What Is Your Experience Handling Personal Injury Cases?
I have been practicing for over 40 years, all in the area of personal injury. I started my practice working for Allstate insurance company as a defense attorney handling matters on behalf of its insureds who were being sued for negligence. During those eight years with Allstate, I tried cases up and down the northern counties of New Jersey and in the federal courts of New York and New Jersey. By the time I left the company I had tried more than 100 jury trials to conclusion. I started my practice in 1984, and I’ve been a solo practitioner from that time forward, focusing my practice on the representation of injured persons, in cases involving automobile negligence, slip-and-falls, injuries due to defective products, and injuries due to medical negligence.
What Are Some Misconceptions People Have When It Comes to the Personal Injury Claim and Recovery Process?
The entire personal injury field is affected by the exorbitant claims of recoveries made by many firms and individuals who advertise heavily. They represent themselves as lawyers who regularly recover millions of dollars, so individuals have the misconception that the majority of cases achieve that kind of recovery. That type of marketing plays into the stereotype of the ambulance-chasing lawyers, a stereotype I try really hard to avoid falling into. I do not oversell what I think I can recover for clients. I try to be realistic in discussing the kind of case that they have, and the value of those cases. Although I have had significant recoveries, I don’t represent that every case that walks through my door is going to recover six- or seven-figure amounts. I try to be fair with my clients or prospective clients by managing their expectations so that, at the end of the case, they are not disappointed by a recovery that was overpromised.
- If I’ve Been Injured in an Accident Caused by Someone Else, Should I Exchange Information With the Other Driver? Is It Safe to Discuss the Accident With Them?
- If I’m Able, What Evidence Is Important to Gather at the Scene of the Accident in Addition to Contact Names?
- If I Waited to Seek Medical Treatment Following My Accident, Can I Still File a Personal Injury Claim Against the At-Fault Driver Later?
- Should I Notify the Other Driver’s Insurance Company of the Accident That Caused My Injury?
- Should I Wait to Pay All of My Medical Bills Until I Receive a Full Settlement in My Personal Injury Case?
- What Are Some of the Other Ways That People Who Should Rightfully Win Their Claim Against the At-Fault Party Have Self-Sabotaged Their Own Case?
Do People Who’ve Been Injured Make Small or Innocent Mistakes While Their Case Is Ongoing That Hurt Their Chance of Receiving a Good Settlement?
One thing that can potentially be very damaging to a case is when clients go on social media and post things about their case that can be used against them by the other side. It’s common now for individuals to have a strong social media presence and all too easy for them to post representations of themselves that can be misinterpreted. To give an example, I had a client, a female boxer, who had a shoulder injury, and part of her claim was that she was unable to compete now as a result of her injury. She was also a model. The defense attorney brought up the fact that she had representations of herself in boxing gear from her social media account. We had to clarify that those pictures were actually for her modeling career. The pictures on her Facebook page could have influenced the value of her case because they made it look as though she was still boxing while trying to claim a shoulder injury.
Another thing that people do to potentially injure their case is talking to the insurance company before hiring a lawyer. In some instances the insurance company representative will offer a fraction of the case value to try to induce an early settlement. We really try to emphasize to clients how important it is that they do not speak to the insurance company, even if it’s the insurance company adjuster who initiates contact. Once the insurance company representative knows that the client is represented, the company should not be initiating contact, but that does not always prevent them from doing so.
What Would You Ideally Like This Book to Do for Your Readers?
It’s my intention that this book provides readers with an overview of the injury claims process and gives them a realistic idea of what a personal injury case entails, and what their responsibility to the case would be. I also hope to set realistic expectations in terms of the duration of the case and what things go into the value of the case.
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