Texas Hammer Lawyer – This screen capture from a 2018 video ad shows Houston plaintiff attorney Jim Adler standing in front of a truck with a hammer. “I stand firm” against “greedy insurance companies” who are “playing dirty,” as the self-proclaimed “Texas Hammer” said in a video of a plaintiff’s demand distributed by law firms across the country.
Previous in the series: How to deal with the threat of post-accident disputes – starting from the scene of the accident
Texas Hammer Lawyer
Vallie Dugas is a general consultant for Melton Truck Lines. He comes from a family of fashionistas. When she was growing up, her father owned a car dealership. She said her knowledge of diesel engines, which she gained growing up in the shop, is “really useless knowledge”. Today. “I have almost never experienced a mechanical failure” in her current role defending her company.
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After graduating from law school and briefly defending maritime cases in a federal jurisdiction, she responded to an ad for a position with a starting salary of $28,000. “It’s the plaintiff’s company,” one of the largest advertising firms in the market, she said. She didn’t know when she answered the ad, but she eventually accepted the job and served there for 12 years.
Dugas presented the anatomy of a plaintiff’s attorney’s office as part of the Truck Driver Safety and Protection Association’s annual meeting in June in St. Petersburg. Threat of litigation from such companies.
How did the plaintiff’s lawyer handle the case? Well, you see billboards, YouTube videos, city buses carpeted with personalized ads right up to the bumpers – that’s for sure.
In fact, Dugas said the injured party was the plaintiff calling the 800 number and it was a one-room hotline with only 100 people answering the phone. They confiscated the information, “and then an ‘investigator’ was sent to the person’s home with an agreement to hire a lawyer.” “Lawyers have been appointed and we are out of the game.”
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At this point, the carrier will likely receive the first letter representing the case, advising that the plaintiff has retained a lawyer. Dugas often said, “You wonder, ‘Why did this lawyer take the case and not even have a scratch on the car?’
The fact is that the lawyer probably “doesn’t know anything about it” at this stage, Dugas explains, adding that it was a form in which the plaintiff’s store simply entered the date the plaintiff’s name was lost. “Lawyers never open their eyes to their clients. It can take over a year for a lawyer to join the firm.”
“This is your first strategic benefit and your first chance to turn things around that actually help your recovery,” she added.
Unlike the usual attorney-client relationship, “there is no honesty between a plaintiff and his attorney,” Dugas said. How she felt when she was young: Most plaintiffs consider her to be the only thing standing between them and their money.
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Taking advantage of this lack of honesty and the fact that plaintiffs and their attorneys don’t often meet until the final stages of a case can be useful, especially when you know you have a plaintiff who is “dirty,” Dugas said. She described a case involving a truck and a delivery van, which the driver was definitely looking for. He sold marijuana for money. Dugas, with no intention of settling the actual case, also arranged a mediation with the plaintiffs’ attorneys as quickly as possible. “I just want the lawyer to sit in this room with these people for eight hours and gain experience from them. What helps in this case is that the people involved actually stink,” Dugas said. Like marijuana smoke during mediation.
As noted, Dugas and company did not set that date, but postponed it for six days. Earlier, she received a call from the plaintiffs’ lawyers. “If you still want to settle, we will settle with you cheaply,” they say.
Larry Harlow, Sentry Insurance’s director of transportation claims, agrees that it is advisable to get the plaintiff and his or her real attorney in the same room as quickly as possible, but in most cases, the “problem” needs to be addressed. Most of them don’t want to do it.” Junior paralegals are the point of contact for Sentry’s remedial work, sometimes even where counseling is provided in extreme cases. Too often, “we call for information to continue the investigation or” “We received information about an injury and you got no response,” Harlow said. “You’ll be surprised”. Plus a big injury, you waited two years for the information.
Harlow added that working to expedite the process will inevitably require legal advice, and in extreme cases Sentry provides insurance at an early stage.
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Dugas noted that getting all parties in the room quickly could create other opportunities as well. You can avoid a trial by limiting what Dugas calls “plaintiff math,” or the tendency for plaintiffs to think only about the sum of an award or jury payment, not the fact of its reduction. No, attorney fees are often 33.3% before any rate. suit, 40% later.
“Be careful how these facts work,” she said. “One of the things you can do in mediation is say to the plaintiff, ‘We’re going to talk about a lot of numbers today.’ You need to understand how much you will have to pay this lawyer and this doctor and how much you will receive net. It’s your money. Can you afford to lose “if the case goes to court”?
Personal compromise makes this possible. Dugas notes that she was seen as successful in achieving goals in the relationship, which included potential trials of people in the plaintiff’s circle – often not his or her plaintiff, personally, but a relative – who is the “decision maker” in the group. “The plaintiff appeared in the company of 14 people,” she added. “You don’t know who you’re going to take on until you’re really committed. “I like to go there and find out what happened to them.”
She answered the above question – “Can you afford to bet that you will win at trial and be responsible for these medical bills?” Same as a surefire way to get the decision maker’s ID. “They will sit down because they will have to pay for it,” she said.
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Finally, it is important to emphasize the fact that the longer the trial, the greater the amount in terms of payments to medical providers and lawyers, and these payments are the responsibility of the plaintiff. The end result may be more beneficial than a quick payment.
Trading dollars across the board and “continuing to pay lawyers” is a complete waste, Dugas said. “A real negotiation should be a plan you make. If you don’t agree with the dollar “with the other side” you may have the wrong value in this case or it may have the wrong value.
Understand that a plaintiff’s attorney will not be able to fully assess the value of the case itself until all potential treatment has been completed at the time of the injury. “When we exceed the bar, we take an oath to uphold the law and protect our customers,” Dugas said. “It is not our job to evaluate inaccuracies and inaccuracies in what doctors do. The same applies to doctors. If someone comes to their doctor and “reports an earache, the doctor doesn’t say, ‘I think you’re lying.’
At the same time, you can jump on the bandwagon because plaintiffs’ attorneys “cannot actually reach a settlement” unless they “know the person has completed” any treatment. If he has paid and not received enough to cover the client’s expenses, the plaintiff has an obligation to “come back through the lawyer” to obtain a refund.
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Guessing what’s really important for some reasons at the same time can be a win-win strategy where meeting those requirements can save you a lot of money. Dugas told the story of an incident in which a young man driving a pickup truck was injured, and the accident was at least partly the result of the actions of the truck driver. She said Dugas and the company offered a significant settlement in the negotiations, but “he won’t accept it.” We sat down and realized he was a third generation firefighter. The nature of his injuries means he will “never be able to become a firefighter again – his family’s entire legacy will be destroyed.”
His main concern is not money, but the need for further development. Dugas and company agreed to “pay for four years of college education.
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