Interviewer: Any misconceptions that people have about the auto-accident process?How hard it is or how long it is or how much money they’ll get?
Nicholas Lowe: Yes. Every client thinks their case is worth more than it is. I don’t think clients are trying to be dishonest or greedy, it’s worth more to them than anyone else because they went through it. Here’s an example. I’ve bought and sold a lot of cars in my life. I’ve never received when I sold a car what I really thought it was worth. If I think my car is worth 10 grand and I go to sell it and I get 8,500 that was the fair market value. I really thought it was worth 10 but I only got 8,500. I wasn’t trying to rip anyone off, it’s just that car was more important to me than it is to the rest of the world. We see the same thing in injury cases.
An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Provide a Fairly Accurate Prediction of the Amount of Settlement
A person who’s been injured, who has lost something, either time or money or health, it’s more important to that person than it is to the rest of the world. Clients in general think their cases are worth more than they really are. Fortunately, attorneys and particularly someone like myself who’s been practicing a long time, we have ways of evaluating cases and not the least of which is our own experience where similar cases have gone for what we’ve been able to get in settlement or a verdict. We can call our friends, our peers and find out what they got on a similar case. We can actually do some research online and see what verdicts are throughout the state for a given injury. My advice to clients is let the attorney help you evaluate the case, don’t tell the attorney what it’s worth; ask him what it’s worth.
It is Imperative To Get Proper Medical Care Following an Auto-Accident
Interviewer: How long of a gap in medical treatment is too long?What’s a reasonable gap?
Nicholas Lowe: There’s no answer to that. The day after an accident, a client goes to the doctor and the insurance company argues, “Why didn’t you give it a chance to get better on your own? Why did you run to the doctor right away?” I’ve had clients who’ve waited two, three, four weeks, they don’t get better, they go to the doctor and insurance companies argue, “Well, look, you waited two, three, four weeks, you must not be very hurt”. I’ve actually asked insurance adjusters that I am negotiating with to tell me what the answer is and I’ll have my client do that. If you want them in the next day, I’ll have them in the next day; if you want them in three weeks later, I’ll have them go in three weeks later. Of course the insurance adjuster will never answer that question.
The Longer the Delay in Medical Treatment, The Harder It is To Relate to that Accident
You have to do what’s reasonable and what makes sense to you. The longer the delay in treatment the harder it is to relate to the accident. You get an accident today, waiting a day, two, three days, five days, that’s not a big deal, you wait three or four weeks. It’s something for the defense to argue about; you wait four, five, six months or a year, really hard to relate that back to an accident a year ago. The same goes with gaps in treatment; if you treat consistently from January to April and then there’s no treatment in May and then you resume in June, there may be a very good explanation for that.
If there is a Plausible Reason for the Gap in Medical Treatment, it Can be Related to a Jury
You may have been out of time, your children may have been graduating from schooland your work may have taken you somewhere where you couldn’t go to the doctor. Then, you resume and that’s not a real critical delay. But the longer the delay, two, three, five, six months, 10 months, it’s very hard to get a jury to believe that you’re entitled to a lot of money unless you have a good reason for and sometimes there are.