Tag Archive for: Personal Injury

The Importance of Eyewitnesses in a Personal Injury Case

Building a strong personal injury claim means using a wide range of evidence to prove your case. While you may be able to explain in detail what happened, your word likely won’t be enough for the insurance company. They want to see physical evidence, medical reports, and eyewitness accounts. If you can find eyewitnesses for your personal injury claim, you may be able to strengthen your claim.

Looking for more personalized assistance with your personal injury claim? The team at Mann & Potter is here to help you. Call us at 205-879-9661 to get started.

Finding Eyewitnesses

You may be wondering how you can find eyewitnesses, especially if no one came forward at the time of the accident. In many cases, witnesses stop to provide information and observations. However, depending on where your accident occurred, you may be able to talk to people who live in nearby houses or apartments, those who drove by the accident scene, passengers in your vehicle, pedestrians and bicyclists, and those in nearby businesses.

The Type of Eyewitness Matters

While all eyewitness testimony can be useful in a personal injury claim, different people’s words carry different value in the eyes of an insurance adjuster. Yes, you may be able to get input from people who were with you at the time of the incident. You should know, though, that the insurance company is unlikely to take their statement as seriously as they take a statement from a completely unbiased third party.

While the people with you may not have a financial interest in your personal injury claim, they still know you and may want to support you in your claim—even if that means exaggerating the truth. Even if your friends and family members would never do that, that’s what the insurance company is afraid of. If you have eyewitness testimony from a friend or family member, try to balance it with input from a neutral third party.

How Eyewitnesses Help Your Claim

Eyewitnesses support your personal injury case in a variety of ways. First, they may be able to present information that you don’t have. They likely had a different point of view during the accident, so they may have additional context that can be useful for your attorney.

Even if they do not have new information, they may have observations that match up with yours. That gives credibility to your retelling of the incident and makes it harder for the insurance adjuster to claim that your viewpoint is inaccurate.

In some cases, eyewitnesses can answer critical questions that determine who is liable for an incident. For example, consider a traffic accident that occurred at an intersection. You know that the light was green, but the other driver insists that their light was green. The entire question of liability hinges on which one of you is telling the truth.

Enter a witness who was at the same intersection when they were passed by the other driver. They tell the police that the light was absolutely red for them when they saw the other driver fly past them without even slowing down. This makes it incredibly difficult for the other driver to claim that you are lying about your light being green.

Time is of the Essence

Regardless of how you find eyewitnesses and what they have to contribute to your claim, it’s important to avoid wasting time as you build your injury claim. No one’s memories last forever, and odds are that the incident isn’t quite as important to the eyewitnesses as it is to you. Their memories will fade even more quickly than yours. It’s crucial to talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. They can review your evidence, talk to your eyewitnesses, and get their input while their memory is still fresh.

Contact Mann & Potter Now to Start Your Claim

Whenever you are ready to begin your personal injury claim, the team at Mann & Potter is here for you. Let’s take a look at your case, explain your options, and come up with a plan to get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 205-879-9661 or reach out to us online to set up a consultation now.

How Insurance Companies Use Independent Medical Examinations to Their Advantage

Personal injury claims are complicated at the best of times. And when you get a notification that the other party’s insurance provider is ordering an independent medical examination, that’s definitely not the best of times. While the name “independent medical examination” may make it seem like you’re participating in an objective third-party overview of your injuries, that is not the case.

Learn more about what an independent medical examination is and how it can hurt your claim. When you’re ready to take the next step with your personal injury claim, call Mann & Potter at 205-879-9661.

An Overview of Independent Medical Examinations

Independent medical examinations, often shortened to IMEs, have a very misleading name. In theory, they should provide an objective look at the extent of your injuries and how much the insurance company should pay you. In reality, an IME involves a doctor chosen by the insurance company.

The insurance company knows which doctors are likely to give reports that are favorable to their case, so an IME is anything but neutral and unbiased. Consider an IME equivalent to talking to the police without an attorney when they suspect you of a crime—nothing you do can help you, but it’s very easy to do something that actually hurts you. Unlike talking to the police without an attorney, though, you cannot refuse to participate in an IME.

