An Accident Lawyer Discusses Baltimore’s Most Overvalued Personal Injury Cases
It’s unfair for any injured victim of negligence to have their insurance claim undervalued. It’s a significant slap to the face. Long-time Baltimore injury and accident lawyers also know the reverse can be true. While the insurance company is unlikely to ever, ever, ever, overvalue a case, a plaintiff, or their family, may have certain goals. Expectations are important in every endeavor. No less so with Baltimore injury cases. For lack of a better word- and ask any serious Baltimore accident case attorney– some cases are “sexier” than others, in the sense that they have a striking, novel, compelling or unique component. In my view, and even with that caveat in mind, it’s essential to approach each car accident claim with seriousness and integrity.
What the insurance industry will no doubt tell you is that some claims are more commonly associated with exaggeration or potential misuse. While these claims might fall into the category of “overvalued” from the perspective of the injured plaintiff, the insurance company might take a much different view. These claims are not necessarily “overused” in the sense that they are fraudulent, but they can be often scrutinized by insurance companies due to their prevalence and the potential for abuse. Some of these claims include:
- Whiplash Claims: Whiplash is one of the most common car accident injuries, especially in rear-end accidents, and it often involves neck pain and stiffness. However, it can also be challenging to diagnose objectively, making it susceptible to exaggeration or false claims.
- Low-Speed Rear-End Collisions: This is an insurance company darling. Accidents at low speeds with minimal property damage are often viewed with skepticism by insurance companies, as they are seen as less likely to cause significant injuries. When the claims adjuster opens the conversation with “we are dealing with a minimal impact or damage case” it is not about to start raining money.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Another insurance favorite. To the insurance company, there are three classes of claimants, the uninjured, those with “soft-tissue” injuries. Injuries to muscles, tendons, or ligaments that don’t appear on X-rays or other imaging studies can be more difficult to prove and may be subject to exaggeration.
- Phantom Vehicle Claims: Some claimants may allege that another vehicle caused the accident and fled the scene when there is no evidence to support this.
- Secondary Impact Claims: Claimants may attribute injuries to a secondary impact (e.g., hitting the steering wheel or dashboard after the initial collision), which can be difficult to verify.
- Delayed Injury Claims: In some cases, claimants may report injuries or pain days or weeks after the accident, which can raise suspicion, especially if they did not seek immediate medical attention. This, too, is a favorite rationale advanced by the insurance company to deny or minimize claims.
Heightened expectations and perceptions are common. The types of claims that have the “potential” for abuse nevertheless occur, whether or not that potential is ever realized. Intentional manipulation of the core facts of a personal injury claim is not common, but it bears some discussion. It’s crucial to emphasize that insurance fraud is illegal and can result in serious consequences, including criminal charges, fines, and imprisonment. Insurance companies have mechanisms in place to investigate claims and detect fraudulent activity. If you believe that you have a legitimate insurance claim following a car accident, it’s essential to provide accurate and truthful information to your insurance company. Conversely, if you suspect fraudulent activity by another party involved in the accident, you should report it to the appropriate authorities or your insurance provider. It’s important to note that the majority of car accident claims are legitimate and involve genuine injuries and losses. However, insurance companies, to protect against fraud and exaggeration, may investigate claims involving these common scenarios more thoroughly. If you have been involved in a car accident and believe you have a valid claim, it’s crucial to provide accurate information and cooperate with the claims process. Misrepresenting or exaggerating injuries can lead to legal consequences and jeopardize your ability to receive fair compensation.
The insurance company handling your personal injury claim is likely aware, in some sense, of the lawyer that you have chosen to represent you. Evaluating the effectiveness and reputation of an attorney is highly subjective and context-dependent. What one person may consider “overrated”, another may find highly skilled and successful. The factors that you like, or deem important in your personal injury lawyer selection process may or may not be the same factor considered by insurance companies in theirs, when selecting litigation counsel.
Lawyers vary in their abilities, experience, specialties, and track records, and their effectiveness can depend on the specific legal issues they handle and their clients’ individual needs. An attorney who excels in one area of law may not be as effective in another. There was a time that many Baltimore lawyers generally handled cases of any type. A lawyer that did injury work, might also handle wills, and family law cases, and prepare tax returns. While these “general” law practices still exist in Baltimore, the trend is to “focus” the types of cases that a firm handles on a few core practice areas.
- When seeking legal representation, it’s important to conduct thorough research to find the right attorney for your specific case. Consider factors such as the attorney’s:
- Experience: Look for an attorney who has experience handling cases similar to yours.
- Track Record: Research the attorney’s past case results and client reviews.
- Communication Skills: Effective communication between you and your attorney is crucial.
- Reputation: Seek referrals from trusted sources or consult legal directories and online reviews.
- Compatibility: Personal rapport and trust between you and your attorney are important for a successful attorney-client relationship.
Ultimately, the perceptions and goals that lead one to choose the right lawyer to handle their Baltimore personal injury matter can vary widely among individuals. The key is to find an attorney who is the right fit for your legal needs and who can effectively advocate for your interests.