Monday, February 11, 2019

Who Should Pay For My Property Damage in Louisville After a Car Crash?

I'm working on property damage today.  If your lawyer tells you that he only represents you on the injury claim and not the property damage claim than your lawyer is being lazy.  I will say that I authorize the insurance companies to set up a viewing of the vehicle and communication with my clients on this aspect of the claim.  Generally speaking my clients are going to know more about he value of their vehicle, but I'm happy to assist when necessary.



Property damage works like this: 1) the at fault vehicle pays for your damage (in pre-lit or because a judge/jury tells them to) or 2) you have comprehensive and collision and your insurance company pays for the damage. 

#1 is usually the preference because most people don't want to pay their deductible and most people want the other persons insurance company to be on the hook.  The issue here is that liability here needs to be relatively clear cut for the at fault carrier to make a liability decision and cover the damage.  If liability is disputed then the at fault won't pay on the sooner side and a lawsuit may be necessary.  That won't "speed" up the process, but it will get the carriers attention.  A carrier subjects itself to bad faith by failing to properly investigate.  That is the topic of another post.

So lets say you are side swiped and the other driver says you caused the crash.  His insurance company isn't going to pay for your damages without being forced to by a just or jury. If that is the case you better hope you option #2 available to you.

The quickest way to get the damage covered is thorough your carrier if you have the right coverage.  They will set it up and move the damage along.  Your insurance, assuming they don't think you are at fault, will then pursue the other insurance company to reimburse them.

The next question you have is how do they pay me.  If your vehicle is totaled they owe you the market value of the vehicle at the time of the loss.  Contrary to what you would wish, this means what the vehicle is worth and NOT what you owe on it (insert GAP insurance).  If you owe more on the vehicle due to depreciation then you can be in a bad spot, but the law can't force someone to pay for more damage than what something is worth.  If the car is fixable they will pay for the damages at the repair facility.  That is pretty cut and dry, but make sure you get a repair facility that you like and trust.

Some other tips: if you can wait get both carriers to make you an offer on the vehicle and take the higher one AND do not be fooled into thinking you must bring the vehicle where the insurance adjuster tells you go.  You have the right to choose the auto repair facility of your liking.  They want you to use theirs because its quick and cheap.  You don't want quick and cheap.

All of the above info is general.  As any lawyer would tell you...there are exceptions to everything.  I'm happy to discuss at 502-779-9998 or 502-444-HURT or bdettman@dettmanlawrgoup.com

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Fifty Times Value Multiplier, Is This Possible?

I resolved two cases last week.  The first case my client had $6,000.00 in medical expenses.  The second case my client has $17,500 in medical expenses.  The first case resolved for $300,000.00.  The second case resolved for $27,500.  You read that right.  The first case resolved for fifty times the medicals.  How can that happen?

As a lawyer I often hear "my uncle told me my case is worth three times the medicals."  That may have been applicable in 1960.  It isn't now. A case is worth 1) what a jury will pay or 2) what an insurance company will pay and 3) what your lawyer can get for you and 4) what you are happy taking. We usually don't get to #1 unless an insurance company is significantly undervaluing your claim.

There are also lawyers advertising "get three times more money."  That's a separate issue.  They are saying you will get more with a lawyer than without a lawyer.  They are right.

By the way, if you are curious, the fifty times medicals case involved a serious injury.    I know I did my best to get my client all the money that was available, and did, and hopefully that will ease some of the difficulty she has to deal with on account of her injury.

This week I resolved two other cases cases.  The first one the insurance company offered me $9,000.00 before a lawsuit.  That case resolved for $20,000.00 today.  The second one the insurance company made offers of 5, 7.5, 12, 13.5, 15.5 telling me that was top, and then $20,000.00.  All of these cases resolved for what they were worth from the get go.  It just takes some work to get there.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

I MADE A LOT OF MONEY THIS YEAR POSTS

I was born in 1982.  As a result, I'm basically on every form of social media available.  I'm also a plaintiff's lawyer so a lot of PI ads pop up on my feed.  Towards the end of the year its almost a requirement that a PI lawyer posts something like: My Firm Resolved X Million Dollars Worth of Cases This Year!"