Who Does the IME Help?

The IME undoubtedly helps insurance companies, which is why they order them. If IMEs routinely led to insurance companies being forced to pay more or cover more expensive treatments, they would never order them. However, insurance adjusters know that requesting an IME from the right doctor can limit their own financial liability and put them in a position to offer less money.

What does this mean for you? You do have to go through an IME when requested, unfortunately, so this means that you have to do what you can to mitigate the situation.

Information Gathered During an IME

The doctor conducting your independent medical examination can use anything and everything in their report. That doesn’t just start when you enter their exam room. That starts from the moment you arrive at the clinic. If you claim that your injury is so bad that you can’t drive but they clearly see you drive up to the appointment location, that will definitely end up in their report.

If you claim that your pain is so bad that you can’t take care of your children but you mention taking your daughter to ice skating lessons three times a week, that will end up in the report. While your medical information and tests will be the primary focus, anything else you say or do can also make its way into the doctor’s final report.

What an IME Can Do to Your Personal Injury Case

As you may have expected, an independent medical examination can have a devastating effect on your personal injury case if you don’t approach it correctly. If the doctor finds that your injuries are less severe than you claimed or that your symptoms are better than you reported, the insurance company may refuse to pay for further treatment or decrease what they are willing to pay you.

How an Attorney Can Help

This is just one reason you should have a personal injury lawyer on your side when you are going through an accident claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know exactly how IMEs work and what you are up against, and they’ll know how you should approach it to limit the damage to your claim. As soon as you find out that you have to go through an IME, contact your attorney with all of the information you have. They will help you move forward with a plan.

Choose Mann & Potter for Your Personal Injury Claim

Fight for what you deserve with a committed and aggressive advocate. The team at Mann & Potter is focused on helping accident victims get what they deserve after a collision. Give us a call at 205-879-9661 or fill out our online contact form to get the help you need.

When Can Mediation Be Used in a Personal Injury Claim?

Getting compensation for a personal injury can be time-consuming and stressful. If your lawyer or the other party has suggested mediation, you might wonder if mediation is a good use of your time or if it just drags the process out more. Learn more about mediation, how it works in a personal injury case, and how to find out if it’s a good option for your claim.

Not sure what your next step is? Let Mann & Potter help you through your claim. Call us at 205-879-9661 or fill out our online contact form to find out how we can help you.

How Mediation Fits into a Personal Injury Claim

Mediation is a process that involves a neutral third-party mediator who and tries to move the parties toward a workable resolution. And while the mediator guides the discussion, they have no power to impose a resolution that all participants do not agree on.

For many parties to a personal injury claim, mediation is the last step before moving forward with a lawsuit. It may be a last-ditch effort when negotiations have failed, and it seems like the insurance company is unwilling to budge. If there’s still a significant gap between their top offer and your bottom line, mediation may nudge the parties in the right direction and bring them closer to working out a settlement.

Preparing for Mediation

Getting ready for mediation is similar to getting ready for a lawsuit. You and your lawyer go over the details of your personal injury case, putting extra emphasis on the money you’ve lost as a result of the injury and the other ways your injury has affected you. Your attorney will explain what to expect from the mediation process.

After hearing both sides tell their story, the mediator will attempt to negotiate between the two, giving ample time for both sides to speak. Depending on the circumstances and the overall mood of the negotiations, the mediator may have each side in a different room. In that case, the mediator will facilitate communication between the parties using a process known as “caucusing”.

Is Mediation Right for Your Personal Injury Claim?

There are a number of benefits that come with mediation. To start, it is often less stressful than a court case. The setting is slightly more informal, which is often a huge benefit for plaintiffs who have spent months worrying about their personal injury claim.

Additionally, mediation is confidential. If you do not want the details of your claim to be made public, mediation can protect your privacy. On top of that, mediation is usually less expensive and time-consuming than a court case. It also doesn’t limit your options—if you cannot reach a satisfactory agreement via mediation, you can always take your case to court.

