Guest Blog Post – Steve Gnau, Esq. (California)
After a personal injury from a car accident, it is essential for the victim to take the first steps towards protecting their claims against the person or company responsible for causing their injury. Floridians have access to a significant component that our California clients do not have -PIP. Florida has Personal Injury Protection for Auto Insurance. PIP provides injured drivers with up to $10,000 in immediate medical coverage in lieu of establishing fault through the court system. Will that be enough? Often it is not and hiring an experienced attorney at the beginning can be very important. How upset would you be as an accident victim if you found out that your healthcare providers, who are all very aware of your PIP coverage, burned through the coverage getting meaningless diagnostics before your necessary therapies were completed? What if you are not getting better and your PIP coverage is almost gone, but instead of ordering an MRI which could reveal your underlying injury, your therapist repeats your treatments for two months but none of that additional therapy improves your condition? If you don’t understand how PIP works or you don’t know how PIP can create pitfalls, then protecting your case by getting in front of a personal injury attorney like Percy Martinez, Esq. is necessary from the very beginning.
Florida drivers should rejoice for having PIP. But, what do you do when your PIP coverage isn’t enough. Emergency Room bills are expensive, hospital bills are more, and the cost of trauma surgery can be through the roof. When the PIP isn’t enough, getting with a personal injury attorney like Percy Martinez is critical. When an accident isn’t your fault, the last thing you want is for it to end up costing you money. But, I can happen and it frequently happens to the unwary. So, while I’m not in Florida, here are some of my considerations if I needed to hire a Florida personal injury attorney.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
You need to believe and believe in the attorney you are hiring. That may sound redundant but its not. If your claim can’t be settled the ultimate resolution of your matter is going to trial. Therefore, you should be looking for an attorney that is believable since that attorney may be responsible for telling your story to a jury. If you think the attorney is full of BS, then you certainly can anticipate a jury will, too. You also need to believe in the attorney and that comes from their knowledge of these types of cases. Be wary of the attorney that a friend or family member wants you to hire. That attorney may have done well for your friend or family member but their representation may have had nothing to do with personal injury. Be wary of the attorneys who have a zillion “reviews.” If the number of reviews greatly exceeds the number of cases the attorney handles in a year, then you may want to question the legitimacy of those reviews. Be wary of attorneys who list on their website a ridiculously large amount of money “collected on behalf of clients.” I’ve seen these amounts go into the billions and trillions only to uncover in the small print that the attorney is part of a consortium of injury attorney working separately but “pooling” their case results for advertising purposes. What this means is an attorney that who settled 100 cases for $100,000 each can pool his or her results with 50 other attorneys who did the same a print that they have settled a half a billion dollars in cases. Math fun facts –yes, true representation of past performance – no.
The other reason you need to be able to believe in your attorney is the inevitable issue of ‘buyer’s remorse.’ Buyer’s remorse is that regret you feel after buying something you don’t need or can’t easily afford. For example, you trade in your paid-off truck for a new one and then at home realize that the new $700 payment each month is seriously going to impact your entertainment budget for the next five years. Buyer’s remorse happens in personal injury cases, too. When you settle your claim and agree to an amount with the insurance company, you’ve sold your pain. Since there is no price tag on pain, it’s very hard to know if you got a good ‘trade.’ Having an attorney in whom you trust advising you to settle and advising you that the settlement is fair is incredibly important for overcoming buyer’s remorse from settling your claim.
About the Guest Author:
Steve Gnau, Esq. is an attorney in California and a founding partner of Traffic Accident Law Center. As the name implies, the firm almost exclusively handles San Diego personal injury victims with injuries arising from motor vehicle collisions in claims against insurance companies and in litigation. Mr. Gnau has been license in, and only in, California since 1995. As a result, the content of his writing is not legal advice but rather his opinions. For example, Mr. Gnau is not qualified to give legal advice in Florida.