  Note that you will still be able to keep the rest of the settlement for your pain and suffering and any lost income that’s included in the settlement.

Should I get a second estimate on my car?

By | Property Damage | No Comments

I had a new client ask this recently:

The adjuster came out to my house and did a full write up.  His estimate for the property damage is $2500.  Do you think it’s necessary for me to take my car to an auto body shop to get an estimate?

Of course!  Insurance adjuster estimates are generally, but not always, low.  You certainly don’t want to settle the property damage claim, and then take the car in just to find out it’s going to cost a lot more.  Insurance adjusters are human too, so even if they had good intentions, they could have missed something on your car.

Owing more on your car than it’s worth

By | Accidents, Car | No Comments

It seems like several times a week I meet with someone that was just in a car accident and owes more on their car than it’s worth. Under Oklahoma law, the person who caused the accident does not have to pay what you owe on the car, but the fair market value of the car (assuming it was totaled). How can you help protect against this scenario, and avoid being stuck with car payments and no car to show for them?

Check out GAP Insurance.

Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP) insurance pays the difference between the actual value of the car and the remaining balance on the loan. Assuming the premium isn’t too high, it’s worth considering adding to your policy.