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Pain and Suffering? And my Attorney

Beachwood, OH |

Ok, I'm confused. My attorney put together a list of bills and sent it to the adjuster but did not include a demand amount nor did he include pain and suffering. I don't see any description on his part pertaining to my injuries. My car was totaled, I had back and teeth injuries. My bills and treatment plans total 21,000. The adjuster initially offered 14,000 (probably because my attorney for got about some bill... I informed him and send another letter to the adjuster). The adjuster offered 21,500. That only covers my bills and plans... no compensatory. And after the attorney takes 33%, the remaining will probably not cover all of my bills and treatment plans..... What should I do.
He doesn't appear to want to take it to court but he will.

I understand that about the insurance company but I am now questioning my attorney. When I do ask questions for example about not specifying an amount he then ask me if I want him to... I don't know im not an attorney. Also looking at sample demand letters, mine looks nothing like what I have seen. The 2 yr mark is drawing near. About 3 weeks away now. He informs me that if we take it to court I will have to pay him more and there is no guarantee that we would get more.... So he's trying to get me to settle. My teeth were perfect and now I hate smiling. Two were chipped, four were loose and fractured, thank goodness they did not fall out.... But my dentist says that I will more than likely have to get false teeth sooner than later... I'm only in my 20's! (sorry for the typos)

Attorney Answers 8

  1. Assuming you have qualified counsel, then more than likely he/she is properly representing you. It is frustrating, we all get that, but it takes time. The insurance company will do everything within their ability to make your life miserable. Sorry, but its so.

    Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff

  2. If you are unhappy get a second opinion or a new attorney.

    My name is Stephen R. Cohen and have practiced since 1974. I practice in Los Angeles and Orange County, CA. These answers do not create an attorney client relationship. My answers may offend I believe in telling the truth, I use common sense as well as the law. Other state's laws may differ.. There are a lot of really good attorneys on this site, I will do limited appearances which are preparation of court documents it is , less expensive. However generally I believe an attorney is better than none, but many will offer a free consultation and a face to face meeting generally will be better, I like my clients to write a short one page history of the fact and questions they have prior to meeting with them, so nothing is forgotten.

  3. You need to sit down face to face with your attorney. Find out exactly why your attorney thinks you should settle. Is there a policy of insurance limit problem? How many civil injury trials has your attorney tried to a jury? It sounds to me that your case should have a value greater than what has been offered so far. If you are still not satisfied ,you can always obtain a second opinion from another attorney. However, with your filing deadline approaching shortly, you may want to instruct your present attorney to file your lawsuit.

  4. You have hired a lawyer to represent you in your personal injury case. Therefore, you should pose these type of questions to your own hired representative. All attorneys handle demand letters and the negotiation process in a different manner. The facts and circumstances of your case are known by your own lawyer. Your medical bills may likely be reduced. The case can also be litigated if the offers are unfair. If you are not satisfied with the your present lawyer, you can always consult with another lawyer. If you discharge your present lawyer, the lawyer will likely still have a lien on the case for fees and costs.

  5. Since you are not happy with your lawyer, best bet is to get a new one.

  6. That is very suspect that no comprehensive demand was put together describing the history of your personal injury (at the time of the collision to now). Specificity is what makes a claim and the absence of that is also suspect. Your claim is MADE with your medical record and arguing your claim based upon your diagnoses. If you are only being offered above what the medical bills are, you really should request a breakdown of what you will retain, net settlement after fees and expenses. While no guarantee can be given, a competent personal injury can always value a claim in your jurisdiction based on their experience and history of practicing in that area. Again, you need a competent attorney who is willing to give you your day in Court especially against the big insurance companies.

  7. I agree with the other comments made by my colleagues. Pain and suffering is often difficult to evaluate and insurance companies try to minimize the amount they will pay for pain and suffering, especially if the injuries are not permanent. In Ohio the insurance company looks to the actual amount of the medical bills and then the amount that was paid and will not pay for any amounts that were written off. This is called the "Robinson" numbers. The facts of your collision and the nature of your injuries need to be carefully evaluated and a determination as to the likelihood of you obtaining a verdict or settlement if you proceed further with a lawsuit greater than the amount of the current offer needs to be carefully discussed with your attorney. IF your attorney handles personal injury cases and has tried cases to a jury he should be able to explain the risk and the benefit of proceeding forward with your case. The lawyer owes you the duty to explain why, in his judgment the amount of the offer is reasonable and should be able to explain to you the costs that will be incurred if you go to trial so you can make an informed decision as to whether to accept the offer or not. There is a lot that goes into the evaluation of your injury and that is why it is called a "personal" injury claim. This is your personal injury claim and you are entitled to be fairly compensated. Unfortunately, the system and the way insurance companies evaluate their exposure to a verdict is much different than what the injured party considers. You need to have a sit down with your attorney and make sure he explains all that will be involved and whether he is willing to go to court. If he is not and you feel strongly about your position, you can and should consult with another attorney as it is your right to do so.

  8. Every attorney has his/her own strategy in helping to maximize value for their client's claims. Some use detailed demand letters, others don't. I don't even know if comprehensive demand letters make any difference when battling an insurance company whose goal is to pay as little as possible. Here in Ohio, they are sometimes only focused on the bills and refuse to focus on the "real life" implications this crash has had on you. Depositions are the best way to show an inattentive or skeptical insurance company what has happened to you. Some times it is best to encourage an attorney to file a lawsuit and request that the insurance adjuster be present at the deposition. This is a fail-safe way to ensure he knows what you've been through. Of course, there are risks that accompany this strategy. Further proof that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to handling personal injury claims/cases. If you've lost faith in your attorney, have him come to your home to delve into these issues. Tell him everything about how you feel and what your goals are. Unfortunately, going to a trial is oftentimes not the best way to achieve your goals. So creativity is important. If an insurance company sees that an attorney is unwilling to go to court, we see that their offers are often much less.
    In Ohio, medical bills are a huge issue/problem. There is a rule that says your attorney is allowed to use the dollar amount of the medical charges while the insurance company can use the amount that was accepted as payment in full. So even though your charges might be $21,000, the insurance company may be reducing them quite a bit if they are aware of any health insurance that paid on your bills. Or...if some of your treatment was from a medical provider whose bills are unreasonable, the insurance company will discount them. One way many attorneys get more money for their clients is to negotiate with the medical providers if there isn't enough money from a low settlement offer. So just because your bills are $21,000, that doesn't mean you will have to pay them dollar-for-dollar if there are issues and problems with your case.
    As you can see, there are tons of nuisances, strategies and issues involved. But at the end of the day, you need to like and trust your attorney. I hope you can get there with yours.

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