Dear Sarasota Car Accident Attorney:
I had a car accident about 3 years ago. I was in an intersection making a left turn. Right before the light turned red, I started to turn when a Subaru driven by a woman named (name deleted) came from the other side and hit me in the middle.
I got the ticket for violating the rite of way (sic) and she got a ticket for careless driving. My car was badly damaged, but I was able to drive it to work at a local chiropractor where I am his bookkeeper.
About 3 days later, I mentioned to my boss that I had gotten a ticket and been in an accident. He insisted on giving me chiropractic treatment. I did not want it, but he insisted and I did not want to risk offending my employer. He then, billed my PIP for a lot of treatment. Not sure it was accurate.
He sent me out to get an MRI of my neck and spine. My neck MRI showed that I have what is called a bulging disc. My back MRI was okay. I cannot help but wonder if my neck bulges were from the chiropractic treatment he gave me.
He then referred me to a lawyer who sends us a lot of cases to handle my claim. The lawyer named (name deleted) wrote a few letters to the ladies insurance company. They offered me $500. He told me the case is worth $10,000 and I okayed him to sue her.
That was a few years ago. Since then, my deposition has been taken. I have been seen by two different doctors that work for her insurance company. Even my boss’s deposition was taken.
We went to a mediation last month and they offered $2,500 to me. By the time I paid him, and the costs of the depositions, court costs and mediation bill I am out $724.00.
What do you think I should do? I heard you were one of the best PI lawyers in Miami and I could use your help.
Lois Name Deleted
Your situation is sadly, not uncommon in the world of Florida’s personal injury car accident cases. First most people do not understand that to win a case in Florida for anything more than just your medical bills (that are reasonably priced and related to the accident) and lost wages (which you did not mention, but I assume you have none) one has to prove that the accident caused a permanent injury. [youtube]http://youtu.be/DeP3njfX1sg[/youtube]
Insurance defense lawyers and their auto insurance clients are very sophisticated in their evaluations of claims. They have the ability to access statisitical information about tens of thousands of accident cases across not just Sarasota but across the State. They plug into a formula information about the age of the parties, the amount of property damage, amount of medical bills, lost wages, and what kind of doctor diagnosed the injury. They even will consider your lawyer and his or her track record in terms of settlements and trials. They know which lawyers go to trial and which do not. They watch this stuff like Wall Street investors watch the Dow.
So to the defendants insurance company they are looking at a couple of key facts and determining that your chances of winning a verdict of more than $2,500 is very slim. I am guessing that they have come to that number by calculating your total medical bills, which I bet are about $12,500 as I assume your employer/doctor exhausted your PIP and then sent you for a two $1,200 MRIs.
Another problem you face is that your doctor/employer is a chiropractor. I love chiropractors and so do my clients. The problem is that in a court case, in front of a jury you need more than a chiropractor to win a case most of the time. That is because of the two doctors you told me they sent you to, one or both were probably Board Certified medical doctors who went to medical school and spend a lot of time in the witness box testifying for insurance companies against injured people or people who claim to be injured.
For years, I only took cases that I believed I would take to trial. So I ended up trying a lot of cases. I have softened my approach as I have grown older and perhaps wiser. Now if a small cases comes in (not to say your case is small to you), I will discuss with my client the risk of settlement versus trial. Small cases, which are those without fractures, surgery, prolonged time lost from work or scarring are very difficult because juries, I have found are not very sympathetic to minor injury victims. In addition, the economics of trying a case to a jury costs at least $10,000 of attorney and expert witness time. It just doesn’t make sense and sadly, the insurance company knows this.
You did not mention in your letter, but when we spoke I asked you if the insurance company had filed a Proposal for Settlement for the $2,500. You agreed to ask you lawyer. But a Proposal for Settlement is designed to put more pressure on you, since if you lose or even get within 25% of the offer at trial you will owe the insurance company the cost of their defense, including their attorney’s fees.
Since you are represented by a lawyer, I do not want to interfere his or her representation. Ask your lawyer, if he would like my assistance in helping you. If you fire your lawyer at this point, you may even end up owing him money too. For more information about firing a lawyer in the middle of a case please read my blog: How and Why to Change Your Personal Injury Lawyer in the Middle of a Case (Part One).
You have graciously allowed me to share your letter with my readers, provided that we delete your name and other privileged information. And I greatly appreciate your confidence in contacting me and I am flattered you consider us to be one of the best personal injury law firms in Florida. We pride ourselves in working as hard as we can to help our clients build new lives after they have been involved in a car accident, slip and fall, medical malpractice or cruise ship passenger incident.
We offer free consultations to anyone who has a potential accident case. Please email me , Spencer Aronfeld or call our personal injury lawyers at 305-441-0440 or Toll Free: 866-597-4529 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We promise all of our clients that we will never accept a fee unless we are successful in getting them compensated first. Call today.