Interviewer: Can you please provide an example of a common personal injury scenario?
Daniel Hoarfrost: The most common situation is a rear-ender car accident. It comes up time and time again and it usually results in at least some injury. Typically, the injuries are what we call soft tissue damage. This just means it involve the muscles and ligaments and nerve fiber that don’t necessarily show up on x-rays. They tend to be cases that insurance companies resist quite heavily. At the same token, it’s almost always necessary to get an attorney in order to get any kind of decent result for most kinds of claims.
Interviewer: Are you handling any of those types of cases right now?
Daniel Hoarfrost: Well, I have one pending litigation or pending trial now. My client was coming home from work and stopped at a stoplight. For some odd reason, the driver behind him didn’t see the traffic stopped and rammed right into him, a mother and an adult daughter both in the car at the same time. Both parties suffered similar injury and had to go see a chiropractor for several months. We haven’t been able to get a satisfactory settlement offer from the insurance company, so filed a lawsuit. Now we’re pending the process.
Insurance Companies Are Typically Resistant to Offering a Satisfactory Settlement in These Types of Accidents
Interviewer: Does unsatisfactory mean, in other words, that the amount wasn’t enough?
Daniel Hoarfrost: Yes. Of course, what we have is called an adversary system. It just means that both sides are looking out for their own best interest. Obviously, insurance companies are in the business of covering these cases and they want to make a profit. That means they have to pay as little as possible in order to come out ahead.
They always start out offering the least they think they can get away with, and sometimes they draw the line in the sand a little earlier than you’d like to see. At that point, the only real option you have is to file a lawsuit, try to shake it loose or ultimately go to trial.
What they usually tell people is the only reason the insurance companies talk to us at all is that because the injured party always has a right to file a lawsuit and ultimately have a jury determine how much their injury is worth.
That’s just a situation that the insurance companies would like to avoid, if possible. They do have incentive to negotiate, but it’s almost like a poker game. This is because you never know in advance what a jury might award a particular case. It’s just a question of experience, basically, and a guessing game as to what the final evaluation on a case might be.
Interviewer: The mother and the daughter that were involved in this accident here, for instance, is that handled as one case or are they handled as two different cases?
Daniel Hoarfrost: It can go either way. It’s two separate claims but it involves the same set of operational facts. You have your option of filing the case together, which we did, primarily just to save on expenses, or filing it separately.