This episode addresses how airbags deploying increases the credibility of your case and how the pandemic may have increased case values to me as a serious injury lawyer.
Good morning, welcome to ask Andy, this is a daily podcast about personal injury practice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I’m Andrew Neuwirth. I wanted to talk to you today about why airbag deployment or serious injuries matter in a personal injury case. And the answer may be obvious to personal injury lawyers, but it’s not obvious to everybody else. So what is an airbag deployment tell someone who wasn’t involved in the accident about the accident? It tells you that it was serious enough that the airbags went off. Seems fairly simple, right? Yes. But why does that matter? Well, it matters because a lot of times insurance companies who make offers before the lawsuit or the lawyers who convey offers after the lawsuits filed start from the position where they don’t really believe that the accident was serious. They don’t really believe or they think a jury will find that you know, you’re exaggerating your injuries, or it’s just a soft tissue injury or something like that. Ok. A lot of people have back pain. It would be considered soft tissue injury, whether it’s from an accident or not, but it’s excruciatingly painful and debilitating and exhausting. So, you know, just soft tissue is kind of insurance talk for I don’t believe what you’re saying. So why does the airbag matter? Well, it kind of gives the lie to the defense position that this wasn’t serious. So, you know, you may not have real serious injuries, but it tells everyone that you had a real serious crash. Now you may have, you know, walked away from his accident less bad than you thought.
But most people who have airbags deploy have, you know, substantial bruising. But then over time as the bruising and swelling goes away they still have some problems. So it’s a sign to the lawyers that the case is serious. It’s a sign to jurors or to people evaluating the value that this was a serious crash and there’s really no bones about it. No getting away from that. Ok. So it matters because it takes one of the primary defenses away from defense lawyers or insurance companies and the primary defense they have is that nobody believes you. You’re making this up. This is litigation. People exaggerate. Or, it was a preexisting condition, something like that. Ok. So but if you know your rear ended and slammed into someone or someone turns left in front of you, which is the most common airbag I see, you’re driving along on your way to work Tuesday morning at 8:40 a.m. doing the speed limit passing through an intersection, someone guesses that the lane is cleared across and they cross in front of you and boom, you crush your car, you crush their car and your airbags go off. So, you know, the past few times that’s happened in my experience with clients is that they’ve had a broken sternum or broken collarbone or some other damage. So look, it’s pretty simple. Taking away a defense is the same thing as making your case a lot stronger, because then what’s the insurance company on the other side left with? Nothing. You have airbag deployment, you have wrecked cars, you have someone with likely a serious injury with no prior.
You know, most people are walking around with, you know, sternum fractures. They’re walking around with back pain, maybe, but not sternum fractures. So, you know, look, that’s that’s the easy part of the equation. You know, the other thing I wanted to talk about was the impact of the COVID pandemic on how insurance companies evaluate cases. And I think it’s kind of amusing in some ways because pre-pandemic, you know, if you missed a month of treatment, you know, because you had child care issues or you had a new job or you just couldn’t get to your primary care or your physical therapy, the insurance company would make a huge deal out of that, and they’d say, Oh, there was a break off in care. You, you’re fully cured. And now you’re just, you know, going back to get care because your lawyer told you to. That was kind of the same line. That was the standard line we would hear. But now with like a six month delay, you know, I haven’t really seen much in the way of negotiation on these issues recently. But oh, pretty much every client who’s supposed to be going to PT couldn’t, and they’re now able to say, look, Gov. Wolf wouldn’t let me go. So now I don’t know what the insurance. Is it going to say I’m sure they’ll find something stupid to say is they usually do, but it’s kind of funny because like pretty much we just added six months of treatment, pain and suffering to every single one of my cases smaller or larger.
Well, we’re doing a home exercise. Of course I was. I do all my stretching. I do all this, and I had to suffer in pain for six months. Now, you know, totally legitimately. I’ve got a bunch of patients who are saying to me over the course of the pandemic, like, this is ridiculous. Like, I can’t get in to get pain medication. I can’t get in to get injections. I can’t get in to do PT, which was one thing helping me. So, you know, but for all those smaller cases, there’s really no way for insurance company to cross-examine someone who’s saying, I’m staying at home due to the pandemic. So it’s kind of funny. I just I’ll follow up once I once I, you know, hear more from the insurance companies about it, but I’m sure they’ll come up with something. I just can’t quite think off the top of my head what it is now. But you know, in some ways, while accidents were down because people weren’t driving as much and fewer people were getting hurt and, you know, they were just generally fewer crashes at the same time, you know, it may have increased indirectly the value of a lot of people’s cases. So we shall see. Anyway, that’s enough for today. This has been Ask Andy. I hold people accountable. This podcast is sponsored by my law firm, Neuwirth Law Office in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. We are in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Thanks. Have a great day.