Here’s When Hiring a Lawyer Kills Your Payout

– I'm going to tell you
when you may not need a personal injury attorney
in a car accident, slip and fall, or other case. I'm also going to tell you
when you may need an attorney. I'm going to give you examples, showing how much attorneys can save you. And we're starting right now. The first situation that
you may not need an attorney is if you're not badly hurt. For example, if you're in a car accident, and you have minor pain, but you don't feel that you
have any need to see a doctor. In many instances, you may
not need to hire an attorney. In fact, one insurance
company, Progressive, is the only insurance
company that I'm aware of that will make an offer to
you in a car accident case, when you have not even
received medical treatment.

This is big news, because
in a state like Florida, you typically need a permanent injury in most car accident cases, to get money for pain and suffering. So have to give Progressive
a little bit of credit for offering money, even if you haven't
received medical treatment. However, that's the only
thing good about Progressive. They are otherwise very, very cheap. Now, if you've been in a car accident, even if you haven't
received medical treatment, if you have a newer car, and
someone else is at fault, and you're making a claim against them, you may still need an attorney to prove your diminished value claim. That is the loss in value to your car, after someone else caused your accident. The second situation where
you may not need an attorney is if you were hit by
a hit and run driver, or by an uninsured driver,
and you do not have access, or are entitled to uninsured
motorist insurance coverage. The reason why you may
not need an attorney in this situation, is if you're
hit by a hit and run driver, or someone who's uninsured there's really no money to get from them, because yes, you can take a case against an uninsured driver to trial, but you're gonna get a judgment, which is a sheet of paper,
that gets filed with the court.

But if the person has no money, you're gonna have a very tough
time collecting from them. And if you don't have
uninsured motorist insurance, then there's really not
any collectible source, that's going to pay you for your injuries. The one caution that I'll say here is that don't assume
that you automatically do not have uninsured motorist insurance. There's certain cases
where you may be entitled to uninsured motorist. I've had clients who
have rented cars before, and weren't aware that they
purchased insurance coverage, Now let's look at some
situations where you may be able to gain a huge benefit by having
a personal injury attorney. The first is a little bit of common sense. It's if you're badly injured. This is because the value of your case, is primarily based on
how badly you're injured. If you're very badly
injured, all things equal, the full value of your
case is gonna be higher, than if you're not injured.

If you're badly injured,
there's a lot more at stake. And given that medical bills,
and not being able to work, are the two largest causes of bankruptcy in the United States of America, you need to take a big
injury case very seriously. Let me give you an example. I represented a pedestrian, Alice, who was walking in the
parking lot of a supermarket, when a car hit her. The car was insured by Progressive. My client, Alice, fractured her ankle. Fortunately, she did not need surgery. She also had some bruising to her face. Now at first, Progressive
assigned an insurance adjuster, and he made a $50,000 offer. The policy limits of the other car's bodily
injury liability coverage, was $100,000. And I told that adjuster, I'm
not even gonna waste my time, making a counter offer with you. We want the $100,000. Sometime after that, Progressive changed insurance adjusters. They assigned a large loss adjuster. That's an adjuster who
handles larger claims, and we began discussions with him. Now you can see his LinkedIn profile that he had 22 years of
claims handling experience.

That means that he has likely handled over 5,000 personal injury claims. In other words, he's the LeBron James
of insurance adjusters. Now, if you're badly injured,
like my client, Alice, with a broken ankle, these insurance adjusters
are some of the most seasoned and experienced negotiators
you will ever encounter. Now, when you have a claim
against a large loss adjuster, like Greg, in this case,
an adjuster like this can pick up on one word,
or one statement you make, and that can drastically
cut the value of your case. Insurance companies love to save money by paying out less for claims.

You can look at this document here, where a Geico high-level employee was writing up his report to a supervisor, and he was proud that the payments for bodily injury liability, and uninsured motorist insurance, were lower than the year before. They love to save money, and that means you getting
less money in your pocket. Here's another reason to hire
a personal injury attorney. An Insurance Research
Council studies showed that attorneys were able to get three and 1/2
times the amount of money in personal injury cases, against bodily injury liability policies, than people without an attorney. The average total bodily injury payment to injured individuals was
$16,658 with an attorney, and without an attorney was only $4,699. Part of that reason I imagine,
is because an attorney is able to get the client
to the appropriate doctors, who can diagnose them with their injuries. So will an insurance company
try to delay settlement if you don't have an attorney? Let's look at an insurance
research council's study that asks the question,
"Why did you decide to talk to an attorney about your injury claim?" 15% of the time that respondents said, that they decided to talk with an attorney was because the insurance company was delaying their settlement.

