More of Dan's helpful articles

TRUCK ACCIDENT INJURY CLAIMS

                                                                                            By Dan Baldyga

In January of 2005 it was written (within the confines of The Insurance Journal), “In 2003 more than 25% of motor vehicle accidents resulted in bodily injury claim”. And, in a 2004 study (executed via Trends In  Injury Claims) it was stated, “Personal injury claims remain high”.

Records indicate that many people involved in motor vehicle accidents, are embarrassed to seek medical attention because of what they’ve determine to be bumps and bruises, and they didn’t seem serious enough or because the onset of the symptoms did not immediately occur.

HOWEVER: Just as soon as possible, after that impact, an initial evaluation at a local Emergency Room is positively recommended!

THE REASON FOR THAT IS: X-rays can be performed which will generally rule out broken bones or factures. PLUS: Muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medications can immediately be prescribed so as to address muscle strains and/or pulls.

If the onset of a serious injury is delayed, the failure to have a medical complaint recorded will affect your physical recovery. Back and neck injuries (like a herniated disc) are not always immediately determinable. They are often initially diagnosed as “Soft Tissue” injuries before an MRI or a CT Scan reveals a disc injury. Normal x-ray film - - cannot diagnose a disc injury!

HERE’S SOME FACT’S OF INSURANCE CLAIM LIFE BY THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE - - WHO WAS INVOLVED IN SUCH MATTERS FOR OVER THREE DECADES! If the adjuster can prove it (and then attempt to hang his hat on the reason “Why” he’s refusing to pay a personal injury claim) he’ll often take the position of, “It’s because there’s been a long and serious delay in receiving treatment”. Or, “Too many time-gaps in the treatment have occurred”.

Ending either one of those conclusions with, “It’s clear the impact had absolutely nothing to do what the claimant was later complaining of and being treated for”.

 
 

“WHIPLASH”

Whiplash hurls your head backward (causing Hyper-Extension) and forward (causing Hyper-Flexion) the both of which will absolutely injure your neck. Whiplash has been determined to be the most common injury resulting from a truck accident. It can cause injury to joints, discs, ligaments, cervical muscles and nerves.

A Whiplash can be short term or long life, because it can leave your neck forever vulnerable to injury. It leads to a long-term disability in 10% of those 1,000,000 people who have been “Whip-Lashed” (because of a motor vehicle accident in the United States) every year !

Records indicate that nearly 25% of those cases result in chronic pain and disability for an individual’s lifetime.

After a Whiplash injury your neck’s natural curve may be reversed, which can unevenly distribute the weight of your head and may furthermore misalign the vertebra. This can lead to arthritic degeneration and recurring pain. Records indicate that 1 in 7 whiplash victims will still have significant pain more than 3 years after the accident!

According to research published in late 2004 “MOST SEATS FAIL THE WHIPLASH TEST”. It was determined that almost two thirds (of what are advertised as “Normal” seats) left motorists vulnerable to painful whiplash injuries. Of all the models tested 18 were rated as “Good”, 27 were rated as “Acceptable” however all of the others were rated either “Marginal” or “Poor”.

In a 2004 edition the National Association Of Mutual Insurance Companies stated, “From 1980 to 2003, the Bodily Injury Claim rate increased by 19%”. They went on to say, “There were 1.05 Personal Injury claims per 100 insured vehicles”.

YOU MUST “WATCH OUT”

FOR THE OTHER DRIVERS ADJUSTER

You’ve got to be wary of the insurance adjuster contacting you, requesting a statement so he can, “Settle your claim”.

In most instances the only reason the adjuster from the other insurance company wants your statement is so to determine if he can build a defense against your claim or make his payment to you, as low as possible.

Adjusters contact you (under the pretext of helping you to settle your claim) and then attempt to use the information they’ve obtained - - to minimize your claim.

Unless the Police Report clearly places the fault on the other driver you must be very careful how you “Handle” or “Deal” with the adjuster assigned to your case because the adjuster is paid, and moved up the claims ladder, partly because of what he knows, and learned on-the-job, about insurance claims, but mostly because of how profoundly he’s capable of taking advantage of those who have a legitimate one.

DISCLAIMER: The only purpose of this article “TRUCK ACCIDENT INJURY CLAIMS” is to help truck drivers and/or owners understand the motor vehicle accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga, Kent Sundling nor MR. TRUCK.net make any guarantee of any kind whatsoever; NOR do they purport to engage in rendering any professional or legal service; NOR to substitute for a lawyer, an insurance consultant, or the like. Where such professional help is desired it is the INDIVIDUAL’S RESPONSIBILITY to obtain said services.

Dan Baldyga’s third insurance claim book AUTO ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY INSURANCE CLAIM (How To Evaluate And Settle Your Loss) can be found on the internet at http://www.caraccidentclaims.com or http://www.autoaccidentclaims.com. This book reveals “How To” successfully handle your motor vehicle accident claim so you won’t be taken advantage of. It also goes into detail regarding the revolutionary BASE (The Baldyga Auto Accident Settlement Evaluation Formula). THE BASE FORMULA explains how to determine the value of the “Pain and Suffering” you endured - - because of your personal injury!

Copyright (c) 2005 By Daniel G. Baldyga. All Rights Reserved

Dan Baldyga - Author        

THE TRUCK ACCIDENT “EVALUATION PROCESS”

          By: Dan Baldyga

While Legal Romantics would like to characterize the trial of a lawsuit involving a truck as a “Search For Truth” that’s not a reality!

Cases are decided on the evidence:  When reviewing cases before them, judges invariably use the phrase, “The evidence shows”, rather than, “The truth of the matter is”. That first phrase is a reality that filters from the courtroom down to the objective evaluation of each case tried.

If Fred Fuddle is the town drunk, or if his conduct at the accident scene was provably abnormal than the value of your case should increase. If your injuries are visible and/or demonstrable, it’s likely your settlement will be larger. The conduct of both Fuddle and you before the accident may be significant. If you had been at a bar drinking heavily or raising holy hell out on the highway before the accident, you’ll likely get less regard from the jury than if you were driving to your house of worship with your family.

So, the circumstances of your behavior before, during, or after the accident increases or decreases the value of your settlement.

THE SIX MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS IN THE “EVALUATION PROCESS”: To be fully informed, you must know and understand the six primary evaluation elements that figure into the process of evaluation. They are as follows:

(1) THE FACTS (2) THE EVIDENCE (3) THE LAW (4) YOUR INJURY (5) SPECIAL DAMAGES (6) THE INTANGIBILITIES.

(1) THE FACTS: The gathering of the provable factual information is the first step in the evaluation. If you try to evaluate a claim without as complete a file of facts as possible, it’s like going hunting for a lion with a slingshot.

(2) THE EVIDENCE: You must weigh all factual evidence known to you against the actual evidence you can produce to substantiate it. No matter what information you’re aware of, your position will always be stronger if you have the evidence to back you up.

For example: You can talk until the cows come home about the unsightly black-and-blue marks you had on your face, ribs, and hips, the scar on your forehead, or the 75 feet of skid marks Fred Fuddle’s vehicle left on the highway before he smashed into you, but Adjuster I. M. Smart will never adequately comprehend, (nor want to believe you) unless you provide him with photographs.