I'm not sure how I feel about these posts.  Is there any other business in America where it is appropriate to tell everyone how much money you made?   Do cardiologists post about fixing five hundred hearts this past year?  Are lawyers basically just Birdman posting about driving Bentleys and eating lobster?

(I get that this photo is insane, thanks)

I can't explain why, but I'm ok with lawyers posting about a specific case they resolved, but I'd like details about initial offer, facts, etc to see if someone really did a good job.

I really wish there was some way for PI lawyers to advertise something like "I really helped this client who was struggling financially to stay afloat after this crash.  I was always available to help this client and did everything I could to ensure a positive result.  At the end of the day I really made a difference in this clients life."  But that honestly isn't as impactful in our Kardashian World as "I'm RICH!"

I do get saying you recovered X is basically advertising and letting the world know that you are a successful lawyer.  My take is this info probably belongs on a website.  And don't get me wrong, I'm happy that PI lawyers are sticking it to insurance companies.  I'd rather see "competition" do good than big insurance stick it to the little guy.  The question is how can lawyers find a way to say "I'm successful" without the unhumble brag?

FYI, if you are wondering if I'm posting this because I had a crap year....I didn't.  I had my best year yet.  And also, I haven't seen a I Made A Lot of Money This Year Post yet, so this isn't about anyone in particular.

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Monday, December 31, 2018

International Clients: Somalia, Bhutan, DRC, Iran, Vietnam

Louisville is a awesome city for the fact I get to interact with a diverse population and as a result I have represented clients from these countries and others.  I find that a lot of the time my international clients are exceptionally thoughtful, hard working people.  I speak enough French and enough Spanish to communicate at a basic level, but often times we use translators to assist when someone doesn't speak English as their first language.

I feel like I'm constantly slamming insurance companies on this blog (and I assume an insurance adjuster blog would moan about personal injury lawyers so I'm good), but my experience with international clients is certain insurers low ball immigrant clients.  Someone is going to find proof of this some day.  The insurance company would tell you this is a result of what zip code someone lives in.   I would tell you it is based on name.  I have handled enough cases to know that John Smith that lives in area code 40213 gets better initial offers that Muhammad Abdullah living in the exact same area code.

My goal on each and every injury case is to get top dollar for my client, based on who they are as a person and not where they are from.  If you are the victim of a car crash or other injury in Louisville call me for a free case evaluation.

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J'ai l'impression de claquer constamment les compagnies d'assurance sur ce blog (et je suppose qu'un blog d'expert en assurance gémirait à propos d'avocats en dommages corporels, alors ça va bien), mais mon expérience avec les clients internationaux est celle de certains assureurs immigrés. Quelqu'un va en trouver la preuve un jour. La compagnie d’assurance vous dirait que c’est le résultat du code postal dans lequel vit une personne. Je vous dirais qu’il est fondé sur le nom. J’ai traité suffisamment d’affaires pour savoir que John Smith, qui vit dans l’indicatif régional 40213, a de meilleures offres initiales que Muhammad Abdullah, qui vit exactement dans le même indicatif. Mon objectif pour chaque cas de blessure est d’obtenir le maximum pour mon client, en fonction de qui il est et non d’où il vient. Si vous êtes victime d'un accident de voiture ou d'une autre blessure à Louisville, appelez-moi pour une évaluation gratuite de votre cas


مجموعة متنوعة من السكان ونتيجة لذلك كنت أمثل عملاء من هذه البلدان وغيرها. أجد أن الكثير من الوقت لعملائنا الدوليين مدروسون بشكل استثنائي ، يعملون بجد. أنا أتكلم الفرنسية بما فيه الكفاية والأسبانية كافية للتواصل على المستوى الأساسي ، ولكن في كثير من الأحيان نستخدم المترجمين للمساعدة عندما لا يتحدث شخص ما الإنجليزية كلغة أولى.

