Now as a personal injury attorney who is constantly bombarded by people who may have been in an accident last week, last month, last year. Some people have very significant injuries, some people may have more soft tissue type injury. How do you make a determination as to the cases that you accept?
Do you have a formula?
Obviously you want people to be happy with your services. How do you make that determination as to if this is a case that you’re going to be able to help that person? Jonathan, that’s a great question, and it’s a hard question.
In some cases, well the first issue is, is there liability?
You can talk to the person and you can get a pretty good feel for was the other person…just because the other person was cited by the police doesn’t necessarily mean that they were…the other person was at fault. But you can hear the facts, get the police report preliminarily.
Or just even over the phone, make a pretty good determination that there’s responsibility…Sometimes there may be partial responsibility, but clearly you can pretty well decide…you get a rear end collision, left of center, T-bone intersection, failure to yield the right of way…So you want to know what the liability is, and then of course you want to know was there significant car damage.
We all know Jonathan, all these seminars that we’ve seen — low impact, soft tissue cases where there’s no car damage and you can spend
a heck of a lot of money getting experts, and people can get hurt. The cars are built so good now that they take the bulk of the hit, but it’s really really hard to convince a jury when you look at a car and see no car damage at least on one of the cars because cars can underride.
So I usually am looking for some type of significant damage — the bumper, cover underneath the bumper has been bent — something like that. And then of course, how fast have they gone to the doctor?
Did they start going the day of?
That’s the ideal situation. If they get a broken and severe injury, they’re in the hospital — those are the kind of cases I take and I can add value. Now the ones that are a close call or are maybe somebody’s been trying to handle the case themselves for a little while — it’s
been about 4 months out, the insurance company is starting to jerk them around, they’re getting the picture.
They come in and they’ve really only seen the doctor a couple of times.
Maybe they did go to the emergency room. That may or may not be a case that I can take unless I can with my intuition and judgement kind of think well is this just a strain or a sprain that’s going to heal up or are they having radiating pain down extremity and it could be a disc injury, then that can be very severe and serious — I may go ahead and take that case and follow it. And maybe they get better in 6 weeks, but I think they need somebody in there to help guide them.