There are a number of situations when mediation is not an appropriate choice. If you do not want your case to be confidential, you may want to take it to court. This is fairly unusual but may occur in defective product claims where the victim wants the company’s name and deeds made public, for example.

You also may not be able to use mediation if the other party’s insurance company refuses. For some companies, the cost of mediation is not worth the possibility of a fair agreement. Finally, your attorney may not recommend mediation if your bottom line and the other party’s top offer are just too far apart. Mediation can help smooth out some of the bumps in negotiations, but if you and the other side are too far off, a court case may be the only way to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve.

Start Your Claim with Mann & Potter

Whether you are just exploring your personal injury claim options or you feel like you’re being treated poorly by the liable party’s insurance company, it’s time to talk to an attorney. At Mann & Potter, we focus on fighting aggressively for the compensation our clients deserve. Set up a meeting now by contacting us online or calling 205-879-9661.

How Will the Coronavirus Affect My Personal Injury Case?

In case navigating a personal injury claim wasn’t challenging enough on its own, now you have to do so in the middle of a serious pandemic. Luckily, you’re not alone. Many others are in the same boat as you right now, and there are hard-working attorneys ready to help you explore your options and get what you deserve.

A lot depends on the specific details of your case. However, there are several ways that the pandemic could affect your case and its timeline.

Insurance Companies Are Jumping On COVID-19 to Limit Payouts

To start, you should expect a tougher fight with the insurance company as you try to negotiate a settlement for your injuries. Insurance companies are difficult to work with in the best of times, and right now, they are pushing back even harder. They face serious losses to their bottom line as people cancel insurance to save money or downgrade their policies. They stand to save a lot of money if they can convince victims to accept paltry settlements.

Additionally, many courts across the country are closed or running at minimal capacity during the pandemic. Insurance companies know this, and they know that most victims don’t want to wait months or years for a court award. They use this information to get the upper hand during negotiations and try to convince you to either accept less or take your chances in court.

This is just one reason that it’s important to have an experienced personal injury attorney that you trust. They have substantial experience working with insurance adjusters, so you definitely want one fighting for you as you try to get a settlement.

Anticipate Delays and Follow Your Attorney’s Lead

Delays are inevitable right now, but a skilled attorney can minimize delays and help you get through this time with minimal stress. If your case goes to court, you may have to wait until county courts reopen and accept new filings before you can fight the insurance company for compensation.

Most personal injury claims never get this far. Most are settled out of court. Because of this, it’s important to be patient and follow your attorney’s lead. The insurance company handling your claim could be overloaded at this time as people report accidents, seek payouts, and try to downgrade their coverage to save money. Your attorney knows this and can help you understand the timeline and prepare for potential delays.

Factors That Could Complicate a Personal Injury Case

Certain factors could make your case much more complicated. If any of these apply to you, talk to your attorney and figure out your next steps.

  • The liable party is now broke. COVID-19 has economically devastated many people. If you were in the process of suing the liable party and they have lost a substantial amount of money, your recovery options may be limited. Discuss this with your lawyer, as many individuals still have assets that can be used to pay damages.
  • The liable party canceled their insurance policy prior to the accident that injured you. If your claim occurred after the COVID-19 crisis started, consider the fact that some people canceled their car insurance policies to save money as their financial situation worsened. If the person who hit you was driving without insurance, you may not be able to recover very much from them. Those who cannot afford insurance are likely to have other assets that could be used to compensate you after an accident.
  • You are unable to get medical care because of closed clinics. Personal injury cases depend heavily on medical evidence. With many clinics and hospitals closing except for emergency cases, you might have a hard time finding a medical professional to assess and treat your injuries. If this is the case, your attorney may be able to connect you with a care provider that is working through the pandemic.
  • Your work closed because of COVID-19 and you’re not sure if you are entitled to lost wages in your claim. This is one of the unique situations caused by a pandemic that has shuttered much of the economy. This may depend on the type of work you do, whether or not they have work-from-home options, and whether or not they are paying impacted workers during this time.

