How Insurance Companies View Car Accident Injury Matters
Have you ever heard that the best offense is a good defense? In order to properly evaluate, prepare, and go to trial, attorneys should recognize and address weaknesses in their cases. Let’s face it: insurance companies and their attorneys have greater resources than personal injury victims who have been hurt in car accidents.
In automobile accidents and personal injury cases, insurance companies spend a great deal of time and money to find and exploit weaknesses in an injury victim’s case. I have learned, through experience, that there are certain factors that insurance companies and their attorneys focus on to show weakness. Not ironically, these factors are the same issues juries often cite when awarding little money and defense verdicts.
A list of these factors, or major case weaknesses, include:
(1) A liability dispute – the injured victim either caused the accident or contribute to the accident or, worse yet, the injured victim was under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the accident happened;
(2) Delay in treatment – the injured person waited too long to get treatment so they must not be hurt;
(3) Insignificant vehicle damage – the vehicle in which the auto accident victim was in was not badly damaged, so how could anybody have gotten hurt;
(4) Pre-existing and subsequent medical issues – the injured person was already “broken” before the accident, so the insurance company is not responsible. Alternatively, the auto accident victim was hurt after the wreck in another incident so the insurance company is not responsible;
(5) Plaintiff is not credible – this theory is simply that the injured person is not worthy of belief or will not present well because of a number of factors, including past criminal convictions, past personal injury claims, bad conduct, or perceived exaggeration to get more money. I have a simple motto. I (and juries) prefer clients that are presentable, believable, and likable;
(6) The defendant is credible and likable – many insurance companies and their lawyers believe that a jury will not give a substantial award against a defendant who is well-received in the eyes of the insurance company;
(7) Venue – jurors in the county where the case will be held are known to not award a lot of money for injuries;
(8) The Plaintiff has lied – this is a major problem in any case. Honesty is always the best policy. Jurors and judges punish liars.
There are strategies that can help to minimize the negative effect of these weaknesses. These strategies can vary on a case-by-case basis. I have formulated many strategies in my practice. If you have been injured in a car accident or tractor-trailer accident, please feel free to contact me for a free case evaluation. Likewise, if you are an attorney having trouble in a particular case, please do not hesitate to contact me. Also, a good practice book that I recommend to attorneys handling automobile accident cases is called Maximizing Damages in Small Personal Injury Cases by James Publishing.