Providing Smart with the proof-positive of photographs will cause his Supervisor’s eyes to bulge as he inhales a deep breath of resignation and declares, “Hey, this one’s going cost us” .

QUESTION: “How can Dan be so sure about that”? ANSWER: “Because before Dan retired, after spending over 30 years on that firing line, he was an Insurance Adjuster, Supervisor, Manager and Trial Assistant. He’s been there, saw that, plus heard (and felt) that many thousands of times” !

Whenever possible you must help Adjuster I. M. Smart justify the settlement figure he wants to get approved by his immediate superior at Granite Mountain Insurance Corporation.

(3) THE LAW: As proved in over 83% of the accidents in the United States in 2003 the impact you were subjected to is clearly the fault of “Fumbling” Fred Fuddle, so the law is on your side.

Armed with the information found in my third book AUTO ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY (How To Evaluate And Settle Your Loss) plus THE BASE FORMULA (The Baldyga Auto Accident Settlement Evaluation Formula) you’ll be able to do that. THE BASE FORMULA will correctly evaluate your “Pain and Suffering”. Because of this, you can settle your own claim without handing a huge percentage to an attorney. A lawyer who has done nothing more than have his secretary send Fuddle a letter of representation and then think it’s perfectly acceptable, after many months, (sometimes years) of hiding/stumbling/farting and verbally pitching his well-practiced mumbo-jumbo when you asked, “Hey what’s going on with my claim?” with an answer like, “I’m right on top of it, hang in there, I'm going to make it come out right”. And then, later on down that loooong and painful pike, scoop out a huge portion of your settlement dollars for doing absolutely nothing to earn it.

(4) INJURY TO YOU: The seriousness of your injury has to be considered. (Ole’ Doc Comfort, your attending physician’s Medical Report, should go into detail about that).Your age will have an effect on the time it takes you to recover. The time you lost at work will have a direct bearing on the length of your recovery.

(5) SPECIAL DAMAGES: All of your direct and tangible losses are prime factors to be implemented in the consideration of the value of your claim. (Clearly stated details regarding Damages are found in Chapter Four of my book).

(6) INTANGIBLE ELEMENTS: These include your reasonableness, your economic status, your standing in the community, the obvious sentiment conjured up when one considers the degree of the seriousness of your injury, plus the attitude of Fred Fuddle (and often your witness) regarding your case.

Sympathy will come into play if you’re a widow or a highly respected Little League Coach, in contrast to your being identified as a raucous bum with a history of getting into scrapes with the law.

Emotional factors often have considerable weight in the evaluation of your claim. Whatever the intangible elements may be, you must force yourself to investigate and evaluate them as objectively as possible. So, if what’s being contended is incorrect, you can deny them (plus you must prove the conclusions not to be true) when and where it becomes appropriate to do so.

DISCLAIMER: The only purpose of this article THE TRUCK ACCIDENT "EVALUATION PROCESS" is to help people understand the motor vehicle accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga, Kent Sundling nor MRTRUCK.NET make any guarantee of any kind whatsoever; NOR do they purport to engage in rendering any professional or legal service; NOR to substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the like. Whenever such help is desired it is THE INDIVIDUALS RESPONSIBILITY to obtain such services.

Copyright (c) 2004 By Daniel G. Baldyga. All Rights Reserved

Dan Baldyga - Author

~ TRUCK ACCIDENT INSURANCE CLAIM ~

REGARDING IMPACTS AND INJURIES

 By: Dan Baldyga

In January of 2003 it was determined that in the good ole‘ US of A, there were approximately 12.3 million motor vehicle accidents involving over 21 million vehicles in 2002. This amounts to a little over one crash per second. Let’s take a look at four of the most common of these gazillion impacts and the typical injuries they cause.

    #1. LOW SPEED IMPACTS - - ESPECIALLY REAR-ENDERS: These are crashes that are considered to be any collision that takes place at speeds under 10 MPH. While there is absolutely no justification to call it a “Low Speed” impact that’s what the insurance industry loves to identify them as. Why ? Because a moniker like that is supposed to indicate that the, “so-called impact”, you were subjected to could not possibly have caused an injury.

It’s true that when such a crash does take place there’s often not a lot of damage done to the truck and yet, in most cases, people involved in these types of accidents more often than not suffer injuries - - neck injuries especially!

Although the insurance industry would like to have those making a claim think differently an injury can and absolutely does occur when a low impact collision takes place. The most common is identified as the “Whiplash”. This takes place when the occupant does not have the slightest idea about the impending collision so they can’t brace themselves by forcing their back and/or neck against the seat or headrest. Because of this their body gets whipped and snapped about something fierce.

Most bumpers are built to withstand up to a low impact crash without damage. This is not done to insure the safety of the occupant but rather to protect and limit the damage to the bumpers, keeping the cost of repair to a minimum. Many times vehicle to vehicle impacts can sustain a very minor impact before there’s recognizable damage to the truck. However, when the bumper doesn’t crumble and absorb the force of the impact, more of that crash is felt by the occupants.

IMMEDIATE INJURIES: The truck driver that’s been crashed into by another (even at very low speeds) is thrown forward with a severe jerking motion - - causing necks to snap and backs to twist. Because of this many “Soft Tissue” styled injuries take place, including multiple body bruises, plus chest and rib injuries.

In most cases adjusters attempt to deny the possibility of injuries in a low speed impact but research substantiates just the opposite! Sure, the truck will show little or no damage but the velocity and accompanying force have to be transferred somewhere, and that’s to those sitting in that truck. Motor vehicles are built to withstand such minor impacts - - the human body is not!

    #2. FRONTAL COLLISIONS: In most frontal impacts the occupant’s can generally brace themselves because they’re usually aware of the collision they’re about to be subjected to. In Frontal Collisions the speed and weight of the vehicle play a role in the injuries of the occupant. (The more the truck crumbles at impact the less severe the injuries to the occupants).

In frontal impact collisions the speed and size of the truck determines the injuries that can take place. (And - - getting back to rear-end collisions for just a moment - - the striking vehicle not only undergoes a collapse, but transfers momentum to the truck that’s been struck. If there's an airbag it may or may not explode. This depends upon the rigidity of the vehicle that’s been struck).

IMMEDIATE INJURIES: Head and neck, back, spine, rib and clavicle, arms and legs, concussions, soft tissue, internal, dislocations, abrasions, cuts and bruises.

48 to 72 hours later: Headache, blurred vision, dizziness and loss of taste, smell or hearing. Also, difficulty breathing, blood in urine or stool, swelling, loss of motion and visualized bruising take place.

    #3. SIDE IMPACT: Many times the occupants head will hit the side window and bounce off of it. There are no air bags nor bumpers, engines, etc., to help protect ones body or absorb the force of the impact.

IMMEDIATE INJURIES: Head and neck, arms & legs, soft tissue, dislocations, scrapes and bruises.

48 to 72 hours later: Pain, headache, blurred vision, dizziness, loss of taste, smell or hearing, numbness or tingling (and basically the same as those listed above) so, at the risk of being repetitious but because it’s so important, I must say once again: It’s of major importance that the truck driver that's exposed to impact - - no matter how slight it may seem to have been - - should immediately be examined by a medical professional.

