When winning is the only option

Do I Need A Personal Injury Lawyer?


Hi, I’m John Ostroff. Thanks for visiting ostrofflaw.com. You’ve clicked on a question about why you need a personal injury lawyer. I hope I can answer that. It may be tempting to try to represent yourself, to try to help yourself without paying a portion of your recovery to a lawyer. Be careful. If you try to negotiate with the insurance company independently on your own. They’re gonna get information from you they’re not entitled to. They’re gonna get you to give statements that you may not wanna give. You’ve not been trough this. We deal with it every day.

You’ve been seriously hurt, you’re playing with fire if you try to deal with an insurance company who’s in the business of collecting premiums rather than paying benefits and paying coverages. Their interest, no matter how nice they may seem, isn’t in helping you. Once they dig into a position, they set what’s called a reserve. If they’re negotiating directly with you and they believe they’re gonna be able to settle the case with you without a lawyer, your reserves will be set lower. Surveys for years generations have shown that when someone’s injured and they hire a lawyer, they get multiples of what they get on their own. If you deal with the insurance company for too long, they’re gonna get entrenched in their position. And you’re not gonna be able to get them out of it. When you hire us at that point, we’ll file suit. Well you need to give them an excuse to change the value they’ve put on the case. They’ll up the reserves once they’re dealing with us and they’ll find reasons for why they did that. But really if we were in the case from the beginning, the reserves would’ve been set differently than if they think they’re gonna be able to deal with your directly.

Also very important, when we get hired early by a client if it’s a very serious crash, think about police with the crime scene. The way they lock it down for up to 48 hours. The reason is they’re preserving evidence. It’s very similar at a major crash. We get to the scene with engineers, with investigators, we track down witnesses, we get recording witness statements. I have won cases with statements I’ve gotten within days of a crash. There’s two instances in fact I can think of off the top of my head where we won a case primarily because of a statement I obtained within the first couple of days after the crash. One was a major truck crash that happened in a blizzard. One of the biggest crashes in our state’s history up near Clarion, Pennsylvania in Northwestern PA. Where a truck was leading a pack of vehicles in a blizzard in a white out and lost control and caused 70 trucks to be involved in a huge crash. I was able to get the driver that caused the crash to admit it in a recorded statement just days after the crash. Only a day or two after that, his employer shut him up. This is common. Insurance companies will tell their insured not to speak to any other lawyers. If we can get to them before they’re told to dummy up, we can get statements that win the case. Other times, after a crash when there’s a lot of emotion, we can get witnesses to be more involved than later on. And their facts are fresher in their mind. In another case, a catastrophic crash where our client ran out of gas on a highway. The truck driver rear ended him and you would think because he was blocking the right lane it was his fault, but in fact, we were able through a witness to prove that the demeanor of the truck driver was odd, that he didn’t seem normal. We were able to prove ultimately that he wasn’t of right mind, that he was taking methamphetamines. There was a hair sample, but it was not definitive. That, coupled with the witness statement, made it definitive. That witness we reached within three days of the crash. He made the case for us.

If we lose the opportunity to get to witnesses to get video, and video is one more thing you should know about. Most video that will capture a crash will be erased within seven to 21 days of the crash. So if it’s an ATM camera that’s nearby, if it’s a security camera in a house, if it’s a camera anywhere near the scene of the crash, that’s on a loop. It’s recorded on a loop. And within that time period, seven to 21 days, the loop will tape over whatever was on it at that time. We need to get there early, get ahold of that video. If the owner of that video won’t cooperate, we get right into court, get an emergency order and we’ll get it. So there’s so many reasons to consider hiring a lawyer and hiring your lawyer early so that they can take care of your case, they can take care of you, and they can preserve all the key evidence that will help us win for you. I hope this information has been helpful. Thanks.

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