أشعر بأنني أقوم باستمرار بإغراق شركات التأمين على هذه المدونة (وأفترض أن مدونة الضبط التأمينية تثير شكوى حول محامي الإصابات الشخصية لذا فأنا بخير) ، ولكن تجربتي مع العملاء الدوليين هي شركات تأمين معينة منخفضة الكروات. شخص ما سيجد دليلا على هذا يوما ما. سوف تخبرك شركة التأمين بأن هذا هو نتيجة للرمز البريدي الذي يعيش فيه شخص ما. أود أن أقول لك إنه يستند إلى الاسم. لقد تعاملت مع حالات كافية لمعرفة أن جون سميث الذي يعيش في رمز المنطقة 40213 يحصل على عروض أولية أفضل من محمد عبد الله الذي يعيش في نفس رمز المنطقة.

هدفي في كل حالة إصابة هو الحصول على أعلى الدولار لموكلي ، على أساس من هم كشخص وليس من هم. إذا كنت ضحية حادث سيارة أو إصابة أخرى في لويزفيل اتصل بي لإجراء تقييم حالة مجاني.

Louisville es una ciudad increíble por el hecho de que puedo interactuar con una población diversa y, como resultado, he representado a clientes de estos países y otros. Encuentro que muchas veces mis clientes internacionales son personas excepcionalmente reflexivas y trabajadoras. Hablo suficiente francés y suficiente español para comunicarme a un nivel básico, pero muchas veces usamos traductores para ayudar cuando alguien no habla inglés como su primer idioma.

Siento que estoy atacando constantemente a las compañías de seguros en este blog (y asumo que un blog de ajustadores de seguros se quejaría de abogados de lesiones personales, por lo que estoy bien), pero mi experiencia con clientes internacionales es que ciertas aseguradoras son clientes inmigrantes de bajo riesgo. Alguien va a encontrar pruebas de esto algún día. La compañía de seguros le diría que esto es el resultado del código postal en el que vive alguien. Le diría que se basa en el nombre. He manejado suficientes casos para saber que John Smith que vive en el código de área 40213 recibe mejores ofertas iniciales que Muhammad Abdullah que vive en el mismo código de área.

Mi objetivo en todos y cada uno de los casos de lesiones es obtener el mejor precio para mi cliente, en función de quiénes son como personas y no de dónde son. Si usted es víctima de un accidente automovilístico u otra lesión en Louisville, llámeme para una evaluación gratuita del caso.Louisville est une ville fantastique pour le fait que je puisse interagir avec une population diversifiée et, par conséquent, j'ai représenté des clients de ces pays et d'autres. Je constate que très souvent, mes clients internationaux sont des personnes extrêmement attentionnées et travaillantes. Je parle suffisamment le français et l'espagnol pour communiquer à un niveau élémentaire, mais nous avons souvent recours à des traducteurs pour aider les personnes qui ne parlent pas l'anglais comme langue maternelle.
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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Why Did My Lawyer Drop My Case

I get a call about once a week from an person wanting a new lawyer.  I rarely pick up the case.  The reason is simple, I'm not a pro bono lawyer.  If your lawyer dropped your case there is probably a reason.

I drop cases occasionally.  I do this when 1) I don't think a lawsuit will help the client 2) the client wants more than what the case is worth 3) after further evaluation the case turns out not to be a case that is winnable in front of a jury or 4) the client does something that I think is questionable. 

When I do drop a case I call the client and tell them straight up why I'm dropping the case.  I get calls from people stating "my lawyer says he is dropping my case because he isn't doing XYZ anymore and I"m XYZ."  Let me translate that for you that lawyer doesn't want the case and came up with a reason that sounded good as to not piss you off.  Lawyers don't drop "good" cases.

All that said, I have taken two cases other lawyers have dropped.  One was where the other lawyer presumably didn't understand under-insured motorist coverage.  The other was a fire case where the other lawyer didn't follow up on a freedom of information request that would have shown him the case was a good case.

#1 and #2 (above) reasons are similar.  I often get what I consider to be top dollar pre-litigation when you consider the costs of a lawsuit.  When I file a lawsuit clients have to pay me more money and the costs of the lawsuit are taken out of the eventual recovery.  What that means is that sometimes when you do the math there is good chance that all of the money will go to lawyers, doctors fees for testimony, and the costs of a lawsuit (like deposition transcripts).  I have heard of greedy lawyers filing suit just to bump up their fee.  That is a terrible business practice.  I don't want a pissed off client two years down the line telling me that none of the money is going to them. 