With an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side, you can navigate the claims process with confidence and ease. While it may be more difficult to settle a claim during a pandemic, it certainly isn’t impossible. If you’re looking for a lawyer who is up to the challenge, contact Mann & Potter, PC today. Call us or reach out online to discuss your options.

Dangers of Speeding Trucks

Because 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers are so heavy and large, it is vital that truck drivers operate the vehicles with the highest level of attention and care. Many operators mistakenly believe that there is nothing wrong with speeding. While the legal penalties associated with driving over the posted limited aren’t anything close to a DUI, the lifelong consequences for accident victims can be the same or worse.

Statistics show that not only do speeding trucks cause serious crashes with injuries, but also claim lives. In Alabama alone, there were over 7,500 trucks involved in crashes in 2017, and speeding was listed as the specific cause in 356 of them. However, it was no doubt a secondary cause in the majority of other accidents as well.

Why Speeding Trucks Are So Dangerous

There is a common misconception about the definition of speeding. While it is true that speeding refers to driving faster than the posted speed limit, it can also mean driving a truck too fast for current conditions. For example, operating a truck on a road with a 65-mph speed limit when that speed would be unsafe in a blizzard or heavy thunderstorm.

Few things are as dangerous as a truck that is speeding down the road. The NHTSA reports that speed is a contributing factor in one-third of fatal accidents. The danger is compounded for everyone on the road when the vehicle speeding is an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer. Some of the reasons that speeding trucks are so dangerous include:

  • Increased stopping distance. 18-wheelers need much more distance to stop than the average vehicle. When there is excessive or inappropriate speed involved, the distance required to stop will be even greater.
  • Difficulty turning. Large trucks must make wide turns and need to drastically reduce speed to navigate corners. If the driver is speeding, they might overcorrect or overshoot a turn.
  • Shifting cargo. The vibrations caused by excessive speed can cause a truck’s cargo to shift, which can unbalance the vehicle. This increases the chance of a rollover accident.
  • Increased jackknife and rollover risk. Tractor-trailers have a high center of gravity, so they are already at risk of rollover and jackknife accidents, but high speeds increase this risk.
  • Truck tires not made for high speed. The Associated Press published a story revealing that most commercial trucks have tires that aren’t meant for high speeds. Specifically, large truck tires are designed to be driven at 75 mph or less, so higher speeds can increase the odds of a blowout.
  • More difficult to control. Large trucks are harder to control at higher speeds. Not only will the operator have less time to react to unexpected events and road conditions, but the truck is also limited in maneuverability at high speeds.

The Department of Transportation Regulations on Speeding

Truck drivers have a variety of reasons for speeding, and none of them are justified. Some might want to make a delivery deadline and others are simply frustrated with the traffic on the road. The FMCSA has issued regulations meant to keep commercial trucks from speeding in dangerous conditions.

Under the rules, trucks are supposed to slow the speed and use extreme caution, regardless of the posted speed limit, when the following scenarios are present:

  • A truck is entering a curve in a road;
  • A truck is driving with a fully-loaded trailer;
  • A truck is driving through a work or construction zone;
  • The weather creates hazardous road conditions; or
  • When pulling off an exit ramp.

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a truck where speed was a factor, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.

How a Qualified Truck Accident Attorney Can Help After a Crash

An accident with a big rig can be incredibly traumatic, and most victims of these crashes find themselves overwhelmed by the claims process and other obstacles suddenly in their path. Between speaking with insurance adjusters, doctors, and trying to recover from your injuries, this can be a difficult time.

At Mann & Potter, P.C., we have extensive experience guiding people just like yourself through this legal process so you can focus on reclaiming your life. Our legal team will not only protect your rights to recovery from the responsible parties, but also speak directly with the insurance companies so that you don’t have to. If you or someone you care about has been injured in a crash with a commercial truck, our qualified Alabama personal injury attorneys know what it takes to investigate these matters and pursue the just compensation you need and deserve. Contact our Birmingham office now at 205-879-9661 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation.