top of page

A Cautionary Tale: The Importance of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer After an Accident

On a sunny spring morning, Jennifer, an avid cyclist, was enjoying her daily ride when her life changed in an instant. An inattentive motorist failed to notice their light had changed to red and broadsided Jennifer at a speed of 25 miles per hour. Jennifer sustained multiple injuries, including two broken ribs and a concussion.

Despite wearing all necessary safety gear and abiding by traffic rules, Jennifer immediately found herself facing an uphill battle with the at-fault driver's insurance company. The insurer, rather than accepting responsibility and fairly compensating Jennifer for her injuries, began a process of obstruction and intimidation.

First, the insurance company asked Jennifer to provide a general medical release so they could obtain all of her medical records. Jennifer signed the release, figuring that full transparency would bring about the quickest resolution to her case. Next, the insurance company asked Jennifer to provide a recorded statement about the accident. Again, Jennifer figured that fully cooperating was the best response. "They want this resolved as much as I do," she reasoned.

Jennifer then began to navigate the complex referral process of her HMO health insurance. She needed an MRI and to see an orthopedist, but appointments were booking out 3 months in advance. Eventually, Jennifer got the treatment she needed and submitted her bills to the at-fault driver's insurance company for settlement consideration.

The insurance company responded a month later, claiming they needed additional records and information. Four months after that, they made a settlement offer of just $5,000, citing "pre-existing conditions" and some misconstrued statements from Jennifer's recorded interview.

Jennifer's story is all too common. Innocent accident victims believe there is no reason to hire a lawyer because the insurance companies are there to help. In reality, the insurance company business model requires paying out as little as they possible can, even on legitimate claims. Hiring an attorney early in any accident case makes the world of difference.

In Jennifer's case, for instance, an experienced personal injury lawyer would have denied the insurance company's request for a medical release, recognizing that insurance companies never have carte blanche rights to dig through a claimant's medical records. A lawyer would have also advised Jennifer to refuse a recorded statement, knowing that Jennifer will eventually have to participate in a deposition if a lawsuit is filed in her case. By offering a recorded statement now, the insurance company would be able to ask Jennifer all the same questions twice, compare her answers, and then declare Jennifer a liar if there were any inconsistencies in her testimony.

A skilled personal injury attorney would have guided Jennifer to the most experienced and highly qualified medical doctors, who would have provided all necessary treatment on a lien basis so that Jennifer could avoid the red tape and delays of her HMO. Finally, an attorney would have submitted a time-limit settlement demand pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure 999. Unfairly rejecting this demand would expose the insurer to a lawsuit for bad faith insurance practices.

Jennifer's experience serves as a cautionary tale for all innocent accident victims. While it's tempting to believe that insurance companies are there to help and protect you, the reality is that their primary objective is to minimize payouts. A skilled personal injury lawyer can make all the difference in ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve. By assisting you in navigating the complex insurance claim process, connecting you with the best medical professionals, and advocating on your behalf, an attorney will help level the playing field against powerful insurance companies. Don't leave your financial and physical well-being to chance—seek the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately after an accident to protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome in your case.


bottom of page