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Articles Tagged with adjuster

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Blackwell Law Firm -- Alabama Accident & Injury AttorneysYou suffered a car accident caused by another driver. You are injured. Suddenly, you face many questions. How can I get needed medical care? Will I heal quickly? What happens if I lose my job because I’m hurt? How will I pay my medical bills? How will I deal with the insurance company?

Then, you speak with the insurance adjuster. The adjuster may promise to help you quickly. The adjuster may even promise to pay your medical bills. It happens all the time — The adjuster acts like they are ready to pay your bills and take care of you. Most of the time, it’s not true. Most of the time, the adjuster wants to buy time to protect the insurance company.

The adjuster wants you to provide a recorded statement OR to sign an authorization so the insurance company can dig through your medical records OR simply to string you along. The adjuster tells you information is needed to get you paid. Maybe it is. More likely, it’s an effort to investigate your claim and look for potential reasons to deny it.

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Alabama Accident & Injury AttorneysI recently wrote a post titled How Settlement Mill Lawyers Harm Car Accident Victims:  You Hired A LAWYER But Did NOT Receive One. In that article I discussed a real problem with settlement mill law firms. At settlement mill law firms, all the work and attention is performed by staff members instead of lawyers. Injury victims think they are getting a lawyer but they are not.

After writing that article, I read a Florida case where this issue almost cost a client tremendously. What happened? A car accident victim hired a law firm. The firm gathered his medical records. The firm then sent a quick demand letter to the insurance company, State Farm. Because the injured client’s bills were substantial, the firm intended to demand the full policy limits of $100,000. Oops! Instead, the firm’s letter demanded only $10,000 to settle the case. Apparently, the lawyer never read the demand letter. In settlement mill law firms, a “legal assistant” or “case manager” often writes and communicates with the insurance company. Where is the lawyer? That’s a good question. Some settlement mill firms function like assembly lines handling a volume of cases. The work product is bad. If you are hurt, you deserve to have a lawyer working your case. When State Farm received the letter offering to accept $10,000 instead of $100,000, it quickly responded by accepting in writing.

What a potential disaster! What happened next? The parties had to litigate the issue through Florida’s courts. In the end, an appellate court in Florida saved the client by holding that no settlement contract existed because of the mistake. The injured person dodged a terrible result and salvaged his case. The law firm dodged a terrible result and a potential malpractice issue.

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Huntsville Car Accident LawyersI know. You are probably asking why a lawyer would reject a good case. But, many settlement mill lawyers do reject good cases. Why? These settlement mill lawyers are NOT willing to go to court. Sometimes, good cases require you to file a lawsuit. Sometimes, good cases require a little work.

We believe in case preparation. And, we believe in going to court when needed for our clients. We believe hard work builds the best results for our injured clients.

In recent weeks, I’ve written several posts discussing ways billboard settlement mill lawyers harm their injured clients. During the over two decades I’ve practiced personal injury law, I’ve received countless phone calls from people who have been victimized by a settlement mill lawyer. We have many excellent lawyers in our community. They have also seen and heard many horror stories of the harm caused by the few settlement mill lawyers smiling from billboards and televisions.

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Alabama Car Accident AttorneysIf you’ve read my prior articles, you know my opinion — Billboard lawyers often harm their personal injury clients. As lawyers, our job is to help our clients. We should put first our clients’ interests. Yet, many billboard lawyers help themselves at their clients’ expense.

How do settlement mill lawyers smiling from billboards harm their personal injury clients? Over the coming weeks, I’m going to write posts discussing several ways these advertising lawyers often harm their injured clients. Today, I’ll talk about the sweetheart arrangements many of these settlement mill lawyers have with a specific chiropractor to profit from your injuries.

Here’s how the sweetheart deal between the billboard lawyer and a specific chiropractor works. You suffer a car accident injury and call the billboard lawyer. You probably don’t meet with the actual billboard lawyer. That’s a different issue we’ll discuss in a later post. You probably meet with an “investigator,” “runner” or other staff member. Once you sign the contract, the billboard lawyer wants you to see a specific chiropractor. His chiropractor. That chiropractor will then run-up the charges for your visits. The billboard lawyer will use these exorbitant charges to try and negotiate a deal with the insurance company to settle your claim. It’s an assembly line process designed so the billboard lawyer spends as little time as possible working on your file. That billboard lawyer simply wants to make a few phone calls. And, in many volume law firms, a staff member is actually making the calls. You get zero service from the lawyer.

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Huntsville Accident LawyersYou are driving down the road. Maybe you’re heading down I-565 to work in Huntsville. You are thinking about work (or maybe thinking about the upcoming weekend). Bam! Suddenly, another car crashes into you. You’ve probably sat in rush hour traffic on I-565 many times for accidents involving other drivers. But, now it’s you.

What happens after a sudden car crash. Usually, people call 911. Sometimes, multiple people call 911. Police arrive and investigate. Paramedics may arrive and check for injuries. What if the police suddenly decide to stop investigating some car accidents? What if the police in Huntsville, Madison, or another northern Alabama city, suddenly decide to stop working car accident scenes? If I had asked the question a year ago, you would probably laugh. After all, we expect law enforcement to investigate and report car accidents. With current coronavirus risks, one huge police department is now making the decision not to investigate some crashes. That police department — Atlanta.