So I've said that you should
definitely get an attorney if you're badly injured. What do I consider a bad injury? Well, for sure, surgery. If you've had surgery after an accident where someone else is at
fault, that typically leads to some of the largest payouts out there. There's no guarantee you're
going to get a huge payout, 'cause sometimes there'll
be no insurance in a case, or perhaps you are 100% at fault. And now I looked at my past cases, and I found something very interesting. In most cases that settle
for $100,000 or more, my clients had surgery. Specifically, in about 75% of
cases, my clients had surgery where the settlement was $100,000 or more. And of course, death is a massive injury.

It's the worst thing that can happen. And many broken bones can
also be serious injuries. So can a serious tear
of a ligament, or joint. If you suffer a serious burn, or permanent and significant
scarring, or disfigurement, that is a big injury as well. When you're searching for
a personal injury attorney, I recommend you hiring one with about 15 years or more of experience. You need an attorney who
understands settlement values, and how much cases are worth.

It takes a long time to really
get a good understanding about how much a case is worth. Now, in another case, I settled my client's case for $445,000. He broke his leg beneath the knee, and he also had a finger fracture
that had surgery on that. He did have surgery to his leg fracture. Now, in that case, the adjuster's
first offer was $100,000, and that was to me, an attorney.

Now we ultimately settled
this case for $445,000. Now he made that first
offer of $100,000 to me, someone who's an attorney. How much would he offer to someone who's not even an attorney? Well, I guess, it was gonna
be a lot less than 100,000. Or if he does make that
$100,000 offer at some point, I think he's gonna likely try to convince the injured person to accept
a little bit more than that. In that case, I knew that my
client's lower leg fracture, and the broken finger
with hardware put in it, were worth $445,000. But if you don't do personal
injury for a living, you may think $100,000
is a very generous offer. After all the hospital ended up reducing my client's hospital bill
down from $100,000, or so, to $15,000, or so. So he was getting a lot
of money in his pocket. However, I knew that the
fair value was $445,000, somewhere around there, in that range. So I negotiated hard to get that $445,000. And as you can see, my client
got $263,522 in his pocket. Now it doesn't factor in a high
interest loan that he took, paying that back.

However, in large injury cases, even after the attorney's fees and costs, it often makes sense to hire an attorney. You can see in this case, my client got over two and
$260,000 in his pocket. Now this adjuster may
have convinced my client to take $100,000, or even less. And my client may have done that, if he didn't have an attorney. One of the advantages
of hiring an attorney is that it takes emotions
out of the negotiation. When I received the $100,000 offer from the adjuster in this
case, I did not get emotional. However, if my client would have received that same $100,000, he may
have told the adjuster, "Oh my God, thank you
so much for the offer. That's a great offer. I really appreciate it. I just need a little bit more money. Just give me another 5,000." Even if you go and try
to read on the internet about how much cases is there a worth, there is no substitute to the experience of handling hundreds
upon hundreds of cases.

Now in this $445,000 settlement, after my client hired me,
we quickly sent a letter to the owner and driver
of the tractor trailer, 18-wheeler that hit my client, asking them to preserve
the event data recorder, and the vehicle itself. It's important to get these
letters out very quickly to the outfall party. If you hire an attorney who primarily practices personal injury law, hopefully, they have a
case management system.

I happen to have one myself, and once they enter your information, and the information of the at-fault party, and other parties, they
literally press one button in the case management system, and it can generate a letter. For example, in that tractor trailer case, we needed to send out a
letter to the owner and driver of the 18-wheeler that hit my client. Once I had my client's
information in there, I click one button, it
puts all that information into the letter, and the
letter is ready to go. That saves you so much stress, if you have an attorney
doing the work for you, instead of you trying
to go on the internet, find out the right letter to use, and put all the information in there. There's many situations where
you may literally have a claim and deal with five or
more insurance adjusters.

This often happens if you were working at the time of the crash, if you rented a car at
the time of the crash, if there were multiple
vehicles involved in the crash, if you were in someone else's vehicle at the time of the crash, you may literally end up dealing with five or more insurance adjusters. And if you haven't handled
hundreds of claims, you're not gonna know which adjusters are responsible for what. One insurance company may have
a property damage adjuster. Then they may have a
separate PIP adjuster. They may have a separate uninsured
motorist insurance adjuster, and they may have a separate bodily injury
liability insurance adjuster.

