Hello everyone. This is Robert Mansour and I'm going to walk you through a little consultation checklist here. If you watch this short video, it will walk you through the checklist and give you some good tips about how to prepare for your personal injury consultation. So by now you probably have your appointment set up. So the first thing we want you to bring is all photographs depicting damage to your vehicle and any physical injuries that you might have - bruises, cuts, scrapes, any visible signs of the injuries. Make sure you take pictures of all of those things. With respect to the damage photos, make sure you take damage photos from every single angle. Don't just take real closeups because sometimes it's very hard to tell what it is that we're looking at. Also try to take pictures in different lights, from different angles, whatever you can do.
If your insurance company has your vehicle, they probably took lots of photos so you can call them and ask them to send you all the photos or email them to you. You should also email the photos to email@example.com or you can text them to us to our special text phone number that my staff probably gave you. If you're going to be sending us large photos, you can use a free resource called filemail.com where you can easily send large amounts of photos to our office as well. Please send us all your auto insurance information, the name and address of your insurance company, policy numbers, any claim numbers that you've been given. Also, if you have your declarations page (that is the summary of all the insurance coverage that you have), please sent that to us as well.
When you get that little card that you put in your glove box, they send you a copy of that declarations page. If you click right over here, you will see a sample of the declarations page and what it looks like. If you can't find it, just call your insurance company and ask them to send you your "declarations page." They should be able to email it to you. Also. If you have any insurance information regarding the other parties involved in the accident, their insurance company's policy numbers or claim numbers. If you know an adjuster's name or an adjuster's phone number who's been trying to reach you - any letters that you've been receiving from insurance companies, please send those as well or bring them to the meeting. At the very least, that stuff is very helpful. I would caution you not to talk too much to the insurance company for the responsible party until you've spoken with a lawyer to get some tips.
If you've taken your vehicle to a shop, they may have already generated a property damage estimate. If you can, bring that to the meeting or send it to us in advance. That would be helpful. Please bring a list of any and all doctors or facilities that you've treated with so far. For example, if you've been to the hospital or you went to urgent care or your primary care physician, a chiropractor, anything like that - make a list of all those doctors and facilities and please bring that information with you. Also, if you have health insurance, please bring that healthcare information with you - copies of any healthcare cards that you might have. If you are a Medi-Cal or Medicare recipient, you should have a card. If you could please bring that to the meeting. Also bring your identification - for example your drivers license.
If you have a police report, please bring it to the meeting. If you don't have a police report yet and the police came to the scene and wrote a report, you might want to call the police station and ask them when the report might be ready. Sometimes they will actually have the very first page of the police report ready and they can send that to you even if they can't send you the whole thing. So you might want to ask about that. Also, your insurance company may have already obtained a police report if you gave them the information on that police card that they give you at the scene. Your insurance company may have already obtained that police report. So you might want to check with them.
Basically bring everything that is related to the accident to the meeting. If in doubt, bring it. And then down here you will find some very helpful "do's and don'ts" about accident cases - things you should not do and things that you should do. It's a good idea if you spend a couple of minutes reviewing that information as well. Anyway, I look forward to seeing you at our initial consultation and I hope this video is helpful. Thank you so much.
Before you hire our office to help you with your personal injury case, we will need you to sign several forms. This is true if you are working with our firm or any other firm. Watch this video to learn more.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: All right, so the first thing you're going to find when you download the forms is the contingency fee agreement, which is the contract between the attorney and the client. We will fill out all this top part here regarding your name and the date the incident occurred. You will find the services to be performed by the attorney. You will note that there is no guarantee, of course, as to the result. There is a section on litigation costs and expenses that will be deducted from the settlement. This is outlines our typical one third recovery from the total seller settlement for attorney's fees and the right for either party to withdraw from the case...arbitration of fee dispute. Very standard stuff here. Read it very carefully and then please date, sign your name and print your name where indicated. Now there's room here for three clients to sign, but if it's only one person, of course, just do the first three lines right here.
Now at the bottom of the form, if it's not too much trouble, please put your best mailing address, your best phone number, and any email account you regularly check (Not one you check every few months), and then a birth date, for this form.
The next form on the list is something called the "Agency Authorization." This basically allows my law firm to represent you. Once again, we will fill out all the top section and all you need to do is date, sign and print your name on the bottom.