    #4. ROLL-OVER ACCIDENTS: As we all know the typical roll-over accident is deadly serious. ! The most common factors in these types of accidents are approaching a curve at too high a speed, leaving the pavement or highway, or over-correcting the steering wheel. The severity of injuries to the occupants generally depends on the beginning velocity of speed, the number of rolls, condition of the vehicle, and what your truck rolled through, over and into!

Damage to the vehicle is generally extensive. It has been determined that 60% of the economic costs from truck roll-overs resulted from occupant ejection, and that the initial roll-over speed was between 40 to 60 MPH. (A recent study reported that restrained occupants showed a higher proportion of neck injuries than the unrestrained).

IMMEDIATE INJURIES: The whole nine yards - all of those as detailed above.

    The bottom line (to all 4 of the above) is that in all motor vehicle accidents - - no matter how minor the damage it’s of the greatest importance that each and every truck driver immediately visit a medical professional for a physical examination and/or consultation.

    If you find yourself at the scene of an accident and somebody asks if you think they should see a doctor, your answer should always be, "ABSOLUTELY " ! Stare straight into their eyeballs and tell them, “It’s your body. There’s only one to a customer. You should do whatever you can to take care of it and protect it”.

DISCLAIMER: This article ~ TRUCK ACCIDENT INSURANCE CLAIM ~ REGARDING IMPACTS AND INJURIES is intended for background information only. Its purpose is to help people understand the truck accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga, Kent Sundling, nor MR. TRUCK make any guarantee of any kind whatsoever NOR purports to engage in rendering any professional or legal service, substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the like. where such professional help is desired IT IS THE INDIVIDUAL’ RESPONSIBILITY TO OBTAIN IT.

Dan Baldyga’s third and latest book, AUTO ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY INSURANCE CLAIM (How To Evaluate And Settle Your Loss) This book reveals “How To” successfully handle your motor vehicle accident claim, so you won’t be taken advantage of. It also goes into detail regarding the revolutionary BASE (The Baldyga Auto Accident Settlement Evaluation Formula). BASE explains how to determine the value of the “Pain and Suffering” you endured - - because of your personal injury.

Copyright (c) 2003 by Daniel G. Baldyga. All Rights Reserved

 

THE EYE WITNESS TO YOU AND YOUR TRUCK GETTING CREAMED

   By: Dan Baldyga

Thirty four years ago, in a book I wrote and was published, entitled, How To Settle Your Own Insurance Claim, I stated: “An eye witness can make or break your case. If you’ve been able to keep your wits about you the first thing you should do, immediately after impact has occurred, is to find somebody who observed it. After having spotted such a person, don’t be bashful. Go right over to them and ask if they saw the accident ? If they did, jot down their name, address and telephone number. Should they drive away before you can zero in on them, make note of their registration number so you can later obtain their name through the department of motor vehicle office.”

What I wrote, over thirty years ago, remains true today. (As a matter of fact, when it comes to insurance claims, little has changed over he past sixty years)! Companies like Rock Solid Insurance are still raising rates into the stratosphere while crying in their suds about all the money claims are costing them and greedy Legal Beagle’s are still taking advantage of every truck accident victim they can sink their claws into.

A WITNESS CAN BE CRUCIAL: When you and your truck have been smashed into one of the most important sources of help - - when it comes to digging up information and assembling a record of the accident - - is the eye witness to that impact, with their accounts and recollections as to what happened. Try to secure a detailed written statement (or tape recorded or maybe even now in 2003 a video statement) from them. That “witness person” could be a passenger in other vehicles, pedestrians, onlookers and bystanders at the scene of the accident, and/or driver’s of other motor vehicle’s who were not directly involve in the accident.

UTILIZING THE WITNESS: How do you actually go about the task of securing the relevant witnesses, testimonies and cooperation? To begin with, know this: It’s important that you get to a witness first - - before that fast talking Adjuster Henry Hard-Nose, corners them and uses his expertise to twist the facts. By moving quickly you stand a good chance of getting the witness committed to your account of the events and/or to come down on your side of the case. If they do that’s money in the bank!

You should contact each witness of the accident (identified from the list of persons you compiled at the time of the accident - - or perhaps even discovered in the police report) and talk to them about what they saw, or know, concerning the accident. The ideal procedure is to get them to write out, in detail, what they observed, in their own words. If they’re not willing (or able) to do this, then write their statement yourself (or merely jot down on a pad) what each witness tells you, then have them sign and date it. Try to capture their recollections, impressions and observations of what happened.

Upon completing the interview of each witness, and taking his (or her) statement, ask that individual to read it. When they’re finished have them sign and date it, with their home address and phone number included. (If the statement is more than one page have them initial and date the bottom of each page, then ask them to apply their full and complete signature at the very end.)

You should make a copy of what they signed and send it to them. That’s so they’ll know exactly what they told you - - if, later on down the road, when Adjuster Henry Hard-Nose try’s to hustle and con them into stating something differently - - they’ll be able to stick to their guns because they’ll have written proof to show Hard-Nose exactly what they told you.

LOCATING A MISSING WITNESS: You may be unable to directly contact or locate the whereabouts of a witness whose name, home address or phone number you have obtained. (The witness may have moved). Here are two helpful steps you can take to locate a witness:

1. Send a “Certified” or “Registered” letter to that witness, addressed to his (or her) last known address with the “Return Receipt Requested” plus the “Address Only” box checked off. This way, if you receive back from the post office the return receipt signed by the witness, or executed by the post office, you should find, fully entered therein, the current address of the witness.

2. If you have their full name and address and you’re comfortable surfing through cyber-space there are dozens of ways to locate a person via your computer. Should you not be wise to the ways of the internet find somebody to help you who is.

IN SUMMARY: I spent over half my life investigating truck and other motor vehicle accidents. First as I worked my way through college as a Private Investigator, specifically assigned to auto accidents, next as a Special Investigator in the United States Navy, covering major military truck and other types of motor vehicle accidents in the mid-west, and then over thirty years as a claims adjuster, supervisor, manager and trial assistant. I know, from personal experience, a witness to an impact can be invaluable when it comes to making your case. Witnesses may be able to describe things in an accident that confirm what you know happened, thus backing up your side of the story. They may also provide you with information you were not aware of, which indicates how the other operator was at fault. A witness may have heard a verbal remark that someone other than you was at fault. Even a witness, who did not actually see your truck get crashed into, may have observed you, soon after impact, and confirm the pain and discomfort you were experiencing. A signed statement handed to Adjuster Hard-Nose, taken from somebody who did not know you personally, detailing the suffering you were enduring at the scene, right after your truck was bashed into, is even more money in the bank!

On that same subject of “pain and suffering” Adjuster Hard-Nose might try to convince you that what a witness says is less important if what is being stated is coming from a friendly driver you know. Don’t you believe it. That’s a crock! There are hundreds of thousands of truck insurance accident claims on record that prove this contention to be false. If a friend or even a relative actually saw the accident and what they observed proves you’re not at fault in any way, shape, manner or form - - and/or can detail how much physical discomfort you displayed at the scene after impact - - their value as a witness (on either issue) is worth its weight in gold.

