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How to Protect Yourself from the Insurance Companies Video Recording You?

October 21st, 2020

By Omid Rejali, Esq.

Insurance companies will go to great lengths to distract juries from your injuries. Another trick that they have in their arsenal of tricks is to video record you during a variety of activities to show that you are not as hurt as you claim to be.

Although, this can be an effective way to try and distract from your injuries, there are ways to overcome it.

Be aware that during the pendency of your case, you can very well be under surveillance. Insurance companies hire their private investigators and these people will be sitting outside your home, outside of your work and also will be following you to grocery stores and the gym to show that you are able to do everything as a normally healthy person would.

Here are common places that I have found they usually do this:

  • At your house (here they are trying to video record you doing chores around the house such as gardening, washing the car. etc.)

  • At your place of work. Depending on the type of injury you are claiming they would be following you to work to see how you are using the body part that you are claiming injury to.

  • At the gym. They love this one, because it allows them to argue that there is nothing wrong with you if you are working out. (of course we know that is not the case an overwhelming majority of time, because even if we have been injured, we still need to workout).

  • During the time that you appear at your attorney's office for a deposition. Either the day before or the day of.

  • During the time that you are going to see the doctors the insurance companies have hired to minimize your claim.

The first thing is to be aware that this can happen. You also want to make sure you share any suspicious activity with your attorney so that he or she can obtain these videos in advance of your trial.

These are some of the examples I have seen where the insurance companies hired private investigators to be following you around. There is no way to stop them from doing this while you are out in the public. But it's good to be aware.

I hope this blog helps you.

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact my office at 619-887-4148, send us a text message to 619-485-6313, send me an email at omid@rejalilawfirm.com or leave us a message here and we will get back to you.

Born to get you justice.

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How the Insurance Company Uses Your Gap in Treatment As an Excuse to Minimize Your Claim

October 13th, 2020

By Omid Rejali, Esq.

Insurance companies are looking for anything to belittle your injuries and minimize the value of your claim. The gap in treatment excuse is one of their favorites. Make no mistake, they are always trying to use human biases and prejudices in their favor to further their objective and, it is your job to explain to them why your gap in treatment should not have any bearing on the gravity of your injuries.

Here's are three ways the insurance companies like to take your gap in treatment out of context

1) Since you did not see a doctor right away your injury must not be that serious

This is one of their favorites. The truth is, when you get into an accident you are usually in shock. Even if you have had a serious injury you may not feel it right away. You may also not have insurance and, would not want to take an ambulance to the hospital for the fear of the costs that it will have. I have had many of my clients with serious injuries-requiring future surgery, that did not go to the emergency room with an ambulance.

The best way to overcome such an argument is to have your doctor write a report explaining your injury and, the evolution of that injury. Many injuries do not manifest themselves right away, and others could be masked by other more serious injuries. Masking is the process of which our brain masks one injury in favor of another more significant injury. It is only when the more significant injury has stabilized when our brain begins to unmask the other injury that has been there all along.

2) That you did not complain about the injury close to the accident

Another favorite of the insurance companies is because you did not complain about a specific injury close in time to the time of the accident, then it must not be related to the accident. This goes hand in hand to the masking of injuries I was discussing. There are also many injuries that become more difficult to diagnose when your body is suffering from a more serious injury. For example, in a recent case, a client of mine had a significant injury to his spine. At the same time, he had a dip in his walk. For almost two years the doctors were treating his spine and the entire time thought that the dipping was related to his lower spine, more specifically his sciatica. It was not until the spine was stabilized and the he was still dipping that they realized, he in fact had a torn ligament in his hip.

3) Because you have not seen a doctor for years by the time of your trial, you must not need anymore future care

This cannot be farther from the truth. Only because the doctors have deemed that you have reached you maximum medical improvement (MMI), does not mean that you will not require any future care. This of course depends on the type of doctors you have been seeing. For example, you may have been seeing an orthopedic surgeon for your neck injury and, the doctor has treated you for approximately two years with different modalities. And has also suggested that you would not be a good candidate for a surgery. However, that does not mean that the pain is just going to go away and you will not require any future care for that injury. Other care, in the form of pain management treatment would certainly be something that could be helpful to you.

