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Personal Injury Lawyer Versus the Insurance Company: Tactics

Obtaining compensation for serious injuries is similar to playing chess. What are the similarities? Well, in both situations, there are tactics (or short term plays) which are executed in an effort to win (in chess, the object is to checkmate the king; in a personal injury case, the object is to receive the maximum compensation). The major difference is that in chess games, the end result is usually not too important. In personal injury cases, the end result can be the most important thing in that injury victim’s life.

So what are the tactics? First, there is the insurance company’s tactic of delay. Delay is a very strong tactic for three reasons. First, insurance companies know that if they delay an accident victim’s case long enough, it is more likely that the injury victim will accept a lower amount since they will more likely be in greater need of money. Second, by delaying a payout, insurers get to earn money on injury victim’s payouts for longer periods of time. Third, it is more likely that a negative intervening event (such as a second car accident occurs), so that the insurer can say that the injuries being advocated by the personal injury lawyer are not related to the lawsuit in question.

Second, another tactic is when the personal injury lawyer does not admit liability. Frequently, insurers will offer to admit liability (which means they admit fault), in return for the claim by the personal injury lawyer to be limited to the policy limits. While this might sound good (after all, why shouldn’t the insurer admit liability when their client rear ended someone in a car accident), it is frequently not a good tactic for the personal injury lawyer to accept this deal. The reason is that if the personal injury lawyer accepts this deal, he or she will not be able to argue the almost guaranteed winning point that his/her client is not at fault. For instance, could you imagine how ridiculous an insurance company’s defence lawyer will look to a juror when he/she tries to argue that the defendant is not at fault for a car accident when the defendant rear ended the injury victim’s car.

Third, another tactic used by an insurance company is to use leading questions when questioning an injury victim in an examination called a discovery. For instance, during questioning, instead of asking a person if he/she was injured as a result of the car accident, the question might be something like, “I guess you didn’t have to go by ambulance because the injury wasn’t so serious?” This invites the injury victim to agree with this loaded question. (Personal injury lawyer hopefully warns their injured clients about these kinds of leading questions.)

Fourth, surveillance is a tactic frequently used to discredit an injury victim. For instance, the insurance company may hire an investigator to follow someone for days, months or years to try to get footage that suggests a person is able to do a vigorous or athletic activity. They will then use leading questions to try to get an injury victim to agree that he/she is unable to do something (for example, gardening) after the car accident. Then, the insurer will use the surveillance to contradict the injured person’s testimony to suggest the injury victim should not be believed about anything at all.

It is important that a personal injury lawyer is familiar with the possible tactics used in personal injury cases such as car accidents in order to prevent insurers from minimizing seriously injured people’s claims.


Car Accident Lawyer Answers Common Questions

After practicing in personal injury as a car accident lawyer for so many years, I am frequently asked similar questions by many of my clients. Many of the answers to these questions are from my experience with dealing with insurance companies who try to deny claims advocated by car accident lawyers.

Here are some of the common questions:

Will the insurance company hire investigators to follow and spy on me?

The answer to this is yes. Insurers almost always hire private investigators to film you. As a car accident lawyer, I have seen investigators follow clients in their vehicles, look into client’s homes (which is totally illegal), and frequently pretend to be other people when trying to hack into social media profiles such as Facebook or Twitter. As a car accident lawyer, I tell my clients to assume they are being watched.

Will the insurance company settle my case very quickly?

Usually, the answer is no. Car accident lawyers know that when an insurer tries to settle very quickly, it is usually because it is ripping off the injured person by offering such a small number. However, a car accident lawyer should also be mindful that insurers like to delay claims because they know that injury victims frequently are willing to settle for smaller amounts if they have to wait too long. That is why it is important that your accident lawyer moves the case along.

Are all car accident lawyers the same?

Not at all. Are all restaurants the same? Are all boxers the same? Different car accident lawyers have different skills. It is important that your car accident lawyer is specialized in car accidents. Car accident laws have specialized rules and regulations which specifically apply to car accidents (including truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bus accidents, and other motor vehicles). If your lawyer is not a specialized car accident lawyer, he or she will be at a major disadvantage.

What type of claims can I make after a car accident?

After a car accident, there could be multiple claims. Car accident lawyers know that in addition to what is called a third party claim (which is a claim against the at fault party), there are frequently many other claims as well. For example, accident benefits from your own insurance company can pay for medical treatment, attendant care, income replacement benefits, housekeeping, and rehabilitation. In addition, there may be short term or long term disability insurance available. It is important that an experienced car accident lawyer handles your case after a car accident so that you can receive the full compensation to which you are entitled.


How to Choose the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

When you are involved in a serious accident, it is important that you choose the right personal injury lawyer to represent you. After all, this person will be your advocate, who will advise you about what to do. Your personal injury lawyer will also be arguing with an insurance company, and showing the insurer why your case is worth what it is. In short, nothing could be more important to the value and outcome of your case than the personal injury lawyer that you choose.

