One of the most difficult things that I do as a lawyer is managing the expectations of my clients. This is especially challenging on personal injury cases.
Everyone remembers the famous TV commercial where an accident victim says, “Larry Parker got me $2.1 million!” Of course, most people did not notice the man saying this famous expression was most likely sitting in a wheelchair after having been paralyzed by a car accident. When a client comes into my office regarding a car accident case, I have to make sure they don’t have dollar signs in their eyes. Recovering from an auto accident case does not involve becoming independently wealthy, obtaining a shortcut to retirement, or any other way to beat the system.
What the Law DOES Provide
The law provides compensation for reasonable medical expenses that were incurred due to the accident. These are called special damages or economic damages. In addition to this, in most cases, people can recover general damages or “non-economic” damages. This is also sometimes known as pain and suffering damages. Focus has to be on the word reasonable.
What is “Reasonable”?
Clients who have $10,000 worth of medical bills are often surprised the insurance company for the other party doesn’t believe the treatment they received was worth $10,000. In fact, insurance companies routinely examine every single charge from the doctor and hospital and test each entry for “reasonableness.” They will compare each charge to what they believe is reasonable in that particular region of the country.
In many cases, they use software to assist them with this task. The trouble is, some insurance adjusters do not exercise enough judgment and place too much trust in such software. In some cases, it is the luck of the draw! Some adjusters are simply more reasonable and open minded than others. Some make it their mission to make your life miserable. Others see the forest from the trees.
So keep in mind, recovering monetary compensation in a personal injury case is not anything like winning the lottery. You need to get that out of your head. If I sense that my client is trying to get rich from an accident, I will probably not accept their case. They need to understand that the law is simply designed to attempt to make them as whole as possible. It will never be a pleasant experience. I tell my clients all the time, “You’re not going to walk out of this experience saying, Gee, wasn’t that terrific! I wish I could do that again!”
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic and surrounding communities.