DISCLAIMER: The only purpose of this article The Eye Witness To You And Your Truck Getting Creamed is to help readers understand the truck accident insurance claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga, Kent Sundling NOR MR. TRUCK make any guarantee of any kind whatsoever; NOR do they purport to engage in rendering any professional or legal service; NOR to substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the like. Where such professional help is desired it is the INDIVIDUALS RESPONSIBILITY to obtain said services.

Copyright (c) 2003 By Daniel G. Baldyga. All Rights Reserved

~ YOUR TRUCK ACCIDENT CLAIM ~

COLLECTING FOR YOUR LOST WAGES

By Dan Baldyga

A couple months ago you were toolin' on down the avenue in your truck minding your own business, when out of nowhere, this fumbling, stumbling clown by the name of Freddie Fuddle flew through a Stop Sign and plowed into you with a gigantic, rip-roaring, screeching broadside. You were wearing your seat belt but it was still a thundering crash that wrenched and whipped you around the inside of your cab something fierce!

Now, after a long recovery period, Fuddle’s carrier, Granite Mountain Insurance is clamoring to close the case and they've assigned Claims Adjuster I. M. Strong, to handle your case. You and Strong are sitting at your kitchen table talking about your settlement dollars. It turns out he’s got some hang-up’s regarding your lost income. Well, here are some things you need to know:

Lost wages are one of the most important element's of your damages. Listen to me carefully when I say, "You should not think about the days you missed from work as Lost Time and Earnings. It's not Lost Time and Earnings - - it’s Lost Earning Capacity“

You ask, “What‘s Lost Earning Capacity all about? I thought I could only collect for my Lost Income?” The answer to that is, “In many situations you can claim lost income EVEN IF YOU HAVEN'T LOST ONE SINGLE PENNY “. For example, this can happen when your salary is paid because you've elected to apply for the sick leave that‘s due you, or because of an Accident and Health Policy available for you to take advantage of, or some other such arrangement.

In most instances - - even if you were paid while out of work - - you should still get that money routinely identified as Lost Wages. Why? Because that's your Lost Earning Capacity. Your Lost Earning Capacity is what’s called a Compensatory Damage. Don't let Strong swindle you out of that Compensatory Damage. Even if you’ve received an income, in some other way, you're still entitled to it. Strong will do everything he can to take advantage of you, especially when it comes to getting paid for your Lost Earning Capacity. During the course of every settlement negotiation he gets involved in, he‘ll try that tactic on for size, and it’s mind-boggling how often he gets away with it.

The typical statement made at that point, by the unsuspecting claimant is, “Hey, I understand I’m to be paid for my lost wages.”

Strong answers, “You collected $200.00 a week from your Accident and Health Policy didn’t you?”

“Yeah, but my average weekly income last year was $350.00 a week.”

“Okay”, I. M. Strong flashes a well practiced, winning smile, that tells you he’s a fair insurance claim adjuster, when in his black heart, he knows he isn‘t, “We’ll pay you that $150.00 a week difference. Let’s see, you were laid up and unable to work for 5 weeks. 5 times $150.00 is $750.00. Don’t worry my friend, I’ll see to it you’re paid that $750.00.”

“Wow!” you think, “that’s terrific !.” You’re thrilled to death with this great turn of events. But what you don’t know is that the $200.00 a week you’ve received from your Accident and Health Policy has absolutely nothing to do with your lost income. The bottom line is that Smart has just cheated you out of a couple thousand dollars! And, worse than that, the $350.00 a week income you lost (for a total of $2,450.00) would have given your case $6,000.00 to $8,000.00 more value in settlement dollars.

DOCUMENTING LOST INCOME: Obtain a letter written on official stationary declaring your gross salary income and the days you lost from work.

GROSS PAY VS. NET PAY: You should collect the "gross" wage's you lost, not the "net".

TOTAL DISABILITY and/or PARTIAL DISABILITY: For every week of Total Disability (a fact which must be stated in your doctors Final Medical Report) you should use your gross weekly income - - even if you were paid! (For every week of Partial Disability your doctor states in that Final Medical Report, you have the right to claim a substantial percentage of your income, during that period, even if you didn't lose any).

Because the following five points give value to your claim be ready to talk with Smart about and, wherever possible, prove:

(1) If you lost any vacation time or sick leave. (2) If there was any possible loss of money you could have earned in the future - - either as the driver of a truck or perhaps some other income you've got bubbling and boiling on the side. (3) If you had to forgo any bonuses. (4) If you lost an opportunity that would have led to a better job.

If any of the above four points are true than your claim is worth a ton more money!

THE CRUCIAL MEDICAL REPORT: The Granite Mountain Insurance Company and Adjuster I. M. Strong know that the longer your recovery period, the greater your "pain and suffering", therefore the higher the settlement value of your bodily injury claim. Your Chiropractor or Attending Physician must also note this in his Final Medical Report. Tell him to state exactly how long it will be, before you can get back to routine activities like golf, hunting, fishing and/or rockin' and rollin' with your lady friends.

As long as you have problems keep right on going back to see your doctor, again and again, even if it drives the poor bugger nuts! Do this because the fact that your records show a visit to him, four, eight, or twelve weeks after the accident, proves your injury needed constant attention, therefore you were unable to drive that motorcoach. Also because, when you visit your doctor and tell him there's no let-up of your pain, discomfort, stiffness or immobility - - those continuing problems must be written into the Medical Report he'll provide for you when you've finished treatment. That's the one you'll hand to Adjuster Smart when the two of you begin to talk turkey. As he reads it you’ll watch him frown, then blanch as that cocky smile disappears from his face. When you see him do that you‘ll know, "ya got him"!

DISCLAIMER: The only purpose of this claim tip is to help people understand the motor vehicle accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga nor MR. TRUCK make any guarantee of any kind whatsoever; NOR do they purport to engage in rendering any professional or legal service; NOR to substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the like. Where such professional help is desired it is the INDIVIDUAL’S RESPONSIBILITY to obtain said services.