Since it is so important to choose the right personal injury lawyer, the obvious question is how should you choose the right one. If you turn on the TV, or listen to the radio, or look at the back of buses, you will be flooded with advertisements of personal injury lawyers claiming they are the best. What you should ask yourself is why are these personal injury lawyers advertising so much. If they were the “best”, would they need to advertise so much. Wouldn’t past clients as well as other people refer these personal injury lawyers business without them needing to advertise if these personal injury lawyers really were the best.

If your common sense is telling you that you should not choose a personal injury lawyer based on advertising, you are correct. So here are the factors that I suggest you take into consideration when choosing a personal injury lawyer to represent you.

First, does the personal injury lawyer have trial experience? This is very important. If the personal injury lawyer you choose does not have trial experience, then the insurer knows it can stand firm at a low offer and not increase that low offer because the personal injury lawyer will just accept the low amount.

Second, does the personal injury lawyer focus on personal injury law, or does he or she practice in other areas. Personal injury lawyers should only practice in personal injury in order to be specialized in such a complicated field. The law in this area changes all the time and someone must be a specialized personal injury lawyer to be able to maximize the value of your case.

Third, does the personal injury lawyer deal with your case him or herself, or does he have someone else handle your case. You must ask the personal injury lawyer if he/she will personally be dealing with your case, or else your entire case may be handled by other people, which could result in an unfavorable outcome.

Finally, does the personal injury lawyer have someone in his/her office who speaks your language. If English is not your first language, you want to be sure that the personal injury lawyer you choose has someone in the office who is able to speak your language so that you could have optimal communication in your case.

In this age of excessive advertising, don’t be fooled. Do your research and make sure you ask personal injury lawyers the right questions before you sign on.


Can A Prior Injury Impact Your New Personal Injury Settlement?

If you are filing a lawsuit, you may be required to disclose whether you have had any prior injuries which resulted in back and neck pain, head injury or other general aches and pains. When the new accident happens, it may reaggravate some of these pains but more often, if the accident is serious enough, there are new injuries acquired because of the new crash.

All medical evidence that is relevant to any of the issues in the personal injury matter must be disclosed. The existence of pre-existing medical conditions or injuries does not necessarily hurt a personal injury case. People should not hide any medical evidence of past injuries since the insurers usually find out about the old injuries anyway. If someone is caught hiding old injuries, that could result in a serious attack on credibility that could undermine the personal injury lawsuit.

Some Common Prior Medical Conditions include:

  • Injuries you have suffered from a previous unrelated accidents
  • Birth defects or abnormalities
  • Medical conditions such as asthma
  • Injuries that have not properly healed or are in the process of healing

Effect of Prior Medical Conditions:

If you have injuries similar to the one you suffered in a new car accident, it does not mean that the driver at-fault can escape liability by pointing to a pre-existing condition. However, you may end up having to defend your current injury as being caused or aggravated by the new car accident. This can be done through a thorough review of your medical records, and possibly via testimony provided by a doctor or other expert witness.

Your lawyer should be ready to defend your prior medical history and prove that your current injuries are due to the accident and not a prior medical condition. In order for your lawyer to prepare for such a situation, it is important that you disclose all of your medical history as early as possible.

The matter can be more complicated if not dealt with properly. If you have been injured and wish to file a lawsuit, contact a personal injury lawyer for assistance. For more information and a free consultation on your accident or personal injury matter, contact Mazin & Associates, PC, Personal Injury Lawyers at (416) 625-2122.

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  • "I‌ wanted‌ to‌ thank‌ Gary‌ Mazin‌ for‌ everything‌ he‌ did‌ for‌ me. ‌ Retaining‌ him‌ was‌ the‌ best‌ decision‌ I‌ had‌ ever‌ made. Gary is the best personal injury lawyer. His‌ expertise,‌ professionalism‌ and‌ kindness‌ were‌ always‌ present. ‌ He‌ was‌ able‌ to‌ get‌ me‌ the‌ fair‌ settlement‌ that‌ I‌ deserved‌ because‌ of‌ his‌ knowledge‌ and‌ support. He‌ is‌ a‌ truly‌ dedicated‌ personal‌ injury‌ lawyer‌ to‌ whom‌ I‌ am‌ forever‌ grateful."
  • R.‌ Chertok,‌ Richmond‌ Hill
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Mazin & Associates PC dedicates itself to achieving maximum settlements in serious personal injury and accident cases. Our areas of practice include car accidents, motorcycle injuries, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, slip and falls, wrongful death, product liability, long-term disability and medical malpractice.

  • Toronto
  • Tel: (416) 625-2122
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  • Toronto, ON M2N 6L4