After an accident, and if you are able, try to take photographs of every vehicle that was involved in the accident. If you have the energy at the scene of the accident and you have a camera or perhaps a cell phone that has a camera in it, take pictures – but not only of your vehicle. I have a lot of clients who bring me lots of pictures of their vehicle only. That’s fine, and that’s very helpful. However, if you can, take pictures of all the other vehicles that were involved in the accident as well.
Also, try to take pictures from several different angles because a picture is a static image. It’s two-dimensional, and sometimes it’s very difficult to assess the damage simply by looking at it from one angle. If you are viewing the vehicle damage with your own eyes, you have three-dimensional ability, and you can assess the damage a little bit better. So if you're taking a photograph, make sure to take photographs from several different angles so that you better tell the story. Also take photos in different lighting conditions because some damage may be harder to see in different light. Try to make sure your reflection or shadow isn't in the photo. That can be distracting when you are trying to convey the extent of damage. You want the insurance adjuster to understand this was more than a simple parking lot tap to your car, and the best way to do that is through photographs that really tell your story.
If you don’t have photographs, it’s tough to convince a jury or an adjuster or anybody else of the severity of the impact. Pictures really do tell a thousand words. So to the extent that you can, take many photographs. If your vehicle has already been towed to a yard, see if you can get to that yard or have a friend or a family member go to that yard and take some pictures of your vehicle. The more the merrier. There really is no limit. At the end of the day, the photos you take should be designed to convey your story to the insurance adjuster.
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 everybody, my name is Robert Mansour, and I wanted to make a brief video today about causation. Causation is an important element of personal injury cases. Just because you have an injury doesn't necessarily mean it was from the car accident. Sometimes I have clients who have a lot of pain and we go and we take an MRI or some kind of scan of their back or their neck, and we find a problem. Let's say we find a herniation of the disc or a bulging disc or a tear in the shoulder or something like that.
The question from the opposing side is always going to be well fine, but is that from the accident or perhaps it's from something else. When you have a preexisting problem for example before the accident, it's a 2-edge sword. The defense is going to argue that that's a preexisting problem and the accident has nothing to do with it. The plaintiff is going to argue that the accident aggravated that condition and made it worst. Now its tough to tell of course when it's aggravated, when does it go back to pre-accident level or does it ever go back to pre-accident level.
This is where doctor's testimony is very important. This is where you want to be able to ask the doctor, "Doctor can you say with any certainty that this is from the accident versus something that predates the accident?" Now another thing that you can do sometimes is you can say, "Fine. Maybe I have this problem before the accident, but it was dormant. It was asymptomatic. I didn't have any symptoms." The argument that I would use is I would say, "Ladies and gentleman, my client is standing at the edge of the cliff."
The other party came and push them over the cliff. By doing so, they can't just say, "Oh well, I pushed you over the cliff. That's your problem." If you have a preexisting problem that was asymptomatic but is now symptomatic, that is an argument that you should make in your personal injury case. My name is Robert Mansour and I just wanted to address this issue causation today in this brief video. I hope you found it helpful, and thank you very much for watching.
Call (661) 414-7100 if you've been involved in a serious car accident and need advice. Robert serves Santa Clarita, CA and its communities of Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Castaic and Stevenson Ranch. Robert also serves the larger Los Angeles county area.
Here's a new tactic that a lot of the insurance companies are using in personal injury cases. You get hit from behind. It's very clear it's their client's fault. There's a lot of damage to the front of their car. The back of your car has a whole bunch of damage and the police report is totally against their client.
Now, sometimes what the insurance companies are doing now is they say, "Oh. We need to speak with our client. We need to interview them. We need to take their statement. We need to investigate." What they're doing really is, they are stalling. I mean, that's really what's going on here. They're stalling. In the meantime, you are accruing bills, you are accruing rental expenses. You are accruing doctor's bills. You have pain. You might not be able to go see the doctor and while they're investigating the case.
There's little I can do because the insurance company doesn't have to jump when you say, "Jump," but just be aware of this new tactic that they are using. When everything is so crystal clear that their client is at fault, they will still insist that they need to investigate the matter and that involves talking to their client. Sometimes their client won't return calls. They have difficulty contacting that person, so in the meantime your case is in limbo. Please understand you're not alone when it comes to these kinds of tactics.
My name is Robert Mansour and I hope you enjoyed this brief video. If I can be of assistance in your personal injury case, please feel free to give me a call. Thank you.
Hello everyone. This is Robert Mansour. I'm a personal injury lawyer in the Los Angeles area. In this brief video I want to discuss the difference between a claim and a lawsuit. Many times clients come to my office and they think that we are going to bring a lawsuit against somebody. In most cases we're not bringing the lawsuit against anybody yet. What we are doing is bringing a claim against the responsible party. In most cases what we are actually doing is presenting the claim to the insurance company for the responsible party. So that responsible party may know that you brought a claim but for the most part that's all they're really going to know. Everything is going to be handled by the insurance company for the responsible party and we deal with that insurance company and hopefully we're able to resolve the claim.
Now if we cannot resolve the claim then what we do is the client and the lawyer have to sit down and talk about filing a lawsuit against the responsible party. Let's say some guy named Bob causes you an injury and Bob has XYZ insurance company. We're going to bring a claim against Bob but we're going to present it to XYZ insurance company. They will pay for your injuries and your damages but only up to whatever their policy is for Bob. So if Bob has $15,000 of insurance that's all they're going to pay, the insurance company. The rest is really up to Bob and whether or not you want to pursue Bob is a whole other different story. So that's what a claim is.
But if you cannot resolve the claim then you have to sit down and talk about filing a lawsuit against Bob. That involves filing paperwork with the court, it's called a complaint, serving that complaint upon Bob, and then Bob is going to call his insurance company and say, "Hey, it's Bob, I just got served with a lawsuit," and the insurance company will then assign a lawyer to defend Bob in the lawsuit that you have brought against Bob.
So the claim is something that happens pre-litigation, before a lawsuit is filed. That claim 95% of the time those things resolve before a lawsuit is necessary. But every so often you reach an impasse in a case that cannot be overcome. Then the plaintiff has to file a lawsuit with the court that is served upon the defendant, the responsible party, and that person's insurance company usually provides that person with an attorney to defend them in this lawsuit.
I hope that helps you understand the difference between a lawsuit and a claim. A lawsuit also can be very financially and emotionally taxing, not that a claim isn't, but a claim is generally not as stressful to go through. I hope that helps to illustrate the difference between a claim and a lawsuit. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact my office. Thank you very much.
If you were alive in the 1970s and 1980s, you might remember a very common bumper sticker that simply stated, "Hit me! I need the money!" People would put this bumper sticker on the rear of their car, jokingly inviting folks to rear end their vehicle so they could "cash in" on some easy insurance money.
Back then, it was very common to get a quick and easy settlement from most insurance companies. In fact, an unspoken "formula" of 3X medical bills was used to "calculate" what you could expect in your accident case. For example, if your bills amounted to $5000, you would expect a settlement offer of at least $15,000. These were gravy train days for injury lawyers. For many insurance companies, fighting these claims wasn't financially prudent, so they would pay out settlement to anyone who got into a car accident. An entire cottage industry of "fake" and staged car accidents was born, involving people who fake/exaggerate injuries, lawyers who help them stage accidents and stuff their cars with more accident "victims," and doctors who all wanted an easy pay day.
Flash forward to present day. No one has those bumper stickers anymore. It's not because they fell out of fashion - it's because it's no longer true! Insurance companies got wise to the tricks being played on them. They hired teams of in-house insurance adjusters and lawyers to fight these cases. In fact, I was one of those lawyers! The insurance industry waged war on what became known as simple "soft tissue" cases. Soft tissue cases are ones that simply involve minor aches and pains to the muscles and ligaments. Insurance companies commissioned doctors to study soft tissue cases, and most insurance companies came to the following conclusion: "We are not going to pay much money anymore on soft tissue cases. Simple strains and sprains generally resolve over time, so we are going to fight your claim!"
Therefore, I still have clients who are surprised when they are not offered $25,000 on their soft tissue case. They argue, "But this was a traumatic accident for me! My world was turned upside down!" They go on and on about how the insurance companies are not fair, etc. They are partially correct. The insurance companies are not fair and often offer paltry amounts on these cases. However, the insurance companies have effectively fought these cases over the years, and they know that in most cases, juries agree with them. Most jurors have aches and pains simply getting up in the morning, and they have no patience for most plaintiffs who take up an entire week of the court's time (and the jury's time) to complain about soft tissue injuries. In my experience, most juries are offering little to nothing on these types of cases. In fact, they are sometimes even stingier than the insurance adjusters.