Don't let the insurance companies fool you with their illogical arguments.

Hope this information helps you.

If you have any further questions, feel free to call my office 24/7 at 619-887-4148 send me an email at omid@rejalilawfirm.com; send us a text message at 619-485-6313 or reach us here and we will get back to you.

Born to get you justice.

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How The Insurance Company Uses a Pre-existing Condition to Mislead You into Accepting Less Money and How to Overcome It

October 6th, 2020

By Omid Rejali, Esq.

The insurance companies have no shame. They will use any means necessary to pay you the least amount of money possible for your injury. One of the things I hear them saying over and over is: "your clients condition was pre-existing." Well, let me tell you, even if your condition is pre-existing, the law allows you to recover damages for the harm the insurance companies insured caused you if the condition become worse as a result of the accident.

The Law

The California Jury Instructions (CACI), which are the instructions that the court reads to a jury in a trial defines aggravation of a preexisting condition or disability as:

Plaintiff is not entitled to damages for any physical or emotional condition that he/she had before defendant's conduct occurred. However, if plaintiff had a physical or emotional condition that was made worse by defendant's wrongful conduct, you must award damages that will reasonably and fairly compensate him/her for the effect on that condition.

As you can see, the pre-existing condition defense is just another trick the insurance companies try to use against you to try and not pay you the value of what your damages are worth.

How to Overcome This Argument

Although this can come about in many contexts, most commonly they arise when you have had a prior neck or back problem. One way to overcome this argument is to produce evidence, by way of your prior medical records to show that your condition was stable prior to the injury producing event taking place.

Another way you can overcome this argument is by showing even if the condition was not stable, how the injury causing event made the matter worse. For example, if you were suffering from neck pain because of a disk herniation but the condition was stable and, as a result of the collision now you are required to do surgery, that would show that the injury producing event made the injury worse.

Bottom Line

Insurance companies are in the business of making money and they will go to great lengths of trying to pay you as little money as possible. Don't let them fool you by making these types of arguments. Remember the law is on your side.

I hope this information helps you. If you would like to speak to me, you can call my office at 619-887-4148; send me a text at 619-485-6313; leave us a message here or email me at omid@rejalilawfirm.com.

Born to get you justice.

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How the Insurance Companies Belittle Your Neck Injury and How to Overcome Their Lies

October 3rd, 2020

By Omid Rejali, Esq.

The insurance companies and their attorneys love to come up with these wild ideas of how you are not injured. They will go to great lengths including changing the entire narrative of your injury. They change the narrative of the injury by trying to place it in a made up category.

One such "made up" category is the often used "soft tissue" injury. In my experience, this is most wildly used "made up" category by the insurance companies, their attorneys and their fake doctors to belittle your injury.

It usually comes up in the context of when your injury is not seen to the naked eye and so it gives them more ammunition to exploit it. Or if it is, they try to attribute it to anything else, but to the injury producing incident. Almost every-time in cases like this, the insurance company's "soft tissue" made up story equates to your injury being only a result of a "sprain/strain." You always have to be weary when they try to lump terimonologies together as they do here. There are reasons why we have two separate words to define such a thing. A strain and a sprain are completely two different things. A neck sprain involves the ligaments in your neck where a neck strain involves muscles and tendons. As anything else in our body, everything has its own function and, lumping the injuries together is misleading.

How to overcome this "Falsehood"

The first thing that you should be looking at in a situation like this is the x-ray that was taken after the crash. Generally, the x-rays will show that you have likely lost the curviture in your neck-called the "lordosis" of your neck. This is what generally generates pain.

There could be other pain generators as well. You should work closely with your primary care doctor and, certainly request to be seen by an orthopedic specialist who can further assess your injury. Often times, there could be other pain generators associated with your neck-such as a disk herniation or a facet injury.

