Hello, everybody. My name is Robert Mansour. I'm a personal injury lawyer and I wanted to make a brief video today about liens and personal injury cases.
You see, after you have your personal injury case and you settle your case, you're offered a certain amount of money from the insurance company. What you have to realize is that from that settlement amount, you have to pay the doctor's fees in some cases, outstanding medical bills. There may be liens on the file. For example, there's an attorney's fee. You may have to repay your health insurance company. They may have a lien. A workers' compensation insurance company may have a lien, Medicare...Medi-cal.
In other words, you have to understand that the settlement amount is one thing, but then you have to pay all of these entities and then there is the residual amount that goes to the client. Let's say for example, I have a case that's settled for $20,000, and the client nets let's say $10,000. The clients in some cases get very frustrated and I understand why because they say, "Well, wait a minute. All I got was $10,000," and I say, "Wait a minute. You got $20,000, but you see, you had to pay a whole bunch of different service providers and then you got $10,000." The client say, "Well, that doesn't seem fair," but actually, that's how it works.
You see, there's two components to these cases. There's the economic damages and the non-economic damages. The non-economic damages are sometimes called pain and suffering. Let's say you have $10,000 in bills and you wen to a jury, and you went to a trial and a jury came back and the jury said, "Okay. We're going to give you $10,000 for your bills." By the way, assuming they buy all of your bills. "Then we're going to give you say $10,000 in pain and suffering." That's your result, $20,000. You still have all these bills that have to be paid. You see, that's part of your recovery.
In a personal injury case, your focus should not be on what you net but should be on the entire amount of the settlement. That is the value of the case and you will net less because different providers need to get paid. Of course, a good lawyer should explain these things to his or her client and make it very clear that this is how the process works.
I hope you found this video helpful regarding liens and payments and personal injury cases. Thank you very much for watching.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Hello everyone this is Robert Mansour, and today I wanted to make a brief video about what happens after you have finished treating for your personal injury accident. I get this call all the time, my client's finished treating at their doctor, or they finished their physical therapy, and they call me basically the next day, and they're like, "What next? What's going to happen now?" I try to explain to them that it's going to be a few more weeks before anything really happens, because here's what needs to occur. I need to assemble all the medical records and all the bills from all the different health care providers that they've been to.
Also, if they just finished going to the doctor, and they've just finished going with a physical therapist, those people need some time to generate all the bills, and to generate all the reports that are needed to help present the personal injury claim. It doesn't happen overnight, it takes some time. Then after I get everything I have to review everything. I have to dissect it, I have to see what it all ... How it all comes together, and how it all fits together. Then I have to present the case to the insurance company, and that requires, generally speaking, what's called a demand letter. The demand letter is basically where I present our demand to the insurance company, that we demand to settle the case.
Sometimes you put a number in there, sometimes you don't put a number in there, and then the dialog begins between the insurance company and the attorney's office. Now, keep in mind just because I send a letter to the insurance company doesn't mean the very next day I get a call. Most insurance adjusters have about two hundred files sitting on their desk at any given time. My letter comes in, along with the supporting documents for your case, and it just sits on their desk probably for a good thirty days before they can do anything with it. I tell clients that after they're finished with the doctor and everything, about thirty days later I'm in a position, provided I have everything I need, to present their case. Then about thirty to forty-five days after that we hear from the insurance company.
For the most part, you can count on about sixty days after you're finished treating before you hear anything. Now, invariably I run into some problems, especially if there's a client who has been to a dozen different health care providers. Each of those health care providers has their own billing department, they have their own records department, in some cases there is a collection agency, in some cases some of these departments are out of state, and so they close and open at different times of day than California. In some cases we make phone calls to these places, and they never return our calls. In some cases we're promised records, and I paid for them and I never get them. Just because that's the way that's supposed to go, things don't always unfold as smoothly as I would like.
That gives you a little bit of an idea of what happens after you're finished treating. I present the claim once I have everything that I need to have, the insurance company responds, the negotiations begin. Now, as part of the negotiations I need to make sure that all of your health care providers have been paid. Some of them have not been paid, and we need to make sure that they are. If anything has gone to collections we need to make sure we work with the collection agency. If Medicare is involved or Medi-Cal, or your health care insurance is involved, we need to make sure we keep them in the loop. As you can see there's many different variables that go into settling a case, and it's not just a matter of finishing your treatment and then you get a settlement the next day.
I hope this helps you understand a little bit about what the mechanics are, and if you have any questions you could please call my office or send me an email. Thank you very much.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Hello everybody, this is Robert Mansour. I'm making a brief video today here from my office in Los Angeles, California, where I practice personal injury law as one of my areas of practice.
