Categorized | Opinion

Personal injuries are ‘personal’

By David Peel

David PeelIf you only listen to lawyers that are on television, they will have you convinced that every time someone bumps you in traffic you get $200,000. Obviously, that is not the case.
As a matter of fact, a lot of larger law firms use clerks who come to the house and sign you up. And as a result, you don’t ever get to meet with a real lawyer who actually handles your case. I was surprised to learn that people do this.
I would never do that. I want to lay eyes on a client and discuss things with them and I would assume that they would want to evaluate me in the same manner. Therefore, I personally open injury cases that our small law firm handles.
The idea of an experienced lawyer helping you with your case becomes more clear when your personal injury is not quite as run-of-the-mill as some others. For instance, I have rear-end accident cases here where people were simply shaken up and had to go get checked out to make sure they weren’t too severely injured, and they have some physical therapy to get back to pre-accident functioning.
But I also handle rear-enders where people have permanent nerve damage in their neck and have numbness and tingling running down their arms and their legs.
I’ve even had people who were injured by losing balance following a terrible collision. They developed a condition called benign positional vertigo. The good news is that it’s curable.
In other matters, I’ve had someone tell me they did not have a concussion at the time of the accident because the ER physician determined they did not. However, they experienced loss of memory, headache, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting, and an interruption in the memory of that day. In other words, they had every single evidence of a concussion that one could have, but the ER physician breezing in and out for a second didn’t see them. Or more likely the client didn’t know what to tell the physician.
That’s why personal injuries are so personal. Every injury can affect a different person entirely differently. As a result, values are very difficult to place.
Recently, I represented a gentleman who has a job that only a few people can do. When he had surgery, he managed to work from home and do the computer work the best he could on his own schedule. As a result, he really didn’t lose any wages at work. But because his healing time was totally wrapped up in running the division that he had to run, it became a big part of the case.
Insurance companies try to put all injuries in the same few buckets. Is it a soft tissue injury? Is it a surgical neck? Is it a tib fib fracture with external fixation?
It is a person, an individual person with hopes and dreams, with fears and insecurities. And they need help to get through this process. And the insurance company cannot be your advocate. They have to answer to the shareholders that pay their salary.
On the other hand, a good personal injury lawyer only gets paid when you get paid. They gamble all their time, experience, and expenses on the idea that they can bring value and prove their worth in your matter.
I wonder when doctors will charge on a contingency fee basis? You know, “we’re going to do the surgery but if you don’t feel better don’t pay me.”  I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon.
So when someone’s in an accident, or a slip and fall, or hit by a truck, remember that all injuries are personal. Some people will recover much better than others. Some will have severe emotional reactions to their injuries. Others may only be concerned about recovering their lost wages. Whatever it is, your advocate can hear your heart and express it on your behalf and be your champion because every personal injury is personal.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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