Copyright (c) 2003 by Daniel G. Baldyga All Rights Reserved

 
By Dan Baldyga
 
    I've recently been asked by several readers of Mr. Truck how they can be positive they really got all the money due them by the insurance company?  I'm absolutely confident that BASE (The Baldyga Auto Accident Settlement Evaluation) Formula, found in my book, will provide them with the info they need, however to answer these readers please allow me to make this suggestion:
    If indeed yours is a complete and total case of clear liability on the part of the other driver - - and if you're sure of the property and personal injury "statute of limitations" in the state where the accident took place (so you don't let the time pass when you can collect for your property damage, all your out-of-pocket expenses plus your "pain and suffering") - - you should dicker with the insurance company and obtain from them the best possible offer they'll come up with.
    Once you've done that go out and find a Legal Beagle to take on your case (but only on one condition) and that is your lawyer will take their fee from the money they obtain over and above what you've already been offered in settlement.  In other words, if the insurance company offers you a bottom-line settlement (which includes your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and all your other out-of-pocket expenses - -  plus an additional amount for your "pain and suffering") - - and let's say that figure is $10,000, you should tell that Beagle, "Okay I'll give you my case however your commission should be taken from whatever you get above and beyond that $10,000."  At that point they'll hear that Legal Beagle howling from several blocks away!
    When he stops bellowing ask him why he should get a portion of the $10,000 you've already been offered?  The Beagle will slink around the office, spittle dripping from his jaws, clawing the rug and/or humping your leg because there's no answer to that question.
    Should that Beagle continue to give you a hard time say, "Tell you what, your commission is usually 1/3 of the recovery.  In this instance I'll give you 50% of the recovery!  In other words, I'll split every dollar you get - - above and beyond that $10,000 I've been offered - - fifty-fifty !"
    If the Beagle still balks (and you're absolutely positive the accident is not a question of liability but rather "how much" it's worth) you can find one that will.  Even if they're not a self-proclaimed alleged "hot shot" - - or maybe a youngster just beginning their practice - - it's okay. If it's only a question of "how much" you'll find one. And, if they all turn you down, you can be 99.9% assured that the money offered is just about the limit of what your claim is worth.
    So, friends of Mr. Truck (after you've read my book and applied The BASE Formula) try the above on for size - - what can you lose?  Just make sure you don't let that statute run.
 
Copyright (c) 2003 By Daniel G. Baldyga. All Rights Reserved
 
DISCLAIMER:  This claim article SPECIAL FOR THE READERS OF MR.TRUCK is intended for background information.  Its only purpose is to help people understand the motor vehicle accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga nor Mr. Truck makes no guarantee of any kind whatsoever, NOR do they purport to engage in rendering any professional or legal service, NOR to substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the like.  Where such professional help is desired IT IS THE INDIVIDUAL'S RESPONSIBILITY TO OBTAIN.

~ DEALING WITH HENRY HARD-NOSE ~

THE TYPICAL INSURANCE ADJUSTER

By: Dan Baldyga

Most adjusters function like Henry Hard-Nose of Rock Solid Insurance Corporation. They’re thick skinned and difficult to deal with. Below is a typical verbal exchange a month or so after you and Hard-Nose had last met in an attempt to settle. At that time he had taken the position that the injury to your shoulder was not as serious as your attending physicians Medical Report stated it was. (Question: Do they fight what your attending physician wrote in their report? Answer: Yes, absolutely! Take it from Dan, who was on that firing line for over 30 years).

The following is a typical verbal settlement exchange after your last meeting had ended “up in the air” - - slowing floating around out there in outer space.

You first - - and here’s the counter argument you should make: “Look, with all due respect, you are not a doctor. You’re no medical expert who has the know-how to second-guess my doctor. When we last met you said my shoulder was ‘only a bruise’ as opposed to a dislocation. I have again talked to my doctor and he remains firm about the accuracy of his original diagnosis. He states that I absolutely suffered a dislocation of my shoulder. But, even apart from his analysis, I’m the best judge of my own injury - - that is, how painful my life has been, and the suffering I’ve had to endure“.

At that point Hard-Nose will always attempt his usual tactic of interrupting your logic but stiffen up, wave him off and say, “Look, let me finish. You owe me that because it was your insured who flew through a Stop Sign and bashed into me and my truck. You and I both know he’s one hundred percent at fault and if this talk about settling for my “pain and discomfort” gets any more one-sided I’m gonna be left with no choice but to hire myself a lawyer.”

Hard-Nose will stiffen up! Now, you proceed, “How is it sir, that its been over three months since this accident and there are times when I still suffer excruciating pains? How is it that I can’t lift things like I used to? The truth is it hurts, it bothers me and it has disabled me. I’ve been enduring it but it’s been awful and it has disrupted my life terribly. My shoulder is not a ‘mere bruise’ to me sir. Neither does my doctor say it is. He states that my shoulder was definitely dislocated and it will take several more months to clear up”!

All of the above is an example of your central approach to the predictably belligerent, difficult-to-deal-with adjuster. You should be firm and aggressive but not hostile. Yours should be a thoughtful presentation that relies on the power and persuasiveness of a sound demand adequately documented and properly communicated.

The three crucial questions you must ask Hard-Nose are:(#1) How much will you pay me for the damage to my truck and all other provable property damage? (#2) How much will you pay me as a fair settlement for my provable lost wages and medical expenses? (#3) How much will you pay me for my disability and my “Pain and Suffering”?

In most instances Hard-Nose will head for the hills - - unwilling to give you a straight answer. He’ll sidestep and do a slow waltz by asking you a loaded question like, “Okay, what do you think your claim is worth?”

Such a question is predictable because Hard-Nose prefers that you’re the one who makes the settlement demand first. Why? Because you may ask for less than what he was preparing to offer! And also because, if you make an excessive demand, he won’t have committed himself to an offer which will have left no room for further negotiations. In other words, Hard-Nose is in his best position to exercise “command and control” over the manipulation (and setting) of the dollar amount to be paid when it’s you that makes the settlement demand first, rather than he making the settlement offer. Don’t provide him with this advantage!

To win this crucial “game” he must suspect you’re close to obtaining a lawyer to handle your case so you should insist on the offer (one that’s realistic and made in good faith) to come from him before you make your demand. Why? Because at that point it’s all about who gets to control the value of your claim - - you or Hard-Nose?

It’s not sufficient for Hard-Nose to merely come up with a phony offer. You must insist upon, and hold out, until he makes the first offer and that it’s a realistic one. Then, and only then, is when you should respond with your own first counter-demand. Up until that point never let him know what you’d be willing to settle for. If you do you’ll lose control and that could cost you big bucks!

Copyright (c) 2003 by Daniel G. Baldyga. All Rights Reserved

DISCLAIMER: This claim tip ~ DEALING WITH HENRY HARD-NOSE ~ THE TYPICAL INSURANCE ADJUSTER is intended for background information. It’s purpose is to help people understand the motor vehicle accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga, nor H. Kent Sundling  and/or Mr. Truck  makes any guarantee of any kind whatsoever NOR purports to engage in rendering any professional legal service, substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the like. Where such professional help is desired IT IS THE INDIVIDUALS RESPONSIBILITY TO OBTAIN IT.

SIX CRUCIAL

INSURANCE CLAIM POSSIBILITIES

By Dan Baldyga

There are dozens of insurance claim possibilities which will increase the dollars awarded you in the settlement of your personal injury claim. Some of them rarely see the light of day but some do. The six I’ve listed below are crucial for you to be aware of as you prepare to go to war with Henry Hard-Nose, the adjuster from Fuddle's carrier Rock Solid Insurance, regarding the value of your loss. They are:

(1) EMOTIONAL REACTIONS TO YOUR INJURY: When it comes to placing a dollar value on the “Emotional Reaction” of an injury one enters into an area where most individuals, even experienced claims adjuster’s and Legal Beagles, are at a loss.

Four often ignored “Characteristic Symptoms” can be: Confusion, Anxiety, Depression and Denial. “Denial”, that is, regarding the seriousness of your injury and the constant pain you feel. This usually comes to pass when one refuses to complain anything is seriously wrong, convincing themselves it will work itself out because they’re one tough cookie!

