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DO I HAVE A CASE?

Car Accident Negotiation

     I like the classic story of the young man who was looking for guidance in his life. He decided to pull out his Bible and use the “point and read” method, by opening at any passage; Wherever his finger landed, he would read and apply it in his life.

     His first effort at this method “landed” him at Matthew 27:5 which reads, “And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself”. After reading this passage on Judas, the young man decided that he needed to try again.

     He then closed his Bible, reopened it, and his finger landed in Luke. He then read a passage that said, “Go and do likewise”. Shaking his head, he thought he’d better try again and his “point and read” method took him to John 13, where he read “That thou doest, do quickly”.

     Sometimes when I send settlement packages to insurance adjuster’s, I am convinced that they evaluate the claims with the same kind of “point and read” method, in evaluating the worth of the claim.

     Yesterday, I was discussing a settlement package that I had sent to an out of town adjuster. My client’s medical bills exceed 15K and she continues to receive treatment; Her bills are getting larger.

     I met with her doctor, who advises that she will probably need surgery on her shoulder (the standard for testimony at trial). He then put that in a letter, which I had sent to the adjuster.

     Despite the bills, the documentation of medical treatment, and the letter from her Orthopaedic doctor, the adjuster made a settlement offer that was a little over 16K. 

     In the world of negotiation, I understand that a “first offer” is, at least, getting started. For that reason, I simply asked for her reasoning for such an offer. She gave me some nebulous answer that was basically, “that’s how we have it evaluated”.  Doesn’t that sound like a “point and read” kind of offer?

     She then went on to tell me that if I expected a higher offer, that I would need to provide my client’s medical records for the last 5 years. When I hear that kind of insistence, I suspect, once again,  that offers are coming from machines, and some person on the other end is just processing. 

     In discussing this settlement package with this adjuster, I was reminded of a saying of Alfred Lord Tennyson that I went back and looked up, to get it stated accurately. “Blind and naked ignorance delivers brawling judgments, unashamed on all things, all day long.” For negotiation purposes, I’m guessing that I did the right thing by not repeating that saying to her.

     I have no issue in providing past medical records. In fact, if I file suit, the defense attorney would most certainly subpoena them anyway. This just doesn’t give much hope, when an adjuster makes an offer that is so low, that it would require my client to bring money to the office, to settle her case.

     In actuality, it is negotiations like this that keep the adrenaline going. I haven’t said it in a while, at the end of one of my blogs, but I think it applies here….. And the fight continues!


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