Last week, I was speaking with a friend who is a local doctor. At one point, we started discussing carpal tunnel syndrome due to car accidents. While most people think repetitive activities when they think carpal tunnel syndrome, that’s not always the case.
I’ve had numerous clients suffer traumatic carpal tunnel syndrome from car accidents. Typically, these drivers were gripping the steering wheel when involved in a frontal impact. The impact force on their hands and arms causes injuries. I’ve developed medical testimony in several car accident injury cases related to carpal tunnel syndrome.
We were discussing various injuries that are often overlooked. Afterwards, my friend Dr. Eric Beck mentioned the issue in his blog. Since then, I have been thinking about the lawyers who sign-up a huge volume of car accident claims for quick settlement and how they often fail their clients by not looking at all the damages and injuries. I thought I would mention a couple ways these settlement mill accident lawyers fail their seriously injured clients.
Settlement Mill Lawyers Fail To Counsel For Full Healing
When someone tells you about a serious car accident, your first thought or question is not about bills or copays. And, it should not be about claims or settlements. Your first thought is to ask if everyone is OK. That’s because human health and safety is priceless. Most people instinctively understand that. Most people instinctively feel immediate worry or concern about the pain of those involved in an accident. With any accident, normal people care most about health and healing. They should. Yet, many settlement mill lawyers absolutely fail their clients on this issue.
The carpal tunnel discussion is a perfect example. A person is involved a car accident. Afterwards, he suffers numbness, tingling and pain which involves an area from his neck to hand on one side. Maybe he is just suffering a soft tissue injury that will heal. Maybe he is suffering a ruptured cervical disc or separate shoulder injury producing the problems. Maybe he is suffering traumatic carpal tunnel injury.
The point is that many settlement mill lawyers will quickly refer the client to their hand-picked chiropractor who will simply work up some bills performing therapy. Without a full medical examination to reveal the true injuries, that “treatment” may be worthless. The settlement mill process step-by-step — Increase the bills. Use the amount of medical bills as a negotiation point. Settle the claim. Pay the lawyer and chiropractor first. Pay the client what is left. This is a process that often ends with two bad results. One, the client still suffers needlessly from his injuries. Two, the client receives far too little in settlement proceeds if seriously injured.
We have several lawyers in Huntsville and Birmingham who will quickly run up charges to a chosen chiropractor for treatment that may offer little help if the injuries are truly serious. That’s wrong.
Here is another example. Last year, I received a call from a lady injured in a rear-end collision on Highway 72 in Athens. At the scene and later in the emergency room, the victim reported minor neck pain but really tremendous knee pain. Her knee was hugely swollen and bloody. Tests revealed serious traumatic injuries to her knee. She hired a television lawyer we all know. You know, he wants you to call him! That lawyer immediately sent her to his chiropractor. When she saw the lawyer’s chiropractor, she complained about her visibly swollen knee. She could barely stand. She could barely walk. In response, the chiropractor told her he would work up the case performing therapy on her neck so she received a good settlement and could then do what she wanted for her badly injured knee. That’s terrible advice from a medical professional. The chiropractor should have recommended she see a specialist who could examine the badly injured knee. The lady immediately fired her settlement mill lawyer. She came to us and we helped her get the necessary treatment for her real injury – the knee. She required surgery that helped rehabilitate her injured knee. Because she got the treatment needed, she eventually resumed normal activities.
We are supposed to advise injured clients. That means advising injured clients through the maze created by the medical system. Healing. Rehabilitation. Those are the most important things. They should be first in every thought and decision.
Settlement Mill Lawyers Fail To Advocate For Maximum Damages
We actually have one Huntsville law firm that advertises for personal injury cases just to refer them. They don’t really handle the cases. They just want a fee. Their website even has a fine print (really small) disclaimer on the issue. We have another Huntsville law firm that advertises for personal injury cases but refuses to handle any claims that require filing or court. They just want to work a quick (and low) deal with the adjuster. They are not going to file any case. They are not going to advocate for full compensation. In my opinion, these guys are scoundrels.
Let’s go back to the carpal tunnel discussion. If the injured person does not get a full medical evaluation, the injury may not be properly diagnosed. If not properly diagnosed, it will not be properly treated. The person is left with an injury that could be treated, but instead, results in chronic pain and disability.
If the injury is not diagnosed or examined, the lawyer cannot advocate for full compensation. How many people are left by settlement mill lawyers with undiagnosed and untreated injuries? In both car accidents and workers compensation cases, these injuries can go without treatment. And, they can go without advocacy for full compensation. That’s wrong. Accident and injury victims deserve much better!
From its office in Huntsville, the Blackwell Law Firm helps people with serious personal injuries across Alabama. We focus on our cases. We believe hard work and preparation produce the best results for our injured clients.