Yesterday we were preparing to file and serve initial disclosures in a personal injury lawsuit that we filed a month ago. Part of the disclosures is providing the opposition with our client’s recorded statement. The client’s recorded statement was taken several years ago by an insurance adjuster who represented the driver of the motorcycle. We represent the passenger who got seriously injured when the bike flipped. At the time she gave her recorded statement she was not represented. We knew she had given a recorded statement before seeking our help. Well, now we are in the case and have to live with her mistakes.
MISTAKES CAN DESTROY YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM
And from my standpoint one mistake that many people make is a big one.
What is that mistake?
When they answer questions during the recorded statement they do not cover the points they need to and fail to understand what they would need to prove in order to win. Many people, including my client, completely ignore the issue of liability.
Why is that important?
You see, there are two parts of every case. The first is liability and the second would be proof of damages. Leave out one and you lose. Leave out two and you really lose. But you never get to damages if you cannot first prove liability. And that is axiomatic of the problems I see with people not seeking representation right after the accident. They assume because they are “really hurt” that everything else will fall into place. And it is that assumption that in the end is their undoing.
Assuming big damages equates to a big settlement is foolhardy. It will not.
DON'T BELIEVE THE INSURANCE ADJUSTER IS ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS!
And the adjuster will not feel bad for you.
And you will lose.
Because you do not understand what the other guy did that amounts to him or her legally being wrong. And if they did nothing wrong, at least from a legal standpoint, then no matter how badly you are hurt, it won't matter because you lose.
Liability is liability. It is the “What did the guy do wrong?” set of questions. If you do not understand the law then you cannot be prepared to answer what the other guy did wrong set of questions. A good lawyer will prepare you for how to answer questions by explaining the law and how it works.
Fail in that regard, and your case fails. And that is true no matter how badly you are injured.
FULL VALUE IS HARD TO OBTAIN WHEN YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THE MECHANICS OF YOUR CASE
Clients regularly turn a $100,000 case into one you can barely get $20,000. And so even paying one-third to an attorney on $100,000 is a whole lot better than on $20,000.
So do yourself a favor and seek the help of an experienced lawyer in the area of personal injury. And do it before you agree to the recorded statement.
If you are in Iowa, contact us online or call directly at 515-222-1110.
Or don’t...and watch your case turn into a small claims action.