A few days ago, an Atlanta news channel reported the Atlanta police department would stop responding to some car crashes due to Covid-19 concerns. How will this law enforcement agency choose when to respond and when not to respond? According to the report, Atlanta police will stop responding to “non-injury” accidents during the coronavirus pandemic. When Atlanta area drivers call the police for a car accident, the dispatcher will ask if they are injured. The response to this question determines whether or not local police will respond.

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Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersWhat Is A Personal Injury Demand Letter?

The days and months after a car accident can be difficult for someone with serious injuries. You are hurting. You are dealing with doctor appointments and medical bills. Maybe you hire an attorney to help with your claim.

If you hire an attorney to deal with the insurance company, you may not be familiar with the behind the scenes process. However, the personal injury demand letter is an important part of the process. Trust me, the quality of those letters (and often the amount of your later settlement) can vary tremendously between lawyers.

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Blackwell Law Firm -- Alabama Personal Injury LawyersWhat is a panel of four? How can it impact your Alabama work comp case? Why am I discussing the issue now? Medical treatment is an important issue to injured Alabama workers. We answer questions for callers on this issue almost every day at our office. Since the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals recently discussed the issue, I thought it was a good time for me to do so as well.

When you suffer a serious work-related accident, a lot of worries come to mind. Will I receive good medical care? Will I heal and recover? Will I be able to continue working? Our work comp system was created to provide medical and disability benefits. If you suffer a work-related accident, you are entitled to medical treatment. Your employer (through its insurer) is obligated to provide treatment. It should be simple. But, too often it’s not. Too often, employers and their insurance companies delay, deny, or just ignore medical care. When they do, you suffer.

WHO PICKS THE FIRST DOCTOR?

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Accident & Injury Lawyers at Blackwell Law FirmSlip and fall injury? Many lawyers cringe at the phrase. Why? The answer is simple — These are among the most difficult cases. Public perception and legal reality are very different when it comes to slip and fall cases. Many people think, I slipped and fell at Walmart. So, Walmart has to take care of my injuries. Most people think the property owner is simply responsible for a fall. But, that’s not the law. The reality is much different. Walmart is only responsible in certain, specific situations. Sorry (not really) to pick on you, Walmart. But, that’s the price you pay when you are the biggest retail store.

Slip and fall cases are very difficult. The rights and responsibilities vary depending on the reasons why you are present on the property. That’s a discussion for another post. And, these cases are won or lost on specific, detailed facts.

One of the biggest defenses to slip and fall cases — The Open And Obvious Defense. What is this defense? If the danger should have been observed by the injured person, it is considered open and obvious. The question is whether a reasonable person would have noticed the danger. That’s a tough issue in many slip and fall cases. Again, the specific facts are key!

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Blackwell Law Firm - Huntsville Injury LawyersEach year, our workers’ compensation system in Alabama faces new threats from the insurance industry. In some states, like Texas, the system has been dramatically altered leaving many injured workers unable to recover and return to gainful employment. Opt out systems like those in Texas often allow the largest and richest employers to write their own rules! Really, does anyone think companies like Walmart will write plans that truly protect their workers???

In Alabama, the system remains unfair. Year-after-year, our legislature refuses to address the injustice. Whenever the Alabama Legislature does consider even a slight improvement, it is simply an exchange for removing another valuable benefit. Indeed, big business and big insurance lobbyists view any slight effort to modify work comp laws as an opportunity to remove or reduce benefits.

Injured Alabama workers with a partial disability impacting their ability to work are often compensated below Federal poverty levels. Our state has not increased partial disability payments in over two decades! While benefits to workers are over two decades behind inflation, some of our legislators continue to propose new laws that would cut off other important benefits. These same legislators have raised their own pay (and that of other state officials during this time period).

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In a past article, I discussed a study that revealed work related illnesses and injuries cost at least $250 billion a year. My prior post raises the question — Why does our system not focus on safety? A small investment in safety would pay huge returns.

Our current system fails to invest in safety. While workers are penalized for some unsafe conduct, the system does nothing to the few reckless employers who cause most of the injuries. The most reckless and dangerous employers suffer no penalties under Alabama workers’ compensation laws. They suffer no penalties causing them to lose lucrative government contracts. They suffer almost no penalties from OSHA which is overstressed, understaffed and rarely inspects unsafe worksites. Unless we focus on real safety by penalizing reckless employers, we will continue to see far too many work related injuries.

What is the cost of occupational accidents and injuries to reckless and unsafe employers? At worst, the injury may result in some type of premium increase for work comp coverage? A recent UC Davis study showed that the majority of workplace injury and illness costs are not even paid through workers’ compensation insurance. Instead, these costs are simply shifted to the government. Think taxpayers like us! When it comes right down to it, reckless and unsafe employers dispose of their workers by shifting the costs of accidents and disabilities to the taxpayer.

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