In today's video, I thought we would spend of time talking about the issue of when will my personal injury case finish? When do I get paid? When does the insurance company give me a check? This is an issue for a lot of my clients. They're like, "When is my personal injury case going to be over?"
Sometimes they call me every week. "Hey, have they made an offer yet? Have they given us any money yet? How much are we going to get?"
Here's the thing. People have to understand that insurance companies take a long time to evaluate your case. They are not going to pay you any money prematurely. At the very beginning of the case, they're not going to say, "Here's how much we're going to pay you." Unless, of course, they are trying to settle with you quickly and they just offer you a couple of bucks.
But if you've hired a lawyer and you are treating for your injuries, they are not going to just prematurely settle your case. One of the issues is you have to be finished with your treatment, so you can't call during the middle of your treatment and say, "Hey, listen, I have a few more weeks to go, but have we settled our case yet?" They're not going to settle the case until they know the full extent of your injuries.
And frankly, it's in your best case not to settle your case until you have a full appreciation of what your injuries are. What if you have a residual injury? What if you have a problem that's going to bother you for many years to come? Do you really want to settle prematurely?
Also, we need to present the insurance company with bills and reports. If you're still treating and you're not finished, we're not going to have all the bills and the reports that we need to give to the insurance company. So that's one of the issues that you need to know. If you're still treating, that's one issue.
Number two, how much are you asking for? If you ask for $10 from the insurance company, the case will settle like this. It's settle in a few seconds. If you ask for $500 the case will probably settle. The more money you ask for, the more difficult it becomes to settle the case. If you're asking for $50,000, you're going to get some resistance from the insurance company. If you ask for $500,000, you can bet this case is going to take a long, long time.
Generally speaking, the more money you ask for, the more documentation and proof and convincing an insurance company is going to require. Also, the more they will fight you. If you are asking them for $500,000, do you think they are going to roll over and write you a check? No, they're going to find out why, and they are also going to try to fight it. If you can't win, you're going to have to file a lawsuit against the party that hit you and who caused the accident. You're going to have to go after them and convince a jury that your case is worth $500,000.
Sometimes clients say, "Why is it taking so long?" I tell them, "You're asking for a lot of money. They are going to take a long time." And so, there is a relationship there.
The other issue is whether or not the adjuster is overworked. There are certain insurance companies that overwork their adjusters. The adjuster has about 200 and 300 files sitting on their desk. Don't expect the insurance adjuster to take home your file home and put it under their pillow and go to sleep. The insurance adjuster is not going to do that. The insurance adjuster has so many cases going on. They may not be able to give you the attention that you think your case deserves. They're just overworked.
Also, some insurance adjusters are not very responsive. Just like in any area of life, there are certain people who do their job really well and certain people who do their job, okay? And some people who don't do their job at all. They're sitting at the office having coffee, drinking with their friends, going out to parties, coming in late. They don't get their work done on time. Every insurance company has certain adjusters who are like that.
If you get assigned an adjuster who doesn't return your calls and is not responsive, that's sometimes just luck of the draw. Sometimes you have to go over their head and go to their supervisor. So that might affect how long it takes for a case to resolve.
Also, certain adjusters are notorious for asking for further information. They want to know more, and they want to get this and they want to get this document and that document. Some of them are very what I call "tree people."
You see, there are tree people and then there are forest people. In my opinion, some of the adjusters only look at trees and so they can only see this much. Then there are certain adjusters that see the forest, and they are the kind of people who see the forest from the trees. They don't need proof for every single minutia of detail. Unfortunately, some adjusters will actually ask you for more and more information simply as a stall mechanism because they really don't want to do the work. They just say, "Well, I need this document."
"You don't really need that document, do you? You're just stalling, now. You don't really want to do your job." Unfortunately, sometimes the adjuster that you get assigned will affect how long your case takes.
Another issue that sometimes affects how long a case takes is how responsive you are with your lawyer. If your lawyer asks you for this or for that, do you get them that information right away or do you take a week or two or three weeks before you get back to them? Sometimes the client themselves can delay the process of settling a case.
Briefly, the length of how long it takes your personal injury case will depend upon a variety of factors. Usually, most injury cases take about five or six months to resolve, but yours might take more. It might take less. The point is that you should always keep in mind that there are a variety of factors that affect that.
My name is Robert Mansour, and I want to thank you for watching this brief video. I hope you found it helpful.
If you need help with your personal injury case, call our office at (661) 414-7100.
At some point after presenting your entire claim to the insurance adjuster, you will get an offer of some sort. Usually, it will be much less than you were hoping. In my experience, it will be about half of what you were hoping for. You should discuss the offer with your lawyer. An attorney who has a great deal of experience in the area of personal injury should be helpful in determining the ballpark settlement value for your case. As a former defense attorney and now a plaintiff's attorney, I've seen all kinds of cases cross my desk. As such, you start to get a good sense of not only what the case is worth, but what a jury might do with the case.