So here is the simple truth. If you have a minor accident and have soft tissue injuries, you are going to be offered little to nothing on your claim. If you have moderate to significant property damage, you will generally get a better offer because insurance companies will lend more credence to your claim if there is more property damage. Even then, we are not talking big bucks. Most cases settle for about $5000 to $15,000. I was handling a soft tissue case recently where my client was appalled that all she was being offered was $10,000. Her medical bills were about $4000. I tried to explain that this was a reasonable offer given the fact her injuries were soft tissue in nature.
Once again, the bumper stickers no longer exist because the "pay-out" environment no longer exists. Now you are lucky to get 2X your medical bills, if that. Most insurance companies won't even accept your medical bills as is. They will argue your bills are high and will slash them significantly. In fact, some insurance companies will spend $25,000 to avoid paying you $5000. Is that fair? Probably not. Is it true? Yes it is.
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.
Sometimes clients call me and wonder why their case has been apparently handled so many different adjusters. It might seem like there are many different people handling your case, especially at the very beginning. When you first place a call to the insurance company for the responsible party, or even your own insurance company, you're often greeted by an intake person. This person's job is simply to take the call, get the relevant information, and then turn the matter over to the appropriate department or the appropriate adjuster. These intake people are often very friendly and in some cases may give you false hope that everything is going to be simple and easy. Keep in mind, they have no reason to be unpleasant with you, and in most cases, they are so nice that you may have a false sense of security that everything in your case is going to turn out just fine. They assure you that they're going to take care of everything, that there's nothing to worry about, and so on. I'm not suggesting these folks are lying to you...I'm just suggesting their pleasant demeanor is not necessarily indicative of everyone you're going to encounter.
The next adjuster who might help you is usually the property damage adjuster. This person's job is to help you resolve your property damage claim. Whether or not it is your insurance company or not, this adjuster will often arrange for your vehicle to be inspected either by their own in-house inspectors, and/or the body shop. Sometimes, the property damage adjuster will send an inspector to take a look at your car wherever it might be. They will often give a preliminary assessment and in many cases write up an estimate. If your vehicle is a an obvious total loss, sometimes that's all it takes. In some cases, your vehicle will be taken to a shop where you will receive a more detailed estimate. The property damage adjuster may also arrange for you to get a rental car. Make sure that the rental car arrangement is strictly between the insurance company and the rental car company. All you need to do is pick up the car and return the car. If your vehicle is a total loss, you might hear from a "total loss" adjuster.
Another adjuster you might hear from is the bodily injury adjuster. If you are making an injury claim, your case will be assigned to a bodily injury adjuster whose job it is to review your medical records and bills and compensate you for your injuries. Keep in mind, this person does not have your interests at heart. They work for the insurance company, and their job is to take a very conservative stance when it comes to your medical bills. Don't believe it when they tell you they will "handle" all your bills and just to send it to them. If the bills get too high, the adjuster will argue your bills are too high and will not want to pay them. If you treat for too long, the adjuster might give you a hard time about that as well.
You need to know there are many different people at the insurance company that might handle your claim. Some insurance companies have even gone to a "team approach." Every time you call, you might get somebody different. The person taking your call might work for a particular team that handles your file. In some cases, this is very convenient because you don't have to speak with the same person every time. You don't have to play as much "phone tag." By the same token, the inverse is true, as it could also be very frustrating because you may have to rehash what you spoke about even though they try to keep copious notes at their end.
If you need help with your personal injury case, call our office at (661) 414-7100 to see if we can assist you. Thank you so much for visiting our website.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Hello everyone. This is Robert Mansour. I'm a personal injury attorney in the Los Angeles area. Today I wanted to make a brief video about an issue that is sometimes very difficult to understand and get your mind around when you've been involved in an auto accident where another person has caused you injury.
What happens a lot in the cases that I handle is the client's call me and they say hey I got into an accident, I was taken by ambulance, I went to the Emergency Room. The ER doctor did XYZ for me and there was an anesthesiologist and then they sent me to another doctor and then I had some Xrays and a CT scan and an MRI and I need some help.
