Woodland Hills CA personal injury lawyer Barry P. Goldberg has met with thousands of car accident victims and has, on occasion, viewed other lawyers’ files. Clients have important questions they want answered. A personal injury lawyer who answers all questions and anticipates other questions based on experience will leave the client with a far more favorable impression. This builds trust and actually makes it easier to settle a bodily injury claim.
1. Failing to explain exactly how the property damage will be handled.
Of course, car accident victims are very concerned with alleviating pain and getting back to their normal pre-accident lives. However, how are they going to do that if their car is either undriveable or in need of repair? Personal injury lawyers make a big mistake if they do not very specifically explain how the property damage will be handled.
It is important to both tell the client how the property damage will handled and to confirm it in writing. Clients need to have a “playbook” to follow especially if the car is a total loss. They need to understand the interaction with a finance company, whether rental car is available, will there be a deductible and how quickly they can get a check. The same is true with a significant repair. Often, lawyers avoid this subject because they are afraid clients will be upset that they will be coming out of pocket or that the vehicle has a much lower value than they thought.
2. Failing to Obtain “Loss of Use” Damages.
Even experienced personal injury or car accident lawyers miss this one. Just because the injured clients could not drive and could not rent a car, does not mean that they are not entitled to “loss of use” damages—they are. It is fair to use the value of a comparable rental car to set the loss of use damages from the time of the accident until payment of the total loss. Obtaining “loss of use” damages will often pay a client’s out of pocket costs and deductible. Getting that check that the client was not anticipating could be the difference between an upset client and a satisfied client
3. Failing to explain the realistic possibilities of the Bodily Injury Recovery.
A personal injury lawyer must always explain the “universe” of possible recoveries to clients. Every accident victim must understand at the outset that their recoveries might be limited by the amount of available liability insurance. Further, a personal injury lawyer must explain how Uninsured Motorist Coverage works and the possibilities of recovering “Underinsured Motorist” damages.
Barry P. Goldberg believes that car accident victims appreciate a lawyer who answers all their questions—even if they forget to ask!
Thanks to our friend and blog author, Barry P. Goldberg, for his insight into the practice of personal injury and car accident law.