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Category Archives: What’s my case worth?

Questions to Ask Your Potential Car Accident Attorney

By | Attorney Fees, Hiring an Attorney, What's my case worth? | No Comments

Being involved in a car accident is often a stressful and confusing time in a person’s life. An important step that many people choose to take after being involved in a car accident is hiring a car accident attorney to assist them in securing their rights against the other party.

Just as important as hiring a car accident attorney is hiring the right car accident attorney. Below is a list of questions that you should ask before hiring someone to represent you after your car accident.

  • How many car accident cases have you handled, and what were the outcomes of these cases
  • How many car accident cases have you successfully settled and what were the outcomes of these settlements
  • In personal injury cases, do you usually represent the insurance company or the injured claimant
  • Have you previously handled any cases similar to mine
  • How much do you charge for your services, and by what method — i.e. hourly or flat rate — do you charge
  • What other fees — such as court fees and costs — do you anticipate being associated with my case
  • Why do you think I do or do not have a strong case
  • Can you approximate what types of damages I may be able to receive and what amount I am likely to recover

Car accidents and “low-ball” settlement offers

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The Consumer Federation of America is warning that software and other programs used by insurance companies to evaluate car accident injury claims result in “low-ball” settlement offers. The main problem is that, while the software considers “general” damages such as pain, suffering and anguish, it fails to calculate any “special” damages.  The software doesn’t use the following to “calculate” a car accident claim:

  • Past or future bills
  • Reductions in wages (future lost income)
  • Credibility of witnesses
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Auto Accident Claims: Personal Injury vs. Property Damage

By | Personal Injury, Property Damage, What's my case worth? | No Comments

Most people don’t realize that two [main] claims stem from car accidents:
1) Property Damage Claim
2) Personal Injury Claim

Insurance companies will generally settle the property damage claim within the first month after the car accident. The main reason is that the car accident victim is entitled to reasonable expenses for a rental car. Insurance companies don’t want to let a big car rental bill run up. Note that the insurance company doesn’t have to pay for your rental car up front. They only reimburse you later, which is a hassle if you can’t work due to the auto accident.

The personal injury claim on the other hand can often take over a year to complete. It’s very unwise for the injured claimant to settle the claim before finishing treatment (you won’t know the full extent of your bills and injuries). The claim can also take a longer if a lawsuit needs to be filed. Some insurance companies make it their “standard procedure” to wait until a lawsuit is filed before they will even make a reasonable offer.

Elements of Liability in an Auto Accident Case

By | Negligence, What's my case worth? | No Comments

To recover in an auto accident case, the plaintiff has to prove negligence. To quote the Oklahoma Uniform Jury Instructions:

Instruction No. 9.1
NEGLIGENCE- ELEMENTS OF LIABILITY

A party claiming damages has the burden of proving each of the following propositions:

First, that [he/she] has sustained injury;
Second, that the party from whom [he/she] seeks to recover was negligent;
And, third, that such negligence was a direct cause of the injury sustained by the claiming party.

“Why isn’t my car accident case worth more?”

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“My back was killing me for over 3 months. Why isn’t my case worth more?”

I had a client recently ask this. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll call him Bob. Bob was rear ended last year and was rushed to the hospital immediately after a car accident.

The seat he was in snapped back and Bob thought that he had been knocked out. His neck and back were both hurting quite a bit. The emergency room ran up a pretty good bill because they did a CT scan (Bob thought he had a concussion and was dazed; “So, they scanned my cat.”).

Bob checked out of the ER with soft tissue injuries, some prescriptions for a muscle relaxer, and some pain medicine. He was also instructed to go to a follow up doctor if he was still having neck and back pain.

After missing work for a few days, Bob decided he could “tough it out,” and went back to work. This is great, but his neck and back still gave him trouble. He was in a lot of pain at work and around the house. Two months later, Bob’s back is still bothering him. He’s tough though, so he doesn’t bother to go to a doctor.

Bob called me about six months after the accident. His neck and back had finally healed and he was curious as to why the insurance company hadn’t called him and offered to settle his personal injury claim.

The case has since settled for a reasonable amount. At the time though, Bob was a little frustrated because he wasn’t able to get compensated for any pain and suffering for the 3 months that his back was bothering.

So, moral of the story: Go to a doctor if you are hurt. An insurance company, understandably looks at personal injury victim’s medical records for proof of an injury.