After you suffer an injury due to the fault of someone else, there are a lot of people who will want to speak with you about it. Any insurance company that has an interest in the matter will want to minimize their liability as quickly as possible. Your family and friends will likely have wide-ranging advice on what to do next. And, of course, all those lawyers screaming on TV about the gazillion dollars they can get you without even knowing what happened.
The truth about personal injury law is that it starts and stops with you, the client. You are the most important part of all of it. Too many attorneys have lost sight of that fact and it shows in their vanity. These commercials always star the attorney, and he is talking about all the big settlements he has won in the past. These attorneys aren’t your lawyer – they are television’s lawyer. You can’t call that office and expect to speak with that attorney. You can’t expect anyone there to know you by name. And you can’t believe they will know your case, your personal situation, or your pain. Those lawyers have lost sight of the client-focused representation model that good attorneys practiced before the TV lawyers took over the spotlight. You and your health are what is most important.
We’ve all seen the ads: “He got me $100,000 after I was rear ended in traffic”; “I fell at the grocery store and he got me $200,000”. We see these ads every day and, while they may become little more than white noise to some, they are convincing many people that getting injured is like hitting the lottery. That is the fallacy of today’s personal injury legal landscape. The people on commercials talking about these huge settlements aren’t necessarily lying, but they certainly aren’t being forthright. If you are injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you do have a right to be compensated for your injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. And that compensation usually comes through the at-fault party’s insurance company. But that insurance company does not want to pay you for any of that. Remember, this is a mammoth insurance company with teams of lawyers whose sole job is to minimize the company’s exposure in these situations. This is the same insurance company that kicks you out of the hospital the day after you give birth in order to save money. It’s the same company that tries to deny benefits to people diagnosed with cancer because of a “pre-existing condition”. And you think for one second this company is going to glance at your claim and cut you a check for your medical bills? Absolutely not. They will fight tooth and nail to minimize their financial liability because they are a business. They are trying to make money, not give it away.
The truth behind the people in these commercials is that, for whatever reason, they were seriously injured and incurred tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. That serious, sometimes lifelong injury is why they receive a large settlement or award from an insurance company. Real people would never consider serious or lifelong injuries to be like hitting the lottery.
- Concentrate on your treatment after an accident – not dollar signs.
- Don’t fight this battle alone. And don’t trust insurance companies.
- Have a lawyer on your side to make sure you understand your options and make sure you get the treatment that is necessary and proper.
- Have a counselor that you know and trust to handle the financial recovery.
- Work with an experienced and compassionate attorney who will advocate not only for your monetary compensation, but also your health and well being.
Instead of thinking about an injury as an easy payday, hope that you’re going to heal quickly – hope that you’re going to be able to continue living your life as you were before the injury. Ask anyone that has a permanent injury if there is an amount of money they wouldn’t pay to be healthy again. They would give up all the money from all the settlements on all the commercials to be healthy again. The only real winners after an accident are the ones that heal fully and quickly. And those people are still able to recover for their injuries, but not without a fight.