If any of the above “Emotional Reactions” (which are a direct result of “Characteristic Symptoms“) becomes a reality it would be wise for you to see a shrink. Maybe you won’t immediately identify this as something you need to have checked out but the person you climb into bed with probably will. When she tells you you‘re not functioning (between your ears) all that well, listen up! If that’s what you’re told you should swallow hard and obtain an expert’s opinion. You may consider yourself a muscular "Power To Be Reckoned With" but you’re not Superman so, talk to a specialist, explain what’s happening, and let it all hang out.

Once you’ve been discharged, get that specialist’s written Medical Report and hand it to Hard-Nose, along with the medical bills for your treatment. Is that legit? The answer is absolutely, yes! Can he refuse to accept them and suggest they add no value to your claim? The answer is absolutely, no!  Question: How does Dan know that? Answer: Because he was part of all that for over 30 years.

(2) EMOTIONAL DISTRESS: Emotional distress is legitimate "pain and suffering" and you should be compensated for it. For example, problems that may develop over the effects of an accident within the area of your work or business, or perhaps interfere with your sex life! Whatever it is that’s causing you problems you should see a specialist. Keep going back to see him for as long as it takes to return to normal. At the end of his treatment, when he's finally discharged you, ask for and obtain his written report. Present that to Adjuster Henry Hard-Nose along with the specialist’s bill for their services. This is a legitimate expense and it positively gives your personal injury more value !

(3) SECURING COMPENSATION FOR LIFE DISRUPTIONS: If your injuries caused you to miss some special training you had arranged to take advantage of, you'll probably, at some point, want to make that time up. The difficulty you may experience in making up that missed time (or perhaps never again being able to obtain it) has the potential to increase the value of your settlement. To achieve that you must obtain written proof and present it to Adjuster Hard-Nose.

Also to be taken into consideration is a vacation you may have been unable to take, or some recreational event’s in which you could not participate in and/or a missed special event, like a wedding or a reunion, etc. All of these, properly documented, add value to your claim because they are specific examples of the inconvenience and discomfort you've endured as a direct result of your injury.

(4) YOUR AGE: In the evaluation of an individuals "pain and suffering", age is always a factor because the older you are the longer the periods of Total or Partial Disability will be. This will affect the course of treatment plus the length of time of the "pain killers" you’ve been ordered to take. For example: Over age 50 disability is about 10% to 15% longer, over age 60 disability is about 20% to 30% longer, over 70 disability can be 35% to 45% longer and over 75 disability can often be 50% and longer.

(5) PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL PROBLEMS: Also pre-existing conditions are factor’s that must be considered: For example: Arthritis, Sugar Diabetes, Pervious Injuries and/or Previous Operations that have left you with on-going problems, etc.

Whatever that pre-existing situation may be you should look to your attending physician for advice. Don't avoid discussing this with him. If any doubt exists you should insist your doctor refer you to a specialist for consultation. If your physician is legit he'll agree. If he doesn't than kiss that goodie-two-shoes "goodbye" and go dig up a specialist on your own. It's your body and there's only one to a customer!

(6) ONE THING YOU SHOULD NEVER FORGET IS THAT THE VISIBLE DAMAGES TO YOUR TRUCK CAN VERY OFTEN PROFOUNDLY AFFECT THE AMOUNT OF MONEY YOU'RE EVENTUALLY PAID: If your truck was badly smashed, that goes a long way proving that your injuries were sever and therefore painful. You must snap photographs of that property damage. Shoot a couple rolls of colored and also black and white (black and white because in some instances colored photographs cannot be entered as evidence in a court of law). Take them from different angles and various distances. Like for example, 30 feet away, then 15, then right up close.

Make two sets. One for you and one for Hard-Nose. Blow those suckers up into 8X10 glossies and present them to him. Both the size of your repair bill and those photographs will go a long way towards proving two important points: First, that you know what you're doing and second, that the injuries you received from that god-awful impact (and the long period of pain, suffering and discomfort you‘ve had to deal with) - - if and when viewed by a judge or jury - - are proof positive of what your injury caused your body to endure.

DISCLAIMER: The only purpose of this claim tip, Six Crucial Insurance Claim Possibilities, is to help those involved in the trucking business to understand the motor vehicle accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga, nor H. Kent Sundling and/or Mr. Truck.net makes any guarantee of any kind whatsoever; NOR do they purport to engage in rendering any professional or legal service; NOR to substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the like. Where such professional help is desired it is the INDIVIDUAL'S RESPONSIBILITY to obtain said services.

Copyright (c) 2002 Daniel G. Baldyga. All Rights Reserved

November Article for Mr. Truck. 

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AUTO ACCIDENT INSURANCE CLAIM

Getting Reimbursed For Your “Pain And Suffering”

                                                                                                                                By Dan Baldyga

Your truck got smashed into some time ago when a local character by the name of Fred Fuddle ran a Stop Sign and hit you one helluva crash broadside. Now you're in the home stretch with his Adjuster, I. M. Strong, and you’re going to be paid for your loss by Strong’s employer, Rock Solid Insurance. A good portion of it will be for your "pain and suffering". That is, in the lingo of insurance claim settlements, your "compensatory damages". Let's talk about that:

BODILY INJURY PAIN: How much pain can an individual stand? The answer to that is reaction to pain not only differs with each of us, but often within each of us. While pain can usually be scientifically measured, the limits of human endurance cannot. We all have a different "pain threshold" - - that is, the point at which we begin to feel physical distress as we enter into, and then deal with, a period of suffering.

A lot depends on what's going on in your life and how you experience it. Temperament and psychological factors are involved. Like, for example, your personal life is in a shambles - - for any number of reasons - - and that has hindered your ability to recover. Or, your trucking business is on the brink of bankruptcy!

The mechanism through which you feel an injury is so complicated that there are times when the same pain appears to be more (or less) than that of previous days. For example: one day you have a problem that causes you to complain endlessly. This makes you (so sez your honey) "impossible to live with" and your pain seems to be much stronger. Yet, a similar situation on another day, doesn’t upset you very much and the pain is not nearly as bad.

YOUR "PAIN AND SUFFERING" (Your “Compensatory Damages“): The type of injury you suffered, as a result of Fred Fuddle crashing into you, plus the nature and length of your treatment, are two of the best indicators to Rock Solid Insurance regarding the "pain and suffering" you experienced. However, there are several other areas you should call to the attention of Adjuster Strong to make him aware of what you've been dealing with.

MEDICATION: The fact that you were prescribed either over-the-counter or prescription medication by Ole’ “Doc” Comfort, your family physician, to relieve pain, inflammation (and/or any other injury symptoms), will help to convince I. M. Strong that your injuries were serious and caused you to endure a great deal of "pain and suffering". No matter which way you slice that cake, the more powerful the medication, and the longer it’s prescribed for, the greater the value your claim will be. That's a fact of life in the business of insurance claims.

LENGTH OF RECOVERY: The longer your recovery period, the greater your "pain and suffering", therefore the higher the settlement value of your bodily injury. Make sure “Doc” Comfort clearly indicates this in his Final Medical Report. Tell him he must state in writing, via the weeks and months, how long it will be, before you were able to engage in routine activities. Make sure he doesn't send that report directly to Adjuster Strong. You get it first and then later on you’ll send it along to Strong. But, before you do, read it. If good Ole’ “Doc” Comfort hasn't clearly stated this, hand it back to him and tell him he must. You have every right to insist that he does. You're paying his bills, it's your report, your insurance claim, and your big bucks he's not being serious about!