If a client wants a lawsuit on "principle" or to teach them a lesson I'm not a "principle" lawyer.  My job is to get you fully and fairly compensated for your injuries.

#3 occurs when "facts" change meaning that testimony pops up that wasn't previously available or a client isn't as injured as originally thought.

#4 is a rare occasion.  One happened to me this week, I received a call from a debt collector asking me about whether or not my client had a check coming their way on a car crash case.  I told the adjuster I couldn't answer any of the questions, but it was clear that the client had tried to hold off a debt collector by relaying inaccurate information.  If I lose trust in a client I lose trust in a case.

The other issue is that the prior lawyer will have a lien for "services rendered."  Depending on who that other lawyer is they may think they are entitled to a significant fee and thus I'd be really working for that lawyer at the end of the day.

Lawyers don't share this information which is why I think its important.

Its not really Advertising Material.  but I'll write Advertising Material here :) www.louisville-injury-lawyer.com

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Claiming "Board Qualification"...Not Board Certification

I had an interesting time deposing a "IME" ("Independent" Medical Examination) Doctor last week.  My client was rear ended by a jeep.   Moderate damage to my clients vehicle and no real damage to the jeep.  My client has a positive MRI finding an no prior issues with his back.  It was a trial deposition for the defense so they got to ask questions first.

After twenty something minutes of opining that my client wasn't hurt as a result of the crash I was given the chance to cross examine.   About four questions in the doctor told me that he wasn't comfortable providing opinions concerning the relatedness of the crash and the injury/medicine involved due to complications with law and ethics.  Huh?  My response was obviously "well you just spent twenty minutes discussing the exact same thing with the defense, but now all of a sudden you won't be providing any opinions?!"

He changed his tune and started answering my questions.  I thought it was good tactic on his part.  State that ethically you can't answer something the Plaintiff's lawyer is asking you, but answer all of the defense questions.

He did have some interesting things to say concerning his qualifications.  Doctors make a big deal about being "Board Certified."  Basically you practice medicine for a certain period of time and then you take a test to become Board Certified.  This doctor was asked if he was Board Certified and he stated he was "Board Qualified."  Board Qualified I asked him..."what exactly does Board Qualified mean?"  It meant that he was eligible to take the test, never did take the test,
and was not Board Certified.  I asked him if that was the same thing as going to law school, but never taking the bar examination.  He didn't like that question.  But CMON MAN! Just say you aren't Board Certified and move on.  No need to give some shady answer about being qualified. 

Side note, this doctor, for the past thirteen years, hasn't practiced medicine, but instead does these reviews for lawyers.  He does them for the defense, but doesn't keep a record.  He doesn't keep a record because he doesn't want Plaintiffs lawyers to know exactly how many he is doing.  This is a common trick "IME" doctors do.

I hope the jury sees thorough all of this guys nonsense.

Monday, November 12, 2018

"I do this all the time and nobody objects"

I went to a pre-trial conference a few weeks ago on a rear end collision case.  The judge is no nonsense and calls balls and strikes as she sees them.  The lawyer for the other side is a nice guy who talks really fast.  He is exceptionally proficient in cross examination, but his directs are basically him testifying about his position in the case and not really asking questions.  A lot of the questions are compound questions.  I had a decent amount of objections to his questioning.

The most interesting (objectionable :) questions he asked related to whether or not my treating physicians would respect the decision of the jury if the jury awarded my client zero money.  To me that is objectionable on two levels: 1) it invades the Provence of the jury and 2) its irrelevant.   Its the equivalent of me asking his doctor: so if the jury awards 14 million dollars for my client you are ok with that, right?  A jury shouldn't care what he doctor thinks about their award.  A jury should award or not award damages based on the testimony and evidence.  A jury shouldn't base their opinion on damages because some person in a white suit says they will be happy with whatever the jury does.  Happy the judge got this one right.

As I'm walking out the lawyer for the other side, who I genuinely believe is trying to help me in other cases, said I should use that line of questioning in other cases.  I'm not going to do that :)