The accident victim’s experience handling prior injury claims may be a huge factor in determining how much a personal injury case is worth. All things equal, in most cases if an insurance adjuster or personal injury attorney is injured and he or she represents himself, he or she will get a higher settlement than someone who is injured and who has only handled a few (or none) injury claims before.
I was in car accident in Orlando when I was twenty or so years old. I was so wet behind the ears, in regards to injury claims (and life), that I did not even think about making an injury claim even though I had some neck pain. Fortunately, my neck pain resolved in a day or so. When I would speak with the claims adjuster, it was like I was the man who is sweating in the above picture and the adjuster was having a day at the beach. It was my first go around.
Fortunately, my friend’s father (who was an insurance agent) gave me some tips on how to deal with my property damage claim. But I did not make a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim adds to the complexity of a car accident case or other type of case.
Even during my first several years of practice, I would ask other attorneys general legal questions almost daily about Florida injury law. This is despite that fact that I graduated with honors from a great law school, the University of Miami, and interned for two (2) injury law firms for about five (5) months prior to starting practicing.
There is simply so much to know. As the Florida population grows daily, the amount of cases being filed increases and the amount of law that is created increases daily as well. The public does not have the benefit of access to private list servers (online forums) where attorneys can ask questions about personal injury law.
From one day to the next, a case can come out that had a dramatic change on injury law. For example, just a few years ago, a Federal appeals court ruled that the Florida collateral source statute is a law regulating insurance, and thus insured health plans are subject to it. This can result in a huge savings to a Florida injury victim who is negotiating his or her health insurance lien, and even allows for a waiver in some cases if the proper letter is sent via certified mail, and the health insurer fails to respond in time.
A tremendous amount of legal information on the internet is outdated. I do my best to go back and update any changes to previously written articles, but with so much law and over 265 articles on this site, it is tough to correct every article.
While the public can ask questions on some accident legal information websites, most attorneys are very hesitant to give advice and often just say, “Every case is different. You should speak with an attorney in your state immediately.” This does not help the injured person other than encouraging someone to make the smart decision of hiring an attorney.
When attorneys do give an answer to the injured person’s question, it is often incorrect because the law, similar to a liability insurance policy, is filled with exceptions (and exceptions to exceptions). Have you ever tried reading an auto insurance policy. The level of reading is difficult. I say this after handling auto injury claims for over 11 years.
This is one of the reasons I am hesitant in certain cases to respond to questions asked on this blog. Most of my responses include many questions in response to the commenter’s original question.
Most personal injury claims adjusters have handed hundreds or thousands of cases. I love the quote, “When a person with money meets a person with experience, the person with experience leaves with the money and the person with money leaves with an experience.” The injured person is the person with money (or most often needs money), and the claims adjuster is the person with experience.
The claims adjuster often settles the case with additional money that is left on the table, even when he or she says that they are making his or her top offer. I say this after speaking with many claims adjusters over the past eleven plus years.
If someone’s carelessness caused your injury, a good barometer that may help you decide whether to hire an attorney is whether you know the purpose behind every question on this detailed twenty-one page personal injury questionnaire. In addition, depending on your type of case, you should know the purpose behind every question on this (9) nine page slip and fall questionnaire or five (5) page motor vehicle accident questionnaire.
Over 51 Important factors may affect the settlement value of a Florida injury case.
The injured person’s past claims experience is just one of the 51 factors that may affect the settlement value of a Florida injury case. There are countless other factors as well.
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