“The first thing we do,” said a character in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, “let’s kill all the lawyers!” Some people think that the thrust of that quote was to say, “lawyers don’t add value,” or “lawyers muck up transactions,” or “lawyers simply cause more trouble than they are worth.” Which could be an accurate statement if one hired an inappropriate lawyer. However, this quote came from Dick the Butcher, a follower of the rebel Jack Cade, who believed that by disturbing law and order, Cade could become king. Shakespeare was actually acknowledging the fact that the first thing a tyrant must do to eliminate freedom and justice is to eliminate those who might stand in the way. When a person is down and injured, that’s the precise time when lawyers are needed the most. Lawyers, armed with knowledge of the law and guided by principals and swords of justice, are the ones the weak should look to for strength, hope, and recovery.
“Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” And that’s why people need lawyers. It’s the lawyers who ensure that the balance of power is equalized and that 99% cannot be controlled and abused by a few powerful and greedy bullies. Few industries in America have more money and influence than the insurance industry. The skyscrapers of New York and the malls like the one in Washington Square are owned by insurance companies which made their money on the backs of people less powerful than the corporate giants. There is no doubt in the minds of the lawyers at Gatti & Gatti that, if left unchecked, insurance companies would further injure victims of negligence in order for the insurance company to save a dollar whenever the company can.
When you are in a car accident, the first thing you do is file a claim. Within 24 hours, most insurance adjusters are required by company rules to contact you for the purpose of developing a relationship of trust and camaraderie. At one time in recent history, when an injury claim was filed with Allstate, the company would instantly send a letter telling the claimant that he/she should not hire a lawyer because the claimant was, “…in good hands with Allstate.” Or, for State Farm claimants, State Farm would treat you “Like a Good Neighbor.” After all, “a caveman can do it,” and don’t forget, “Nationwide is on your side.” NOT! These statements are all too often not true. More often than not, the insurance company is on the side of their shareholders and investors–not yours.
The lawyers at Gatti & Gatti have been involved in countless individual and class actions against insurance companies for such things as:
- Not paying medical bills;
- Undervaluing the value of totaled vehicles;
- Denying diminished value on cars not totaled but damaged badly;
- Bogus medical reviews;
- Fraudulent medical reports;
- IME exams by prejudiced doctors;
- Unlawful insurance claims settlement practices;
- Lost wages;
- Health care plans created by computers – not objective health care physicians; and
- Putting time limits on needed treatment or preventing an injured person from treating with the doctor of his/her choice.
Just to name a few.
And the insurance companies include, but are not limited to: Progressive Insurance, Allstate Insurance, American Family Insurance, Farmers Insurance, USAA Insurance, State Farm Insurance, Oregon Mutual Insurance, Nationwide Insurance, Geico Insurance, AAA Insurance, Safeco Insurance, and about every other insurance company doing business in Oregon. And, by the way, not many Oregon law firms can claim this exhaustive experience. Remember, you should take care in hiring a lawyer who has experience, knowledge, and a reputation for courage. Don‘t settle a case just because your lawyer is afraid of fighting for you. Lawyers are just like you. Lawyers can get fired too. And lawyers should get canned if they can’t or won’t do their job properly.
What is the actual role of a lawyer who’s been hired to help someone injured in a car accident, or any injury caused by negligence, defective products, drunk drivers, or sex abuse and the like?
The lawyer has four main jobs when representing a client; The lawyer deals with the insurance company so you don’t have to. Your job is to get better. It’s your lawyer’s job to do the following:
- ASSIST THE CLIENT IN RECEIVING THE BENEFITS TO WHICH THE INJURED PARTY IS ENTITLED.
- MAKE CERTAIN THE INJURED PERSON GOES TO THE RIGHT HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AND RECEIVES CARE FOR ALL INJURIES SUFFERED.
- HELP THE CLIENT DOCUMENT HIS OR HER INJURY AND DAMAGED.
- HELP SECURE THE DAMAGES THAT WILL REASONABLY COMPENSATE THE INJURED PERSON FOR ALL LOSSES INCLUDING:
- ECONOMIC LOSSES SUCH AS WAGES, MEDICAL BILLS, AND MONEY LOST FROM THE TIME OF INJURY TO SETTLEMENT,
- COMPENSATION FOR ECONOMIC LOSSES REASONABLY TO BE INCURRED IN THE FUTURE,
- FULL VALUE FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING IN THE PAST AND WHAT MAY REASONABLY BE EXPERIENCED IN THE FUTURE.
The above responsibilities of the lawyer are not easily accomplished. There are lawyers who specialize in personal injury work. However the yellow pages and Internet are filled with lawyers who “claim” the lawyer seriously knows how to handle the nuances of securing the full amount of money which will adequately compensate an injured party for his/her injuries. Many of these advertisements are simply false.
Hire a lawyer with experience. Ask questions. Get answers. How many jury verdicts has he/she actually received? Does the firm use investigators, experts, accident reconstructionists, independent consultants for medical exams and reviews? How should you pick a doctor who will listen and treat you properly? Will you keep the lawyer from beginning to the end? How many trials has the lawyer actually tried? What are the out of pocket costs you can expect to incur? How much does the lawyer charge? Does the lawyer charge before or after medical bills are recovered? Does the lawyer advance costs or do clients advance costs? What happens to you if your lawyer loses? Can you settle the case without going to trial? What are your chances?
If the lawyer can’t or won’t answer these questions —— Scram!
At Gatti & Gatti, we promise to do the best job we can within our abilities and with the facts presented. We can’t guarantee results. However, we can guarantee: Honesty. Competency. Integrity. Courage and Communication.