The next section here, the next form is the Authorization to Provide Information. This one here is used by my firm if we are dealing with your employer regarding lost earnings or to obtain a copy of the police report. If we already have a copy of the police report, then of course this form is not necessary and it won't be necessary for lost earnings either, if you don't think that that's going to be a an issue. Okay.
The next thing is the HIPAA compliant authorization form. So what is this? This allows your medical providers to provide my office with copies of your health care documents. Without this form, they're not going to give me those documents. Now, some facilities will have their own documents and that's fine - but we have found that this one works relatively well for most medical providers. Once again, like with all the forms, only where you see an X, please sign and provide the information only where you see an X, we will fill out the rest of the form. Okay.
Finally there's something called the Client Responsibilities form. And basically this is just a whole bunch of tips that we offer our clients. We try to keep it to one page so it's not terribly overwhelming - but basically read over all of these tips and if you have any questions about them, please call me to discuss them. It's pretty straight forward stuff.
And then please sign, print your name and date at the very bottom of this last page. Once again, thank you very much for the opportunity to assist you and I hope you found this video to be helpful. Take care.
If you have been involved in a serious car accident, it is possible to have a shoulder injury. This can happen with direct impact to the shoulder area - or perhaps while bracing for an impact by gripping the steering wheel very tightly. The rotator cuff or labrum can be injured or torn during such an accident.
If you feel shoulder pain, make sure you discuss it with your doctor as soon as possible. Don't do things that can aggravate the injury or the insurance company will try to blame the injury on a subsequent event. If you are treating with a chiropractor, make sure they know about the shoulder pain right away so they can refer you to an orthopedist for evaluation. This is not the kind of thing where you want to "wait and see" what happens. If you don't mention it, the insurance company will likely conclude a future complaint of shoulder pain must be unrelated to the accident. That goes for any injuries you ignore and/or fail to document.
Generally speaking, when it comes to shoulder surgery, it is an option of last resort. In some cases, the orthopedist may order an immediate MRI if they suspect a shoulder tear. If they are not sure it is a shoulder tear, they might refer you for physical therapy for traditional conservative treatment. In most cases, physical therapy will last approximately six to eight weeks at which time the orthopedist will re-evaluate you.
After the re-evaluation, if you are making good progress, the orthopedist may order additional shoulder physical therapy. In the meantime, the physical therapist should keep your orthopedist aware of your progress or lack of progress or any other concerns the physical therapist has. It is important for the physical therapist and orthopedist keep in touch with each other regularly.
If you are not making progress with the shoulder pain, the doctor may indeed order an MRI to see if you have a tear of any sort. The MRI can be "with" or "without contrast." If the doctor orders the MRI with contrast, that usually involves an injection of a dye into the body. That is a painful procedure but might reveal more than a regular MRI would. Of course, an MRI with contrast is usually more expensive than an MRI without contrast.
If the MRI confirms there is a tear, and the tear is not getting better with conservative treatment, the doctor might recommend pain management. If pain management doesn't work, the doctor might recommend surgery. Make sure you discuss all these options with your doctors after a severe car accident if you are having pronounced and significant shoulder pain.
Hello everybody, this is Robert Mansour, today talking to you about the notion of negligence. Sometimes clients call my office and they say, "Hey, this other person caused an accident," or this other person did this, that, or the other, "I would like to make a claim." And I say, "Okay, first, we have to decide whether it ... was that person negligent?" Because if they weren't negligent and they didn't do anything wrong, we're going to have a little bit of a hard time going after that person or their insurance carrier.
So, negligence generally has four components to it. Number one is duty. Did the other person have a duty to do X, Y, or Z? So, if I'm driving a car, I have a duty to follow the law, for example. I have to stop at a stoplight. I have to yield to pedestrians. I have to drive at a reasonable speed. That is my duty as a driver. The next thing is breach. So, once we establish that that individual had a duty, we have to ask ourselves did they breach that duty? Did they break that promise to do X, Y, or Z? So, if somebody was driving recklessly or driving too fast, or failed to stop at a stoplight, or blew through a stop sign, we can argue that they breached their duty.
So, we have duty, we have a breach of that duty, or a break if you will, of that promise to do X, Y or Z. The next fundamental component is something called causation. So duty, breach, causation. What is causation? Well, just because somebody has a duty and somebody breaches that duty, doesn't mean that that caused the injury, or caused the accident to occur. So, causation is very important because sometimes it's an intervening cause or something entirely different. Or, the individual had a pre-existing injury that he or she is trying to bootstrap onto the accident. So you gotta be very careful. Just because somebody broke the law and did something wrong, doesn't necessarily mean it caused the harm.
