One of the most common questions any personal injury attorney receives from a client is whether the insurance company is offering a reasonable settlement for the case. Since every case is different, there’s unfortunately no “one size fits all” calculation to determine whether your settlement offer is reasonable or not. However, there are some common sense rules to look at when considering whether you have received a fair and reasonable settlement offer.
When you receive your settlement offer, consider your or your attorney’s answers to the following questions:
We’ve all heard the term “lawsuit.” Some people believe that our society is “sue happy”, or that we’re too “litigious”, which means that there are too many lawsuits on file with the courts. Some of this belief comes from people’s mistaken understanding about what lawsuits are and why they are filed. In order to break down those misunderstandings, we must define a few terms. First, let’s explore what a lawsuit is.
According to Black’s Law Dictionary, a lawsuit is defined as follows:
“LAWSUIT. A vernacular term for a suit, action, or cause instituted or depending between two private persons in the courts of law. A suit at law or in equity; an action or proceeding in a civil court; a process in law instituted by one party to compel another to do him justice. Shepherd v. Standard Motor Co., 263 Ky. 329, 92 S.W.2d 337.”
In Missouri, individuals injured through the negligence or recklessness of others in a personal injury case have the ability to seek compensation for both “tangible damages” and “intangible damages.” We have provided two posts to explain the difference between both types of damages. For more on “tangible damages” or “economic damages” please see our post about these types of damages. “Noneconomic” or “intangible damages” are those things that you cannot show through a medical bill or other objective evidence.
As the Missouri Supreme Court said, they “do not lend themselves to precise calculation,” and include recovery for things “such as past and future pain, suffering, effect on lifestyle, embarrassment, humiliation, and economic loss.” Alcorn v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., 50 S.W.3d 226 (Mo. Banc. 2001).
Under Missouri law, healthcare providers like doctors, chiropractors, hospitals, and physical therapists are permitted to place “liens” on your case instead of billing your health insurance directly. Based on the law, Missouri healthcare providers can refuse to submit their bills to your health insurance company and can, instead, choose to place a “lien” on the proceeds of your settlement or jury verdict. What this means for healthcare providers is that they do not have to take the standard adjustments to their bills that are part of the contract they may have with your health insurance company.
For example, if you have health insurance, your heath insurance provider may agree to have a medical provider “in network” (permitted by the company) only if that medical provider agrees to take a discount on the services it provides you. So, instead of requiring $1,000.00 for an MRI, the healthcare provider has an agreement with your health insurer to accept $400.00 instead. It’s a win-win for the health insurance provider and medical provider — the health insurance pays a lower amount for the MRI and the medical provider gets to treat patients, like you, with a guaranteed payment for its services.
A personal injury in the legal context is when someone is harmed by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts of another person. In car accident cases, it is not uncommon for there to be both an injury to your person and an injury to your property, such as your car. In this circumstance, the injury to you may lead you to ask for compensation for your personal injury, and the damage to your property may lead you to seek a separate property damage claim. For more information for how to handle your property damage claim, please see our blog on property claims.
There are a significant number of cases that fall under the broad category of “personal injury” claims. For instance, if you are injured in a car accident, then you may have a personal injury claim. If you are injured from a slip and fall on someone’s property, then you may have a personal injury claim. If you are injured because of medical negligence, then you may have a personal injury claim.
Every attorney is different, and every attorney will look at different things when evaluating your personal injury case. However, there are a few things that our firm looks at when evaluating a case to make sure it’s a good fit for us and for the potential client. Besides making sure that we do not have a professional or personal conflict in a case, we take the following in consideration when evaluating a case:
Who is liable (or responsible) for the collision/accident? One of the first things we look at is the liability or responsibility of the parties in the accident. In the case of a car accident, if you are responsible for the crash, then chances are that you will need an insurance defense attorney to help you. We do not defend insurance companies, so we will inform you of this in our evaluation. If you were not at-fault or partially at-fault, then we will dig deeper into your case. For example, in our post about how fault is determined in a car accident, we discussed how comparative fault works and how that might affect a potential car accident case.