Then sometimes I'm able to find a doctor who will help the client with a personal injury case, or sometimes the client continues to go through their own health care channels, whatever the case may be. But here's what happens. The client starts to get bills in the mail from the hospital, from the ambulance company, from the emergency room, from the emergency room physicians, from the MRI facility, from the CT scan facility. What happens is the client gets the bill and looks at it and says oh, I'm not responsible for this the other party is responsible for this, and they throw the bill in the trash. Or they fax the bill to me and think that the bill is magically going to be taken care of.
On the one level you have a gut feeling that the other party is responsible and they're supposed to pay your bill. Well that is theoretically true but that's not how it happens in real life. In real life the party responsible for the accident is not going to pay your bills as they arrive in your mailbox. You can't just turn them over to the responsible party and say hey you take care of this. That's not how it works. That's why people have health care insurance. That helps take care of that. That's why people might have something called medical payments coverage under their own auto policy that might pay for that.
If you don’t have those two things then you're ultimately responsible for those bills. The emergency room doesn't care that the responsible party is somebody else, or somebody else caused the accident. The emergency room doctors don't care. The CT scan facility, the MRI facility, they don't care. All they know is that you got hurt, they provided the service and they want to get paid.
What I try to explain to my clients is you can't just ignore these bills when they come in the mail. You can't just say oh well they're not my problem, they're somebody else's problem. Or my lawyer is going to have them paid. Look I can't do any magic. I can't create health insurance where there is none. I also can't create medical payments coverage if there is none. Those folks are beyond my control.
Sometimes you can kind of keep them at bay a little bit and tell them to hold on a little bit, give you some time. Sometimes they will do that, but more often than not they want to get paid. I tell my clients to just go ahead and make some payments. Send $20, $50 a month, whatever you can just to keep them at bay and to prevent them from sending you to collections.
The bills that you accumulate at the hospital and the ER and the ambulance, they're all part of your damages, they will ultimately be presented to the other party for compensation, but it just doesn't happen as you go along. It's presented at the very end of the case, with everything else that you're going to present and at that time the defendant or the responsible party will be settling the case with you at that time. It doesn't happen as it goes along. The big lesson here is do not ignore bills that come in the mail. They are not necessarily going to be paid by anybody else. You are responsible for them.
A client still one time had a very difficult time understanding and I tried to explain to him I said look, let's say somebody vandalizes your house and they vandalize your house and they paint all over your house and you call a painter. The painter comes to your house and repaints your house and makes it real nice. Then the painting guy comes to you and says hey I painted your house, it's time for me to get some payment from you. You can't tell the painter hey listen it's not my problem, you go find the responsible party and you bill them. The painter is going to say no I don't think so, I want you to pay me because I did a service for you. You can go after the other party at a later date but in the meantime I want to get paid today for the work and the services that I provided to you.
It's the same thing with all the emergency folks and the ER doctors and the ambulance and all of those people. They want to get paid. They don't really care that you're going to ultimately go after another party. This is something very important that I want to drive home with folks today on this video.
If you're dealing with doctors who do personal injury cases and work with the attorney's office they might do things on a lien, which means that they don't get paid until the very end when you settle your case. That's a distinction that I want you to understand.
I hope this video has been helpful. I try to be as candid as I can with clients and explain things to them as best I can. I hope this was helpful in understanding the issue of medical bills, especially those incurred before you went to see the lawyer. Especially those incurred with facilities that have nothing to do with personal injury and don't really care who did what to whom.
Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoyed this video. Take care.
If you get into an auto accident and suspect you've been injured, it's a good idea to take some time to call an experienced lawyer and learn more about your rights and how to best present your claim. In some cases, a lawyer can help, and in others, you may not need to hire a lawyer. In this brief video clip, Santa Clarita lawyer Robert Mansour is asked whether or not it's a good idea to hire a lawyer:
Tami: So what point do we call our attorney? If I leave here today, I get into a little fender bender, do I call you right away?
Robert: I think it's a good idea to meet with a lawyer. 50 percent of the time when I meet with my clients, I tell them you're better off without a lawyer. I really do. And there are some attorneys who give the industry a bad name. I understand that. However, I will tell the client, "Look, you're better off without me." In fact, I have a video on my website, 'How to Handle Your Own Personal Injury Case,' what to do ...
Robert: ... step by step, because sometimes you don't need to involve the lawyer.
Robert: But wouldn't it be nice to know what your rights are, so that when you are told information by the insurance adjustor it comes through that filter, and you know whether you're being taken for a ride or whether they're being truthful with you.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,