If you don't quickly know what every one of those coverages mean, and what the adjuster's
responsibility is in the case, you may get hammered by
these insurance companies. Also, in some cases, we literally send out 100 or more emails and letters in a case. You need to ask yourself if
you plan on hiring a case, and you're seriously injured yourself, are you prepared to send out 100 letters and emails in the case? Now I mentioned that one of the reasons to hire an attorney is so
you can let the attorney, and his staff, or her staff, spend time trying to reach
the insurance adjuster. Listen to the statement from a third-party
administrator for Walmart.

He said, "Surveys of adjusters' show that even at a caseload of just 130 files, adjusters consider themselves in reactive mode and being overwhelmed with phone calls, data
entry, and email requests." These adjusters you're
gonna be dealing with, they're overwhelmed, and you're likely not gonna
get them on your first call. Are you prepared to have to call insurance adjusters over and over? Some of them don't answer the phone. You have to leave messages
three, four, five times, in order to get a call back from them. Is that something you're willing to do? Now in that $445,000
settlement that I had, the adjuster's LinkedIn profile said that when he was with State Farm, his job required strong
powers of persuasion, when negotiating. I cannot stress it enough,
that your negotiation skills are gonna be much, much worse than a personal injury lawyer's. Even the most seasoned negotiators, who negotiate other types of cases, do very poorly when negotiating
personal injury claims.

The one exception I will say, is if that you are a former
or current insurance adjuster, and you've been doing it for a long time, then your negotiation skills
are gonna be very similar to a personal injury lawyer. That being said, even insurance adjusters, who want to handle their case themselves, may make mistakes because they
may not know all the laws. There's some things from
the plaintiff's side, the injured person's side of the law, that insurance adjusters are clueless on, such as how you have to repay
your health insurance company, and Medicare, and Medicaid, and the discounts you can
get for hiring an attorney, which I'll get into in a little bit. Another situation where you definitely should hire an attorney, if you were injured and
someone else is at fault, is if you were working at
the time of the accident. This is because you
will likely be entitled to workers' compensation insurance. And in a state like
Florida, where I practice, the workers' compensation company is going to have the
right to recover money from the at fault driver that hit you.

Now, the workers' compensation
insurance company, has to reduce its payback
claim from your settlement with the at fault party, by your attorney's fees and costs. That can result in a major savings. Let me give you an example of a case where my client greatly
benefited by having an attorney. He was from Georgia. He was in Florida for a work trip. He was driving a vehicle, another car made a
left-hand turn into him. My client broke his bone beneath the knee, known as the tibial plateau. He ultimately had surgery at the hospital. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, and workers' compensation
paid over $80,000 or so of his medical bills.

We ended up settling
his case for $300,000, and I got the workers'
compensation insurer to agree to only accept the
payback amount of about $12,000. Then I use the PIP from his
rental car to pay off that lien. So then we only have to pay
worker's compensation back a small amount. That literally saved my
client over $80,000 or so. If my client Ryan didn't have
an attorney in that case, the workers' compensation
insurance company would not have been required
to reduce its payback claim by his attorney's fees and costs, 'cause you would not have had a lawyer. That's a major savings. When you settle a personal injury case, don't just think about the
front-end of the settlement, which is what most people talk about, and what you see on billboards, which is, I settled my case for $30,000.

Think about what other
benefits can you get from the attorney, in terms of
reducing your medical bills, and health insurance lien, the amount that the
health insurance is paid for your bills at the end of the case. And I'm not just talking
about what an attorney can negotiate these down for. I'm talking about laws, as
we'll get into in a minute, where the health insurance company or other insurers are required by law to reduce their payback amount. If you were in a car accident, and you are entitled to
medical payments coverage, which is an optional insurance coverage, in the state of Florida, where I practice, you should definitely get an attorney, if you're seriously injured
and someone else is at fault. This is because the
medical payments insurer will be required to
reduce its payback claim, from your settlement, by
attorney's fees and costs. As an example of this, my
client, Doug, was in Florida. He lived in California. He owned a car in California, but he was walking in
Miami beach, Florida, when a car hit him. You can see the dent
on the hood of the car.

Doug was propelled onto
the hood of the car, and he broke his ankle. Now we ultimately settled the
case with Geico for $65,000, even though their opening
offer was a fraction of that. Now Doug had medical payments coverage on his car insurance policy
with Farmers in California. And even though he was a pedestrian, Farmers paid medical payments coverage towards his medical
providers in this case.