The final component is damages. Let's say somebody has a duty, they breached that duty and it was a cause of the accident. Just because it was a cause of the accident doesn't mean that it was also a cause of the harm, and it also doesn't mean that there was a harm. I got a client call one time, he was involved in an accident and I said, "Okay, well, what happened?" He goes, this, that ... I'm like, "Okay, go on." I said, "Were you hurt?" He said, "No, I wasn't hurt. I'm fine." I said, "Well, then there really is no damage." I mean, there's property damage and the insurance company's fixing his car, but beyond that, he said he's fine. He doesn't have any injuries. So there is no damages to pursue.
So, just because, once again, somebody had a duty, they breached that duty, there was causation, you have to have damages, that last component. Generally speaking, breaking a nail in a car accident or scratching your nail, that's not appreciable injury. Generally speaking, you don't want to pursue a case unless you have a significant or appreciable injury. 'Cause otherwise, a judge or a jury or an insurance company's just going to tell you to go away. People don't like frivolous claims. People don't like folks who try to get away with stuff, who try to make mountains out of molehills.
So, all that being said, just because somebody else did something wrong, doesn't necessarily mean you get to make a claim or that you even have a claim worth pursuing. Duty, breach, causation and damages. Thank you very much for watching this video. I hope you found it helpful. My name is Robert Mansour. Feel free to call my office if you have any additional questions about your accident case.
Today I want to speak to you about the importance of how property damage figures into the evaluation of your personal injury case. After practicing law since 1993, it has become painfully obvious to me that the amount of property damage to your vehicle is an important factor in having an insurance company, or a jury, or a judge, believe that you are injured. What the insurance companies and the defense often do, is they say, "Well, there wasn't a lot of property damage to your car, so therefore you couldn't have been injured." Or, "The extent of your injuries isn't as bad as you say because the damage to your vehicle is not that bad."
The truth is, after years in the courtroom and after years of doing this, there is a lot of truth to that. Generally speaking, juries, judges, insurance adjusters want to see an appreciable amount of property damage to your vehicle, or else they're going to give you a hard time. Now, are they right in doing so? Well, some people out there try to make mountains out of molehills and they do try to allege that they were injured in an accident when in fact they weren't. What the problem is, is that if you were indeed injured, if you don't have property damage that matches the degree of your injury, don't be surprised if the insurance company gives you a hard time.
If you barely have a scratch to your car and you're alleging all kinds of injuries and you need surgery and this, that or the other, just be prepared for the argument. So you need to be able to show, even though there's not a lot of property damage, you still might have been injured. You see, there are many studies out there that show that even at lower velocity, impacts, depending on the individual, they can still be injured. Some people might also be inclined to injury. They may have a predisposition to injury. They might have a prior condition that makes them more susceptible to injury. You might be one of those people who's standing at the edge of the cliff and then an impact occurs and pushes you off that cliff, even though the impact itself wasn't horrific and wasn't terribly large. The other thing you can do is you could see if there was any frame damage to the vehicle. Sometimes, frame damage is a way to show that the impact was stronger than it might look on the exterior of the car.
But just keep in mind that the amount of damage to your vehicle will likely be a factor in the insurance company's appraisal of your injuries. The more significant the property damage, the easier it is for them to believe that you were injured. The lower the property damage, the more they're going to give you a hard time. Thank you very much for watching this video. I hope you found it helpful.
I want to spend a few minutes clearing up a common misconception. Many people seem to think that their car insurance company is going to "take care of everything" after their car accident. That is not what auto insurance companies do. They don't "take care of everything." They only take care of what matters to them. For example, many clients think their car insurance company is going to arrange for health care after an accident. They think the insurance adjuster is going to contact a doctor or give the client a list of doctors to pick from. You can keep waiting by the phone for that to happen, but you will be waiting by the phone forever.
The insurance company's job is not to arrange for doctors to care for you after a car accident. For example, if you have collision coverage on your policy, your insurance company will probably fix your car. If you make a claim of the other party's insurance company, they might also fix your car. Neither one, however, is going to obtain medical care for you.
The problem with this misconception is that many people continue to wait by the phone and, as such, they failed to get any health care after an accident. They keep waiting for the insurance adjuster to call them. I'm not sure where this misconception came from, but that's not what auto insurance companies do.
