How does your firm differ from the other personal injury firms?
My office has two distinguishing factors. First, for 17 years before becoming a lawyer, I was a healthcare provider in private practice. During this time, I evaluated and treated hundreds of injured patients, and on occasion had to testify as an expert witness for my patients. I understand how the human body is injured and the road to recovery. This background allows me help my clients get proper medical treatment, explain their injuries to a judge or jury, and call BS on an insurance adjuster who tries to downplay their injury.
Second, unlike most personal injury firms who have paralegals do the work up front and only get the lawyer involved if a lawsuit needs to be filed, I handle the case from the outset. I believe the attorney-client relationship is a partnership. It is my job in the partnership to help the client navigate through the minefield of insurance companies, healthcare providers, and the law unscathed so she receives maximum compensation for her injuries.
Why is it important to consult an attorney early in the process?
Because there are so many traps that can negatively impact the rest of an injured person's life. Nobody wakes up the morning and says “today, I want to be injured in an accident.” An accident is just another inconvenience that disrupts their life so they try to get by with as little disruption as possible. For instance, the accident victim goes to the emergency room, and is told to follow-up with their doctor in 72 hours. Every day, she says “I have to make that doctor's appointment” or “my problem is going to go away.” After a week or so, the problem has gotten worse and the accident victim has not yet made the appointment. She finally gets into the doctor two weeks after the accident.
Many people don't understand how gaps in treatment or alleged non-compliance can be used against them by an insurance company. They believe the insurance company will understand that life had to go on. A fact scenario like this can hurt the accident victim in two ways. First, they delay in following up with the doctor can delay recovery or even allow the condition to be chronic. Second, the insurance company will take the position that either the accident victim did something else to injure herself in the two-week span of time or she made the problem worse by not following the emergency room doctor's advice and she was “non-compliant.” In legal terms, she failed to mitigate her damages.
An experienced lawyer is going to make sure that the client understands the importance of following their doctor's advice and completing any prescribed treatment program or tests, and is educated about the process along the way.