Why It Makes Dollars & Sense to Hire a Lawyer Fast! - Part 2 of 2
All too often I see prospective clients delay in hiring a bicycle injury lawyer. They have a lot of reasons for doing so, ranging from uncertainty about the merits of their case to wanting to avoid the appearance of being overly litigious. However, injured bicyclists should keep in mind that (1) the risks of hiring a bicycle injury attorney are minimal, and (2) delays can prejudice their case. So, let me offer you a few tactical reasons to quickly hire a trained trial lawyer.
In part 1 we discussed Representation, Investigation and Avoiding liens.
…..continued from part 1.
1. Social Media Pitfalls
In the internet age, victims/plaintiffs often post about the traumatic crash events on social media or discuss them with friends and relatives via email. Had they consulted an attorney sooner they would have understood that this is a case killer and been advised against it. It doesn’t even matter if you think the information you are sharing is harmful or not. The insurance companies will troll for anything you say publicly about the case in the claims evaluation stage, and will often demand private statements in unprotected emails and Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram posts in discovery. Once they obtain this information, they will know how to use it to weaken your case. In cases of an offhand statement that makes it seem like you are acknowledging fault, or evidence that you are less hurt than you claim to be, they will use this against you in devastating fashion. But they will also use information that strengthens your case to their own advantage. If they are able to evaluate your case independently of what you share with them directly, they will use this to conceal their bargaining position to you and possibly mislead you into settling for less than they would be ultimately willing to offer.
Having a trial lawyer warn the victim/plaintiff early on prevents these mistakes and helps save costs by efficiently settling cases without the confusion caused by irresponsible social media usage. The temptation to overshare on social media is powerful, but can destroy your case. On the other hand, communications to an experienced trial lawyer are protected by the attorney-client privilege. The confidentiality and safe guidance that goes with that is worth its weight in gold.
2. Designing a Damages Strategy
Any experienced trial lawyer knows that every case should be prepared at the outset as if it is going to trial. This doesn’t mean your case will go to trial, but that level of preparation will assist in maximizing your damages, and consequently maximize your net recovery. Early preparation is key to telling a coherent story that not only shows liability, but also damages.
Defense attorneys love to pounce on gaps in medical treatment. Arguably, if the victim/plaintiff was hurt, they would seek immediate and consistent treatment. Gaps in treatment undermine damages awards in several ways. They can be used to show that the plaintiff isn’t hurt as badly as they claim, or that some injuries are from an unrelated incident. They can also be used to show that the plaintiff is not taking diligent steps to mitigate their damages. Experienced plaintiff’s attorneys will advise their clients regarding the legal implications of their treatment decisions. There are at least three extremely important areas that a good lawyer will help their client here:
Knowing to tell your doctors to provide disability slips to show your physical limits helps establish the basis for your pain, suffering, and time off work.
Getting a referral slip to physical therapy and for medication also helps you get well, which is required. The victim/plaintiff must fairly mitigate and document his/her damages.
Finally, seeing the right experts to evaluate and testify to the extent of your damages and the need for future medical treatment is critical to maximizing your recovery.
So, please do yourself a favor, hire an experienced bicycle injury trial lawyer early on. Don’t “wait and see,” and don’t hire a discount lawyer. Don’t waste your time and potentially sabotage your case with indecision. If many athletes in the bicycling and triathlon community recommend the experienced trial lawyer, hire him and take immediate action. “Speed kills” is a truism across many contexts. In the legal context, speed kills the insurance company lawyer tactics that are designed to deny, delay, and defend against your claim—all at your expense.
Hire a trained professional and win what’s rightfully yours.
Ride safe! Ride strong!
©Richard L. Duquette, Esq. All rights reserved 2018 – LEGAL ADVERTISING
Contributors: Justin Nelson, Esq., Michael Norton Esq., Clayton Griessmeyer, Esq.
www.911law.com * Podcast: Bicycling and The Law 911law.com
The information in this article is for general information purposes only. The focus of this article is on California Law. You should contact an attorney in your state for case specific advice, as details of the law and procedural requirements vary from state to state. Nothing in this article should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship; and the receipt, reading, listening, or viewing of this content shall not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Nothing in this article shall be construed as a warrant, promise, or guarantee about the outcome of your case or any other matter. This information may contain personal impressions or statements of opinion on a subject that do not apply in your case. Further, statements of law reflect the current state of the law at the time of writing and/or recording, and may not reflect subsequent changes in the law.