Articles Posted in Evidence

dreamstime_s_81881804Insurance companies are notorious for denying and minimizing payments to people injured in car accidents, especially to those with pre-existing injuries. That is not fair. This is another reason you need a good injury lawyer fighting for your rights if you have been crashed into.

After all, hardly any Americans are in perfect health. So how can an insurance company refuse to pay fair compensation to someone who

  • has been in a previous wreck or hurt his body after falling down, lifting a heavy object, or playing sports — often many years ago?
  • has a previous injury that had totally healed?
  • has had surgery to a different part of his body, say his neck, and has now only injured his back?
  • has a medical condition that results in much worse damage than the defendant could have expected?

The defendant in court must pay for these damages. This important legal concept is referred to as the eggshell skull rule.

What is the rule?

Tort law has always held that the defendant takes the plaintiff as he finds him, including all hidden symptoms, fragile conditions, and unforeseeable medical problems. You should not be punished for being injured or weak before the crash, unless the damages you are claiming were not caused by it.

Imagine that a fictional plaintiff has a skull that is as thin as an eggshell. What if the injured person is elderly or frail? A fender-bender that might cause a mere bruise to a normal person’s head could potentially crack open the plaintiff’s extremely fragile skull. The defendant can’t possibly know this of course. However the defendant is liable for killing the plaintiff even though he could not have foreseen that the minor accident would be deadly.

The eggshell skull rule illustrates the most extreme example. But in real life, this doctrine applies to such medical conditions as previous herniated disks, osteoporosis, torn rotator cuffs, concussions, or use of blood-thinning medications to treat blood clots. Continue reading

IMG_854498% of cases settle out of court. In my 37 years of practicing personal injury law, I have never met any one who wanted to testify in a trial. My job is to get my client as much money as possible. Attempting to reach a favorable out of court settlement is often in his or her best interest.

After a thorough investigation and compilation of medical records, lost wages, and other documents, with the consent of my client, I often forward a complete demand package to the at-fault driver’s insurance company adjuster and attempt to negotiate a favorable out of court settlement.

The key to success is a well written demand letter. It’s a powerful tool that maximizes my client’s damages and has these distinct advantages:

  • It can resolve the claim in months — not up to the two or more years in can take to actually get to trial;
  • It saves thousands of dollars in additional legal fees, filing fees, court expenses, deposition fees, expert’s bills, and a host of other expenses; and
  • It avoids the anxiety of testifying and leaving the decision in the hands of 12 strangers who may rule against our side or even be biased against lawsuits or injury cases in general.

Of course I plan as if I’m going to be in trial, knowing that any case may not be successfully resolved.  And some cases must be filed in court immediately and others will never settle for as much money as I want my client to receive and suit is filed.

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brain scan

Neuroscience Provides An Answer

The pain a person feels after being in a automobile collision can range from uncomfortable to debilitating. It can interfere with your ability to care for yourself, go to work, and enjoy your life.

Pain is subjective and notoriously difficult to quantify. That’s one reason this claim for damages is vigorously contested by insurance companies and their lawyers. 

Fortunately advances in neuroscience may provide concrete evidence to prove this damage in car accident and personal injury claims.

Subjective Nature of Pain

During your medical treatment, your doctor asks you “Where does it hurt?” and “How much does it hurt on a scale of one to ten?” 

However your response may not be that accurate. Pain may radiate or pulse or seem to come from everyone or from a place other than where you suffered an injury. What feels like a three to you might feel like an eight by someone else. 

Doctors can identify symptoms of pain, but may not be able to appreciate the suffering endured by the patient, and may even understate its severity. Making matters worse, a patient may continue to feel chronic pain even after outward signs of injuries have subsided. 

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