Even if you were seriously injured, they are not going to arrange for your health care. All they might do is perhaps fix your car and maybe pay some medical bills you present to them. Remember, the insurance company's job is to protect the insurance company, and not to protect you as many of the commercials seem to imply. That's not to say that insurance adjusters are heartless people or that insurance companies don't care about their customers. Most adjusters (notice I said "most") certainly do have hearts and certainly do care. But they are only going to do what the insurance contract calls for. They are not your health care providers or general caretakers after an accident. Obtaining prompt and proactive medical care after your car wreck is your job - not theirs. Don't make that mistake.
Most insurance companies will rent you car after an accident. All you have to do is go to the car rental counter with a claim number in hand, and it's generally taken care of. However, some smaller insurance companies who don't have relationships with the big car rental companies will tell you to rent your own car and they will "reimburse" you. This is not entirely true. They will reimburse you, but they don’t give you the "fine print." They will pay what THEY believe is reasonable.
If you rent a car for more than $25 a day or $30 a day, you may run into resistance when trying to get said reimbursement. The problem is that most rental car places won’t provide you with a comparable car for that daily rate. What the insurance company is willing to pay on a daily basis and what the real world charges are often two separate things. Therefore, if insurance company tells you they will "reimburse" you, DON'T believe them! You must find out how much they are willing to spend. Don’t go rent a car for $50 a day only to find out the insurance company is only willing to pay you $25 a day. They don’t tell you this information up front for reasons unknown to me. Once they tell you how much they are willing to pay per day, get it in writing or send them a confirmation yourself.
This is true if you rent a vehicle on your own policy as well. You may find you have a daily rate as well as a cap on the number of days you are allowed to rent a vehicle. In most cases, your own insurance company will pay about $25-$30 a day for up to 30 days. This is contractual between you and your insurance company.
With respect to another person’s insurance company, have the insurance company rent you a car directly whenever possible. Don't pay then have them "reimburse" you. In some cases, that may be your only option with some of the smaller players. Do not fall into the trap of renting a car on your own and then seeking reimbursement.
If you’ve been involved in a serious car accident, it is entirely possible that you may have scarring from the accident. Sometimes, the scarring is from a major laceration to the skin. Sometimes, the scarring is caused by abrasions, and in some cases, by the airbags deploying and burning the skin.
If you have scarring from an auto accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Also, make sure you take photos of your scar(s) from many different angles and in many different lighting situations. Sometimes, photos do not do justice to the scar and you should do your best to make sure your photos really convey just how pronounced the scarring is. Remember to take photos of your scarring every week to document the healing process (or in some cases the "lack" of healing). If you are unable to take photos, ask a friend or family member to do so. Take close up shots as well as shots from further away. Shots that are taken too closely may not fairly portray the extent of your scarring. Simply put, your job is to convey the extent of the scarring - not just that you have scarring.
Remember, the insurance company's job from the very beginning is to minimize your claim. If you tell them about scarring, they might assume you simply have a minor "scratch." You need to preserve the evidence and show them just how bad the scarring is. Also, the location of the scar is very important. If the the scar is on a highly visible part of your body like your face, that may affect the evaluation of your claim. Don’t assume that scarring is just is something benign. Don't feel embarrassed to raise the issue. When it comes to personal injury claims, you want to receive compensation for ALL injuries - not just a choice few. You should make it part of your overall claim.
If you have residual scarring, that may affect your case as well. If the scar doesn't completely heal after a few months, you might consider asking a plastic surgeon for an a valuation. The surgeon can tell you whether or not this is a permanent scar and how you could either repair the scar or minimize its appearance. In some cases, there may be nothing you can do about it. However, it might be good to get an evaluation nevertheless because the insurance adjuster may try to marginalize your claim of scarring. The extent of your residual scarring may affect the value of your case as well.
In short, do not ignore your scarring injuries after an accident. Scarring is an injury to you just like anything else. In some cases of permanent scarring, it can be a lifelong reminder of your car accident.
If you’ve had a serious injury from a car accident, then you might be experiencing some nerve pain. If traditional physical therapy and other treatments don’t help, you might need to entertain epidural steroid injections to minimize the pain. Another option is a joint block which involves the injection of a local anesthetic and steroid where your pelvis and spine meet. You have to work closely with a pain management specialist to assist you with these treatments.
