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Articles Tagged with settlement

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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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Th-Intrepid-Adventure-200x300Who really wants to spend their time in a lawyer or doctor office? Most people would prefer to be almost anywhere else. I understand. Other than routine physical exams, we see a lawyer or doctor only when we have a potential problem. For some of us, it has to be a pretty bad problem.

Most of us have seen a doctor at some point in our lives. So, we are familiar with the basics of medical appointments. When it comes to lawyers, it’s a very different story. Maybe you’ve never needed a lawyer. Many people live their entire lives without needing a lawyer. That’s a good thing.

Suddenly, you are hurt in an accident and not sure what to do. You may have many questions and many concerns. How do I handle my medical bills? Who can I call for help? Will I heal? Unfortunately, a lot of billboard and television advertising lawyers feed on uncertainty and fear. They offer a smile with promises that they can make the process easy.

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Huntsville Car And Truck Accident AttorneysYou suffered a car accident. In the hours and days after the accident, you start hurting badly. You need medical care. The whole process can be challenging and frustrating. When you are seriously hurt in a car crash, you suddenly have many issues. Scheduling appointments. Missing work. Transportation. Waiting for doctors. These may all be worries. Then, you start receiving bills. Lots of bills. Confusing bills. Bills can be an overwhelming worry.

If you have health insurance, you are very fortunate. You should definitely use your health insurance to pay your medical bills.

Why Should I Use My Health Insurance? Someone Else Caused The Crash.

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Huntsville Personal Injury AttorneysWe’ve all seen and heard the ads. If an advertising company put a billboard in the middle of the ocean, a settlement mill attorney would buy it! Usually, it’s a smiling face, phone number and short catch-phrase like:

Call Me [Insert City or State]!

In Huntsville, one local group of DUI lawyers decided to raise billboards and sign all manner of clients. Those same DUI lawyers sign the cases simply to refer the serious ones for a fee. That’s wrong.

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Huntsville Personal Injury LawyersThe first time this happened, I was shocked. Although I have now heard the same story many times, I am still a little shocked (and a lot disgusted) each time. What is the story? It goes something like this —

The office phone rings. The caller wants to discuss his car accident and see if we can help. However, he already has a lawyer. It’s a billboard law firm! He’s really unhappy with that law firm. When I hear that someone is unhappy with a local lawyer who works hard for his or her clients, I counsel the caller to sit down and talk with the lawyer. Often, it’s just an issue of communication. But, this is different. Sitting down with the billboard lawyer may be difficult or impossible. Why?

Many times, the caller has never even spoken with his lawyer. This is the part that shocks me! (Think on that for just a minute. The person has a lawyer he has never even met.). After his car accident, investigators simply came to his hospital room or home. In some cases, the “investigators” were simply “case runners” who showed up without invitation. In other cases, the process started when the person called the number from a billboard or television commercial. Regardless, the “investigators” promise a lawyer will take care of him, present papers, and get his signature. Yet, when he calls the lawyer’s office some weeks or months later asking about his case, he gets no answers. Maybe he talks with a legal assistant. Maybe. Usually, he only speaks with a receptionist who knows nothing about his specific case. I doubt the settlement mill lawyer (or even the paralegal) will call him back until the case is settled. What’s clear is that:

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Huntsville Accident & Injury LawyersWhen I write a legal article, I never know whether it will gain reader interest. Some of the legal topics I find most fascinating, gain little or no reader interest. I’m often surprised at the articles generating the most readership and commentary.

One topic that always generates questions and commentary — Medical bills in accident and injury cases! I understand why. Medical bills are confusing and difficult to read. Every medical provider uses a different billing format. The charges vary widely. Who would think different hospitals could charge hugely different amounts for the same over-the-counter pain pill? Yet, they do.

On top of the medical charges, add the issue of health insurance and payment. Who pays? Blue Cross. Medicare. Tricare. Medicaid. Some other health plan. How much do they pay? Face it, each health plan pays differently. Most patients are confused by their medical bills when there is NO issue of any accident claim or lawsuit. I get it.

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meeting-room-10270_1920-300x225I started to title this post Four Reasons Why Personal Injury Mediations Fail (And One Reason Why They Should Fail). That title is too long. So, I’ll primarily address four reasons why personal injury mediations do NOT succeed. Then, I’ll end with some commentary about an occasion when mediations should fail.

Our law firm philosophy is clear. We prepare all cases for trial. We believe preparation leads to better long-term results both at trial and settlement. When we survey all the lawyers mass-advertising on billboards, television and radio, it is clear many attorneys view matters differently. Those mass-advertising lawyers are usually about quantity rather than quality. That’s a sad commentary on our profession.

Let me return to my discussion of personal injury mediations. What are some reasons why a personal injury mediation may fail? Here are four:

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497364007_b28f03366a_z-300x225The lawyer appears and asks for your case. His ads are simple — Smile. Act Confident. Tell Viewers To Call. In his advertisements, one local Huntsville lawyer claims, “we have the lawyer to fix your problem.” Does he? Can he fix all your problems?

The advertising lawyer wants your case. That much is true. Yet, his law firm website (in the fine print) discloses a little more truth he hopes you won’t notice. While his firm takes personal injury clients, they refer the serious ones to outside lawyers for work. That begs the question — Why advertise for cases you don’t really handle through trial and appeal? The answer is simple. For firms who simply sign up cases, it’s not about the client or the case. If the lawyer cared about the client or the case, he or she would not be asking for cases they really did not handle. He would not claim expertise in every legal area possible. No, the answer comes down to fee (money). The smiling advertising lawyer wants the case to get a quick settlement or referral fee. Often, that is NOT in your best interest. And, he hopes you don’t know that.

If you are the injury victim who needs a lawyer, this can be a bad deal for you. Here are four ways it can be a bad deal for you:

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