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Case Win Feature: 6 Million Dollars Recovered for Client Struck by Box Truck
By: Rebeka VandeVelde
Achieving success after auto accidents requires immense amount of preparation, documentation, and teamwork between lawyers and paralegals. Understanding how to get the best possible outcome from a car accident, it is also important to remember that no one can guarantee a specific amount. However, an experienced law firm will do everything in their power to fight for their clients.
How our Team Achieved the Best Possible Settlement for a Client
When a paralegal receives a motor vehicle accident personal injury case, the first step is conducting an initial investigation. This includes obtaining the police report and any other information the police may have gathered at the accident site. In this case, we were able to get video statements the police officer took from an eyewitness, the driver who caused the accident, and our client in the emergency room moments after the collision.
It is also essential for the paralegal to obtain photographs showing the property damage of all vehicles involved, as well as photos of the area where the vehicles were traveling and where the impact occurred. The legal team also conducts a criminal history search on the driver to see what, if any, accidents, or criminal charges they may have.
Understanding the Full Details of the Accident Informed our Strategy
We knew going into this case that our client was hit by a box truck which should carry a commercial insurance policy. We sent the owner of the box truck and their insurance company a preservation letter, outlining the necessary steps to preserve ESI and all tangible documents relevant to this case.
It is also important to get insurance policy documentation from the client. In this case, our client had a Kansas auto insurance policy covering personal injury protection and lost wages. Because the paralegal is almost always the main person of contact, it is very important they maintain a good relationship with the client and explain the importance of these documents.
Expert Paralegals work Closely with Attorneys and Other Parties to Get Results
Our paralegals are skilled communicators when it comes to correspondence with insurance companies. They know to avoid telling an insurance adjuster anything not approved by the attorney handling the case. In this case, the attorney asked that all contact with the insurance company be done by him directly.
While it can be very difficult for an attorney/paralegal team to receive a copy of the insurance policy from a commercial company, our team was able to obtain the policy to discover that the insured limits were $1,000,000 with an umbrella amount of $5,000,000. We knew right away that this case had the potential to be worth $6,000,000.00.
The Legal Team Monitors Medical Progress and Communicates with Providers
In car crash litigation, paralegals frequently follow-up on the client’s medical treatment, and are available to answer any additional questions a client may have. With the severe injuries that our client incurred in this accident, Attorney Tom Davis again chose to be the main point of contact and always kept detailed notes of the conversations including how his injuries have impacted his life.
Davis visited the client in the rehabilitation hospital and was able to obtain video statements and injury photographs. Because we knew our client had suffered permanent and disabling injuries, a medical paralegal was utilized to keep a very detailed summary of the medical treatment and medical records.
The medical paralegal updated the chronology several times throughout the ongoing medical treatment. The major injuries included a small intestine injury requiring three bowel surgeries, eventually removing 94% of the small intestine, left knee fracture and meniscus tear requiring surgery to install hardware, and damage to his heart requiring a pacemaker/defibrillator.
Documentation, documentation, documentation
The attorney also decided to hire a GI expert to provide documentation relating the intestinal injuries to the accident. An illustration artist was hired to draw images of the client and his injuries. Those drawings and the videos from the police officer at the accident site, along with the video the attorney took a month after the accident, showed evidence of how bad the client had suffered.
Making the Case to the Insurance Company
Once our team had all details documented, the paralegal drafted a demand letter with documentation for the attorney to review. We included property damage photos, injury photos, witness statements, lost wage documentation, medical records, and medical bills. Also included were the illustrations, expert statements with photos and videos, and eyewitness statements from family and friends stating how the accident affected our client’s life.
The paralegal flagged important issues for the attorney to review before sending the demand letter to opposing counsel. We wanted to make sure nothing was left out and everything was documented in the best way possible. This information was sent by email to the insurance adjusters. A CD with the demand letter and all documentation was also sent it by certified mail, return receipt requested.
Because of the severe and life-altering injuries our client suffered, the past and future medical bills, our demand letter and documentation, asking for the policy limit of $6,000,000, was sent on September 30, 2020. The insurance company was given 60 days to review and respond. They accepted our policy limit demand on November 24, 2020.