So between Farmer's
medical payments coverage, and he had Medicare, and then
a Medicare supplement plan, they all paid about $12,000. Like I said, we settled
the settlement for $65,000, and we were able to get
Farmers and Medicare, and the Medicare supplement to reduce their liens down to $8,000, their payback amount from
the total settlement. That put an extra $4,000 in Doug's pocket. And again, another huge
reason to get an attorney is if you have medical
payments coverage, or Medicare. Just like medical payments coverage, Medicare's required to reduce
the claim that it makes to get paid back from the total settlement by your pro-rata
attorney's fees and costs.

That can result in a huge savings to you. Geico's opening offer to Doug was $14,780. Now, if Doug didn't have an attorney, what would he have done? Would he have asked for 15,000? Would he have asked for 20,000? Would he have known that the
value of his case was $65,000? I doubt it. These Geico adjusters, and
any insurance adjusters, are seasoned negotiators, that will convince you to take
bottom dollar for your case, and you will leave money on the table. For example, in one case, my client did not have health insurance, and that's another huge time, where you should get an attorney, because you're gonna to need to get the proper medical treatment,
if you're badly injured. An attorney can refer you to doctors, and the doctors will agree to not get paid until the end of the
case when you settle it.

You need to make sure
that your case is assigned to the proper insurance adjuster. I received a call from Angela, whose son Zach was
injured in a car accident, and their friend was
driving a rental vehicle. And she had been dealing with the rental car insurance
adjuster for Zach's case. Now Zach had a broken arm. He ultimately had surgery, a plate and screws put in his arm, but she reached out to me
because she was frustrated that she wasn't getting anywhere
with the insurance company. Now, she ultimately decided to hire me, and even though she had been dealing with the insurance company for months, Zach's case wasn't even assigned to the proper insurance adjuster.

In other words, there wasn't even a bodily injury liability
insurance adjuster set up and assigned for the case. One of the first things
I did when I got the case is I got it to a bodily
injury liability adjuster, and Zach ended up being
thrilled with the settlement. But the bottom line is, they essentially were delaying her case, by not getting the case to
the right insurance adjuster.

Don't expect a rental
car insurance company, or any insurance company, to tell you that you're entitled to pain
and suffering when you are, or even to get your case
to the right adjuster. Now, after is my attorney's fees, costs, and paying back the small
medical bill in Zach's case, he received $113,260 in his pocket. The reason why the
medical bill was only $43, and there was no other medical
bills owed in this case, was because Zach had Medicaid,
and he was in a rental car. So he was entitled to PIP, and he got medical payments coverage from the driver of his car. So Medicaid would have paid less than PIP, and medical payments coverage paid, so the hospital wrote off the balance, and charged him nothing. Another reason to hire a
personal injury attorney is that attorneys can
tell you which doctors can kill your case. You can literally go to one doctor, and he'll say that your injuries were related to the accident. And another doctor will say, your injuries are not
related to the accident, and maybe you're faking your pain, or you're exaggerating your pain, or maybe they don't even
ask you in the questionnaire whether you were involved
in a car accident, and that doesn't get
documented earlier on, and the insurance company
tries to use that against you.

Doctors are very, very important
in personal injury cases. And if you're going to hire
a personal injury attorney, I highly recommend only hiring an attorney who is licensed in the state
where your accident happened. Some attorneys advertise in other states that they're not even
licensed to practice. I do not recommend hiring an
attorney who is doing that. Number one, it's illegal.

Number two, they're not
gonna know the state laws. And number three, they're not
even licensed in the state, so they can't legally file a lawsuit. And if an attorney is
willing to break the law, by practicing law in another state, who knows what they're gonna
do to your settlement funds at the end of the case. Another reason to hire a
personal injury attorney if you're badly injured is because sometimes insurance
companies deny liability, in some cases, and they offer nothing.

And your only remedy, the
only way to make it right, is to file a lawsuit. While you legally could file a lawsuit, filing a lawsuit without an attorney is a disaster waiting to happen
in a personal injury case. I'm not talking about
filing lawsuits generally, in non-injury cases for small claims. I'm talking about personal injury cases. The laws are very complex. It costs around $450 or
so to file a lawsuit, and then serve one defendant and then costs go up from there. For depositions, you need
to pay court reporters, expert witnesses, etc. Costs can get expensive very quick. The goal of any personal injury attorney should be to try to resolve the case without a lawsuit, if possible. But if a lawsuit is necessary, at least you have an attorney
who can file it for you. I've represented many
people whose offer was zero, before I filed a lawsuit, and we were able to get a large
recovery during the lawsuit.