As long as you continue to have physical problems you should keep going back to see your doctor, again and again, and again ! Other than the obvious "pain and suffering" that will help to convince Rock Solid Insurance you’ve endured, there are two other very good reasons for doing this. They are as follows:

(1) The fact that your records show visit’s to your doctor, four, six, eight (or even more) weeks after the accident, will go a long way towards convincing Adjuster Strong and Rock Solid that your injury took a long time to deal and required continual attention. (Plus it clearly indicates each and every day you were unable to work and therefore it proves, beyond the shadow of any doubt, the income you lost). Never forget: your attending physician’s Medical Report is the only way you can prove you were unable to work and in any court of law that will justify your claim for lost wages.

(2) When you visit “Doc” Comfort be sure to tell him there's been little (if any!) decrease of your pain, discomfort, stiffness or immobility. Make sure, when he does execute that Final Medical Report, that this is clearly stated in his written remarks. If it isn't you have every right to go back, hand it to him and insist that it is.

SCARS: In many instances large and obvious scaring increase's the value of your claim (big time!) - - especially if the scarred portion of your body is visible. If you've been sitting behind the wheel for 30 years, your chin is double, your hair is gone, and you own a bulging stomach, and that’s where the scar is, it’s not going to be worth much. But, if you're a tall, dark and handsome, twenty year old and the scar is on your face, than it's worth a ton. Take colored photographs of every scar and every scrape that causes swelling and/or discoloration to your skin plus every black & blue mark on your body! After you’ve handed a copy of those photographs to Adjuster I M. Strong he’ll be sending them to his boss in the Home Office. I’ve been in that seat so I can flat out guarantee you his supervisor will stare at those photo’s and gulp. He’ll blanch, take a deep breath and send Strong a one liner that reads something like: “Do whatever it takes to get rid of this one. Settle it and let‘s move on”.

If the scar is bad enough insist that Dr. Comfort refer you to a plastic surgeon for an opinion as to whether your scar can be repaired and/or removed. Once you've been examined ask that specialist to detail in writing (and insist that he send his report to you) how much it will cost to make it look right again. You may never get it repaired, and/or removed, but include that plastic surgeon's report, plus the bills for the visits to his office, as part of your claim to Adjuster Strong. This will absolutely, positively give your claim more value !

DISCLAIMER: The only purpose of this claim tip is to help people understand the motor vehicle accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga, H. Kent Sundling nor Mr. Truck make no guarantee of any kind whatsoever; NOR to substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the like. Where such professional help is desired it is the INDIVIDUAL’S RESPONSIBILITY to obtain said services.

Copyright (c) 2002 by Daniel G. Baldyga. All rights Reserved

 

~ YOUR INSURANCE CLAIM ~

MEDICAL INSIGHTS AND EXPENSES

By Dan Baldyga

There’s nothing that has a greater impact on evaluating a personal injury insurance claim than the damage done to your body, the medical bills that are a direct result of that injury and the “pain and suffering” you were forced to deal with because of the accident that took place when Fred Fuddle flew through a Stop Sign and blasted into your truck.

Besides botching up your body (and sometimes your love life) what else does the injury mean to you? It means a ton of financial expense’s, including repairing your truck, lost wages, a shock to your life style, a tremendous inconvenience and short or long periods of pain and discomfort - - all of it a direct result of your injuries.

Plus, there's a long list of possible medical expenses. For example: Doctor/Chiropractor, Prescription Drug Bills, Ambulance, Emergency Room Care, Hospital or Clinic, Specialist and/or Dentist, Laboratory Fees and Services, Diagnostic Tests, X-Rays and (CT) Scan, Prosthetic Appliances or Surgical Apparatus (Canes & Crutches), Physical Therapy, Registered and/or Practical Nurse Fees, Gauze and Tape, Ace Bandages all of which the insurance company must pay whether they like it or not!

Also, Creams, Lotions, Ointments, Balms and Salves, etc. (Should the lady in your life apply any of these to your aching body I'm sorry to tell you this but her labor is not an expense you can claim).

YOU MUST BE COMPENSATED BY THE INSURANCE COMPANY FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE: It's true that a very small percentage of motor vehicle accidents cause big, serious injuries but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be paid big, serious bucks!

EXAMINATION BY THE INSURANCE COMPANY DOCTOR: Claims Adjuster Henry Hard-Nose of Rock Solid Insurance will usually try to pull a fast one insisting he wants you to be examined by the physician of his choice, the local medical con-man of all time, Dr. Nuttin' Wrong. Beware of such a request. Doctors assigned by the insurance company are notorious for stating, in the report they're paid big bucks to execute, "There is no objective basis", for your complaints.

You don't have to agree to be examined by Dr. Nuttin' Wrong. Rock Solid Insurance cannot insist that you submit to their doctor for an examination unless your claim actually becomes a formal court case. So, hold your ground until your attending physician, Ole “Doc” Comfort, has released you. After that it's okay to agree to be examined because by then it's too late! So much time will have passed it will be impossible for Dr. Wrong to minimize the pain, discomfort and suffering your injury has caused you.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT ALL YOUR BILLS IF YOU MAKE THE MISTAKE OF OBTAINING LEGAL HELP FROM ATTORNEY I. M. SHARP: Should yours be a case in which there's no question that you're not at fault, make it clear to the Legal Beagle you've hired, I. M. Sharp, Esquire, that you expect his Contingency Fee will not apply to that which he recovers for the damage to your truck, your medical bills, and/or your payment for lost wages. You tell him these are damages you would have collected ANYWAY - - whether he was handling the case for you or if you settled it yourself. Don't you dare be foolish enough to hand him a huge percentage of that which you were going to be paid by the insurance company, whether Attorney Sharp handled the case or not. To do so is the height of financial stupidity!

YOUR BODILY INJURIES: It's a proven fact that the vast majority of motor accidents cause minor injuries. While bodily injury pain can be specifically measured the limits of what you can endure cannot. Each of us has a different "pain threshold" - - that is, the point at which we begin to feel physical pain. The amount and quality of pain you feel is not strictly dependent on the bodily injury inflicted. It has a lot to do with your previous experience, how well you remember it, and your ability to understand what caused you that pain, and its consequences, the last time around.

Stress and strain magnify physical pain plus personal anxiety will greatly increase it. There are also emotional reactions to the injury. A bodily injury is bound to cause some degree of mental distress. The duration and severity that depends on a number of factors: The type of individual you are, the ultimate consequences of the injury you sustained, and the life stresses or strengths you're experiencing at the time of your injury. (If you can't stand her and your lady friend takes a powder you’ll handle your pain better if you really dig the chick and she dumped you for your best friend)!

When it comes to muscle injuries one thing you must keep in mind is that when one part of the body demands rest (by sending out a pain signal) and - - without your even realizing it - - you help your body by placing a new burden on other muscles. It gets complicated because although those muscles may not have been directly injured in the accident, they can still get buggered up and produce a lot of pain because of their new role.