If you decide to hire our firm to handle your car accident case, premises liability case, or other personal injury case, then we will need for your to sign a few documents for our firm to begin work on your case. Some of these forms may be optional, and some of them are necessary, depending on what we need to investigate in your case.
The first form we have all clients sign is a “HIPAA Authorization”. Pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, all health care providers must abide by privacy standards set by Federal Law in order to protect patients’ private health information (which includes, but is not limited to, medical records, x-rays, diagnostic reports, etc…). As a result of these heightened privacy standards, your medical providers cannot release your private health insurance information to our office unless you sign an authorization or release allowing them to do so. Our HIPAA Authorizations are very basic and you will only need to sign one.
One of the most common questions we receive at the Law Office of Mike Campbell is how our attorney’s fees are handled. Personal injury attorneys handle fees differently than most other types of lawyers. This blog contains answers to some of the questions we receive about our fees and the costs of filing a personal injury claim at our firm.
Note:Keep in mind that this blog is written from the perspective of our attorneys. Other personal injury firms may handle fees differently than noted below.
If you’re thinking about contacting a personal injury lawyer for an accident you were injured in, you likely have some questions. One of the most common questions potential clients have at our law firm is the question regarding the initial case consultation. Many potential clients wonder about the costs for a consultation, what will happen during the consultation itself, and what determines whether or not a case is accepted.
At the Law Office of Mike Campbell, we believe in being honest and upfront with our clients at all times during the process of filing an injury claim. Here is some information you may find useful if you choose to contact our firm for an initial case evaluation:
We all go into bars and clubs expecting to have a good time. We expect that the bar staff and bouncers are trained to keep us safe and to watch out for any signs of trouble. Unfortunately, many staff members and even bouncers are not trained to properly handle bar fights that happen. Even worse, some bouncers actually end up hurting members of the general public when they try to break up fights or make things worse when restraining people they think are fighting. Sometimes these bouncers believe they have a free pass in their job and are able to use any force necessary to restrain people.
Know this: If you are assaulted by another patron in a bar, if a staff member assaults you, or if you are assaulted by a bouncer at a bar, you have rights.
Mike and his staff did an incredible job with my personal injury case. Will be recommending to anyone I know that would find themselves in my circumstance.
14:55 03 Apr 18
Mike Campbell is an inspiration to trial lawyers. I've known Mike for 3 years and as a fellow plaintiffs' lawyer, I have been very impressed by Mike's integrity, honesty and skills as a trial lawyer. Mike is simply a decent, caring and compassionate person and someone I enjoy being around.If you get the chance to hire Mike Campbell, you can be rest assured that you've made an excellent choice.
21:03 22 Mar 18
Mike is an incredible attorney and very helpful. I definitely recommend! I had a great experience and am so thankful for his help.
19:34 06 Mar 18
Mike and his team are great lawyers who fight hard for their clients and obtain great results. I highly recommend them.
00:33 21 Feb 18
Mike is an excellent attorney and my referral source in the Columbia area. If you have the need for a criminal defense lawyer or if you’ve been injured in an accident, don yourself a favor and contact Mike.
22:27 11 Jan 18
I highly recommend Mike as an attorney. He is honest, trustworthy and responsive.
21:15 15 Sep 17
Knowledgeable, eager, dedicated, and friendly are a few words I'd use to describe the experience in working with Mike. Not only is he extremely good at what he does, but Mike is also personable and professional.
22:29 21 Mar 17
Helped me with My traffic case and did a great job. Felt like he really had my best interest in mind. 10/10 would call on Mike Campbell
00:41 22 Jun 16
Very professional. Fantastic at what he does. Will go the extra mile for you when a lot of lawyers won't. If I could rate over 5 stars I would.