If you have Medicaid and
you're badly injured, and someone else is at fault, you should definitely hire an attorney. I've got a Medicaid plans to
reduce their payback amount, where they've paid
money for medical bills, and then I settle the case, and they demand getting
paid from the settlement. For example, in Shinkiva's case, she was a passenger in a car. She had an acetabulum fracture, which is a fracture of the hip socket. She did not need surgery, fortunately. You can see a picture of her getting taken out of the car here. So she had Molina Medicaid, and they demanded to get
paid back every penny that they paid for her claim.

I sent them a letter
explaining to them that, that is not the law in Florida, because they're a Medicaid HMO. And this ultimately put $500
more in Shinkiva's pocket. Now $500 is a lot of money, but had Medicaid paid a
tremendous amount of money, the savings could have been even much, much larger than that. But Medicaid sent a
very strong letter to me saying that they were entitled to get every dollar they paid. They cited federal laws, and the letter, if you're not a personal injury attorney who's done this for
over a decade or longer, the letter seems very, very convincing. Another reason to hire a
personal injury attorney, is they can get you to
a one-time examination with the doctor and pay for it. This happened in a case
of mine where my client was on a motorcycle, and a car made a left hand
turn, and hit my client, and my client did not
have health insurance. I sent my client to a medical group, who treated him in exchange
for waiting to get paid at the end of the case.

However, my client also
had a bruised testicle, and a doctor told me to send
my client to a urologist for a one-time examination. I did that. The urologist wanted
several hundred dollars for the visit and report,
and I was allowed to pay for this service upfront, but unless you're prepared to spend the several hundred dollars upfront, and you have to know who the doctors are. Now certain specialties don't often deal with personal injury cases, so it's even tougher to find a urologist. It took a little bit of asking
around to find a urologist, but I found the right urologist. And we settled the case with Geico, who insured the other car, for $100,000. My client also had a meniscus tear, and a herniated disc,
but without an attorney, he would not have been able
to get medical treatment. If you're on the fence of whether you should
hire an attorney or not, and you're badly injured,
at least call an attorney, and get a free consultation.

Ask the attorney, "What
savings can you get me? Explain to me how you can
reduce my medical payments lien, my Medicaid lien, my Medicare lien, my health insurance lien, my
workers' compensation lien. How can you potentially use PIP to payback another insurance?" Ask them exactly what they can do for you. If you have health insurance, and someone else caused your injury, and you're badly injured, you should definitely get an attorney. Let me give you an example. I represented Angela who
slipped and fell at a hotel, and we settled our case for $250,000. Now she was not getting
anywhere with the hotel, and she was exhausted, so she decided to hire me.

The hotel's first offer was $12,500 to us, and we eventually settled for $250,000. Now Angela had a health plan
through a local government, and they paid $23,191
towards her medical bills. Because Angela had an
attorney, me, in this case, her health insurance had
to reduce by, at a minimum, my attorney's fees and costs pro-rata. I also argued that due to the allegations that the hotel's insurance
company blamed Angela for causing the accident, and they said that they weren't
at fault for causing it, I got them to accept $7,430. That put an extra $15,000
in Angela's pocket. If Angela would not have had an attorney, the health insurance company
would not have been required to reduce its payback claim, by her attorney's fees and costs.

After my attorney fees and costs, and paying back the
health insurance company, Angela got $157,353 in her pocket. She was thrilled. Another reason to hire a
personal injury attorney, is they can negotiate
the settlement language of your release. And this is big news. While most personal injury
cases are non-taxable, the IRS does not tax you on them. If certain language is not in there, the settlement could be taxable. So this is a very
specific area of the law, that you need to make sure the
proper language is in there. Don't expect an insurance company to put language in there that favors you. They're just simply not going
to do that most of the time.

And if your child is badly
injured in an accident, you definitely should get an attorney. if someone else is at fault. This is because the settlement will likely need court approval. In Florida, where I practice, settlements over $15,000
need court approval, and some settlements need a guardianship of the property, or
structured settlement set up. Also, if someone's killed in an accident, and someone else is at fault, you definitely need an attorney. In that case, you have probate. In other words, an estate is
going to need to get set up. That's expensive. That costs around $3,000
to hire an attorney for that, plus or minus. And you need to ask yourself if you're willing to
pay that money upfront. If you hire an attorney, the probate attorney can
agree to wait to get paid for their services, until
the end of the case, the settlement. To learn how to maximize the value of your personal injury case, in the shortest amount of time possible, watch this video here.

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