Epidural steroid injections decrease inflammation which often helps relieve the pain. It is commonly performed in a doctor's office with a local anesthetic. However, in some cases, you may need to go to a surgical facility with conscious sedation (or in some cases go completely under). The injection helps decrease inflammation and swelling of the spine so the nerves aren't as affected. This reduction of inflammation is caused by injecting a steroid into the epidural space where the pain is located. The pain relief can last from a few days to a few months. If it doesn’t work the first time, your pain management doctor might recommend a second or third round of injections.
Joint blocks helps relieve sciatic pain. It involves an injection of a local anesthetic to the sacroiliac joint. It can take 3 to 5 days to fully take effect. Ultimately, these types of treatments may provide an accident victim who has tried all other conservative treatments several months of relief. However, in some cases where the pain keeps recurring, a doctor may discuss the option of surgery (which is almost always the option of last resort). Every patient is different and so you should work closely with your pain management doctor and other healthcare professionals.
If you've been involved in a serious accident and need assistance or guidance, please call our office at (661) 414-7100 to see if we can help you.
When it comes to personal injury cases, you generally have to prove two things. First, you must show that someone was negligent. That doesn't simply mean that an accident happened. Accidents happen all the time, and sometimes, it's no one's fault in particular. Basically, you have to show that someone did something wrong - like blowing through a red light or turning left in front of oncoming traffic. Once you have established fault, then you have to prove that you were injured as a result of that person's negligence. Therefore, just because someone was negligent doesn't mean you have a claim. You must also be injured. Generally speaking, your injury must be appreciable or the insurance company adjuster isn't going to offer you very much.
There is basically a continuum of injuries that can be broken down into several categories:
1) Basic soft tissue injuries (sprain/strain) that heal over time.
2) Soft tissue injuries that don't completely heal, leaving some measure of residual injury.
3) Very painful injuries that don't require surgery but aren't helped much by physical therapy and/or medication. In some cases, pain management injections are necessary.
4) Bad injuries that don't resolve over time and surgery is recommended - but the injured party chooses to live with the pain and manage it versus having the surgery.
5) Bad injuries where the injured party actually had surgery and healed properly.
6) Bad injuries where the injured party had surgery but will still have residual issues.
So if you are injured, how can you prove it?
1) Take photos of visible injuries. Telling the insurance company about your bruising, cuts, scrapes is good, but showing them the injuries is even better. Also, take photos over time, showing the progress (or lack of progress) of the injury healing.
2) Soft tissue cases (sprain/strain) are very hard to prove because there is nothing to show. You can't point to an image on an xray or other imaging tool. You can't say, "See, there's my injury!" Therefore, your behavior becomes very important. If you are claiming a shoulder injury, don't post videos of yourself doing push-ups on the internet! How the accident affects your daily life activities is the best way to "demonstrate" your injuries to others. The severity of the impact will help others understand your injuries. If there isn't much damage to your car, the insurance company (and most juries) won't give you much for such claims. On the flip side, if your car has moderate to severe damage, others will more easily believe your claim of injury.
3) If you have a tear, disc bulge, or other serious injury from the accident, you will definitely need an MRI or CT scan to prove the injury. Negative findings will be used against you. Positive findings will be viewed with suspicion by insurance adjusters, especially if (a) you are older than 40 years of age, (b) if you have a previous accident, or (c) previous health issues. Folks over 40 years of age often have orthopedic issues simply due to the aging process. Having disc bulges in your neck or back is something common, even for people who have not been in an accident. If you are relatively young, most people won't expect such serious issues. Therefore, if you are 21 years old and have a serious disc bulge in your neck, that would certainly be unusual.
4) Also, if you have significant image findings and/or significant injuries, your past medical records will definitely come into play. The insurance company will want to see your past records to see if there are any similar complaints in your past. I hate to say this but many people try to "pull a fast one" on the insurance companies by claiming injury to body parts when, in fact, they had the same issues before the accident. If you are interested in committing insurance fraud, please DON'T call my office! (Disclaimer: I am NOT encouraging insurance fraud!) By the same token, if your past medical history is devoid of similar complaints, that will play in your favor. Also, if your complaints surfaced immediately after the accident, that is helpful to show proof of injury. If the police report and/or ER records show complaints, that is helpful to your case. In contrast, complaints that surfaces weeks or months after an accident are very difficult to connect to the accident and are often viewed with suspicion.
Proving injuries in a personal injury case is a tricky affair. You have to use objective proof, documentation, photos, circumstantial evidence, corroborating evidence, etc. A helpful personal injury lawyer can guide you and help you understand how to prove your injuries.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,