After evaluating all factors, your attorney will discuss the case with you to come to a possible acceptable settlement range. Once you both have come to an agreement upon a general settlement range, your attorney will continue negotiating with the insurance company in hope that they will pay within the settlement range. Sometimes, you get a reasonable adjuster who will negotiate with you and work with your lawyer in an amicable fashion. Sometimes, you get an adjuster who is just generally angry with the world (something happened during their childhood), and all they want to do is even the score - regardless who they are dealing with.
Your lawyer is not a miracle worker. There is going to come a breaking point at which the adjuster will offer no more money. They will essentially draw a line in the sand. At that point, the lawyer and the client will have to talk numbers. Will there be enough money to pay off the doctors and other lien-holders? Will there be enough to pay the attorney fees and pay the client as well? If the final numbers are acceptable (even if you're not crazy about the final numbers), then you should settle the case. Remember, in most cases the settlement amount will not be what you had in mind. If you are working with an experienced lawyer, then you will probably have reasonable expectations. You won't take things personally, and you will work to get a number that works. If the numbers still won't work out, then you and your lawyer will have to figure out whether or not filing a lawsuit against the responsible party makes sense.
If you want to discuss your personal injury case, please call attorney Robert Mansour at (661) 414-7100 for a consultation. Also, please read the other blog posts, FAQ and library entries for more information.
One of my clients got involved in a minor car accident. He called me and asked me if it was okay for him to accept the $750 check sent to him by the responsible party's insurance company.
I asked when the accident occurred, and he told me that it has occurred about three months ago. I asked him what kind of injuries he had. He told me that he had some minor back pain on the date of the accident but otherwise didn't have pain since the date of the act. He also told me his vehicle only had about $600 worth of property damage. He also told me that he only had about two days rental. He had already been paid for his vehicle and the rental.
I asked how much his medical bills were, and he told me they were relatively small - only about $150. He said he was feeling much better and hadn't had any pain that he related to the accident recently. I told him that in that case, he could go ahead and accept the $750 settlement from the other insurance company. Basically, their offer certainly seemed reasonable in light of the minor nature of the accident and injuries.
Even if he were to get a bit more with an attorney's assistance, he might get less in the long run since the attorney usually takes 33.3% of the settlement as a fee. In many cases, an attorney can bring value to a case. However, when it comes to very minor accidents, it makes sense to try to settle the case on your own. If it makes sense, go ahead an accept the offer made by the insurance company. However, it doesn't hurt to run things by an experienced personal injury lawyer.
If you are involved in a serious car accident and want guidance, call attorney Robert Mansour to discuss your matter. Robert serves all of Los Angeles County with special emphasis on the Santa Clarita Valley (Valencia, Castaic, Saugus, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, and Canyon Country). Call (661) 414-7100 for more information.
Clients often wonder how long their case will take. One of my clients recently emailed me and asked, "Have they made an offer on my case yet?" I explained, "Well, you haven't finished treating with your doctors yet, and we don't know the extent of your bills or injuries. Therefore, we haven't formally presented your case to the insurance company yet. As such, they haven't made an offer on your case."
Clients sometimes want to put the cart before the horse. They want to hurry things along. They think the insurance company is going to make them an offer quickly, at the outset of their case. I think this is because people still think certain body parts are worth a certain amount. I really don't know why this is, but I often have to explain to clients that the insurance company for the responsible party is not going to make an offer on the case prematurely. The case has to be "ripe" before an offer is made. True, sometimes an insurance company will make you a paltry offer at the beginning of your case, but that's only because they are hoping you will take their low-ball offer and go away.
Therefore, to answer the question "How long will my personal injury case take?" there are many factors to consider:
(1) Are you still treating for your injury and what is the extent of your injury? The more serious your injury, the longer things will take.
(2) How much money are you asking for? The more you ask for, the longer your case will take.
(3) Is the adjuster handling your case overworked? Some adjusters are handling 200 cases at a time. You are simply one of many and they will get to your case when they can.
(4) Is the adjuster competent? Some adjusters never answer their phone or return phone calls. This can also delay your case.
(5) Are you providing your lawyer with the information and documentation he/she requests in a timely manner? Some of my clients are very helpful and responsive and some think documents are going to magically appear on my desk. The more responsive my client is, the more quickly I can present their case.
Therefore, while most personal injury cases resolve within 4 to 5 months, that doesn't mean your particular case will resolve within the same time frame.
If you have been involved is a personal injury accident in Santa Clarita or its surrounding areas, call attorney Robert Mansour at (661) 414-7100 for a free consultation.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,