DISCLAIMER: The only purpose of this claim tip is to help people understand the motor vehicle motor vehicle accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga nor H. Kent Sundling and/or MrTruck.net make any guarantee of any kind whatsoever; NOR do they purport to engage in rendering any professional or legal service, NOR to substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the like. Where such professional help is desired it is the INDIVIDUAL’S RESPONSIBILITY to obtain said services.

Copyright (c) 2002 by Daniel G. Baldyga. All Rights

HOW TO NEGOTIATE

WITH THE INSURANCE ADJUSTER

By: Dan Baldyga

You and I. M. Strong, the adjuster from Granite Mountain Insurance, are sitting at your kitchen table in an attempt to settle your claim.

Strong is all wound up and on the offensive, rambling on and on about how your injuries weren't serious. His typical pitch usually goes something like, "Look, I've been at this a long time. I've talked to people in the trucking business like you, day in and day out, for over twenty years. People who've gone through exactly what happened to you, with the same sort of claim as yours. Sure, you had a period of discomfort but your so-called injuries were routine. Believe me when I tell you they aren't worth much."

You’re stunned. You can't believe what Adjuster Strong is trying to pull. You say, "Hey, man, you got to be kidding. I’ve been miserable! There was no way I could get out there and operate my truck because of the pain in my neck and my back still hurts."

Strong shift's in his seat and a victorious look (one that says he knows it all) begins to march across his face. At that point he predictably states, "Look, I can tell you, after handling thousands of cases like yours that the discomfort you may have had, for a couple of days at the most, are relatively minor. They don’t even come close to justifying the three week’s of work you lost and the disability you and your doctor are claiming". His confident smirk and body language tell you he’s positive you know nothing when it comes to settling a motor vehicle accident personal injury claim!. Everything about him says he’s been at it so long he’s positive he’s right. He’s ready to do battle and he knows he‘ll win. He’s absolutely positive you’re a dead duck!.

You're thunderstruck. He’s gotta be kidding! Now he comes at you from another angle, "I've seen thousands of cases like yours and I've had more than my share of exposure to personal injury claims, examinations, doctor-talk and recovery - - the whole nine yards. I've seen physical trauma at it's slightest and it's worst. Any judge or jury would know, once they heard about your so-called ‘injuries’ that your physical problems were almost non-existent".

He'll take a minute to let that sink in and then he'll attempt to sway you even more by telling you he can prove your time lost from operating your truck and/or your business was not compatible with the injury involved. He'll hint around about some "independent information" he's supposedly gathered from your neighbors and/or business associates, which indicate you’ve been involved in "very active" physical activities since the accident.

Once he lets that one sink in he'll ramble on about the "independent examination" the doctor hired by Granite Mountain Insurance gave you, telling you, with outrageous confidence, that his doctors Medical Report states there was little, if anything, wrong with you. Then he’ll surely try this one on for size: “My doctor is a professional . The only people he ever sees are those who’ve been in motor vehicle accidents. That’s what he does all day long, check out personal injury claims like yours. His medical report to us, which by the way is what will be presented at trial should your claim ever go to court, clearly states your physical problems were almost non-existent”.

He hums a happy tune to himself as he observes the amazement marching across your face and that drum beat he’s heard so very often begins to pound away within the gray matter between his ears: Boom/Boom/Boom/Boom, declaring, “I gotcha!, I gotcha!, I gotcha!, I gotcha!”

If you let Strong get away with that than his attempt at downgrading your disability will have been successful. As a way of "proving" what happened to you wasn’t serious he’ll describe your “so-called injuries” with fancy medical language and then compare them to the more extreme types of personal injury problems or conditions he's dealt with in the past. The implication being yours were obviously minor and have little, if any, value.

At that point he'll read the statements and opinions in your own Doctors Medical Report in such a way which, if not read nor interpreted properly, he'll insist proves, “You may have been a little sore from a slight injury but it clearly states you certainly didn't have any serious physical problems“. (You can bet every dollar you’ve got that he’s made that statement a thousand times)!

You're quickly discovering that neither Adjuster I. M. Strong nor his supervisors at Granite Mountain Insurance are going to be fair. They're out to take advantage of you. That’s the name of their game and that’s what they get paid to do. Question: Is that really true? Answer: Yes, it’s really true. Take it from Dan, he was on that firing line for 30 years!

From that point on you shut down. You be the listener. Let him babble on. When he's finally done, you say, "Your points about my injuries are very interesting. I'd like to discuss them in detail with my doctor“. Pause and then add, “We'll call this off for now while I go back and consult with him."

Before he answers get up, smile, point towards the kitchen door and bid him "goodbye". If he balks, sneak a peek at your watch, tell him you're late for another appointment and insist your meeting is over. He'll have no choice but to leave.

If you do that here's what you'll have accomplished:

(1) You'll have seized the bargaining "momentum" and control from the adjuster and, if you remain strong, he'll never get them back.

(2) Served notice on him that it's you, not he, who will now call the shots in the negotiation "Power Game" he's been playing.

(3) Impressed the adjuster that the settlement will be done on your terms, not his.

You may ask: Okay, I threw the adjuster out and let him politely but surely know I’m not going to buy into his nonsense. So, when this all gets played out, what have I accomplished?

The answer is: I. M. Strong is aware you‘ve not bought into his pitch and in his secret heart he perceives that reality. For those in the home office, so as to know exactly where they stand, his instructions have always been that everything that passed between the two of you is placed into the report’s he continues to send in, regarding the settlement talk’s he’s had with you. So, the fact that you’re not buying his story, will go into your file and be read by Strong’s superiors. Once they do they’ll have no choice but to conclude that you’re no pushover!

You’re going to stick to your guns because you’re right and the Medical Report your doctor executed for Adjuster Smart is legit. You understand that both your “pain and suffering” and the length of recovery from your injuries, has been clearly stated.

Smart has correctly assumed that you’re not accepting his usual pitch (filled with mumbo-jumbo nonsense) yet so often works. It’s beginning to dawn on him if he doesn’t change his tactics you’re going to get yourself an attorney and his superiors at Granite Mountain won’t be dancing for joy about that.

Wait a five or six weeks then call Smart and ask him to come back to talk some more. I flat out guarantee you the next time you meet with him the power will have shifted into your corner and you'll never again hear him attempt to minimize your injuries. That often comes to pass because he’s received this typical six word, one line memo, from his supervisor at the home office, “Settle this one and move on”. Granite Mountain will have reached the point where they’re satisfied to pay and get rid of you. Why? Because personal injury claims continue to pile up and clog their incoming pipeline. They’ve got a lot of other unsuspecting prey to trap and shoot and it’s clear you're an individual who’s too wise, too tough and too difficult for them to fuss with any longer.

DISCLAIMER: The only purpose of this claim tip is to help people understand the motor vehicle accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga nor H Kent Sundling and/or Mr. Truck.net make any guarantee of any kind whosoever; NOR to substitute for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the like. Where such professional help is desired it is the INDIVIDUAL’S RESPONSIBILITY to obtain said services.
                   Copyright (c) 2002 Daniel G. Baldyga. All Rights Reserved

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