Bottom line

The insurance companies, their attorneys and their "fake" doctors-and to be clear I call them "fake" because they are hired by the insurance companies year-round, paid millions of dollars a year; to come into court and give their "opinion" about your injuries. There is no doctor-patient relationship between you and them and, they can mislead and even go as far as lying in court and getting away with it; have one objective in mind and that is to belittle your injury; help the insurance company pay as less money as possible and, play on the bias of personal injury lawsuits and lawyers.

Don't let them bully you into their nonsense rhetoric.

I hope this information helps you.

If you have any other quesitons and would like to discuss your case further with me, feel free to contact my office by dialing 619-887-4148; sending us a text at 619-485-6313; or sending me a direct email at: omid@rejalilawfirm.com

Born to get you justice.

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Don't Let these Insurance Company Traps Prevent You From Getting Full Justice for Your Injury Claim

September 30th, 2020

By Omid Rejali, Esq.

The insurance companies and their attorneys are masters of their craft. The attorneys have been hired to do one thing-save the insurance company money at all cost.

Here are three ways the insurance companies and their attorneys try to not pay you what the real value of your case is worth and, it begins from the moment you make your claim.

1) Deny

Depending on the facts of your case, the insurance company in consultation with their attorneys will determine if there is any chance at trying to create a defense. If so, your claim will be denied.

All they need to create a defense, is a reasonable belief that they can manipulate the facts and use bias to try to create an entirely new story about how the events took place. This can include speaking to their client and, believe it or not telling them to lie to make the narrative "fit" into their defense.

2) Delay

Once they have denied your claim, the case falls into the second and more frustrating part of the process-the delay game.

On average pre-covid lawsuits would take between 18 to 24 months to get resolved. During this time, the insurance company attorneys will try to dig up anything to cast doubt on your credibility and picture you as a liar, a cheat and a fraud. They resort to this because they know through studies there are many jurors that are weary of personal injury lawyers and, personal injury lawsuits.

Another reason, why they do this is to try to tire you out so you will settle your case for cheap. This is where having a personal injury lawyer that is willing to go the distance and knows the full value of your case, including trial value is extremely important.

3) Distract

Once the insurance company representatives realize that you are not backing down and, the case is likely headed towards trial, they start hiring their biased experts including doctors, which they pay millions of dollars, to come into court and, using the facts and narrative that the insurance company defense lawyers created try and fool the members of our jury system.

Don't let these insurance company traps prevent you from getting the money that you need and deserve for the injuries caused by the hands of someone else.

I hope this blog helps you.

If you would like to discuss your case, feel free to contact my office at 619-887-4148 or send me an email at omid@rejalilawfirm.com; or send us a text at 619-485-6313 or reach us here and we will get back to you.

Born to get you justice.

Settlement vs. Trial value of Your San Diego Car Accident Claim

September 24th, 2020

By Omid Rejali, Esq.

I get many people asking me how much can I get if I go to trial? The answer is: I can't exactly tell you how much you will be able to get, because ethically we as attorneys cannot guarantee or predict an outcome.

So, the question then becomes whether it would be in your best interest to move forward to trial versus settling for a sum certain that an insurance company is offering you.

This question requires an analysis of many variables. Lets take a look.

1) How much money is the insurance company offering you?

For sake of discussion lets assume that the insurance company is offering you $15,000 to settle your case.

2) What are your injuries?

Lets assume that you had a neck injury in your accident.

3) How old are you?

35

4) Do you require any future care?

Yes. My doctor has told me that I will require future pain management for my neck and, if that does not help I may ultimately require a surgery.

5) Where in the claims process is your case?

What I mean by this is whether a lawsuit has been filed or not.

6) Is the injury still impacting your life?

Lets assume yes.

If you answer the questions above the way I have answered them, the answer is you should not accept the insurance companies $15,000 settlement offer. There is one caveat to this answer and that is, what is the total amount of insurance policy that the person who caused the accident has? If they only have $15,000, a separate analysis is required. Mainly, whether the insurance company representatives accepted your offer to settle for $15,000 when that demand was made. If the answer is: Yes, then you do not have any further recourse. If the answer is no: You may proceed to obtaining money beyond the policy limits. I have included the article where I talk about this issue below if you are interested.

I am a big proponent of trials. That is because I strongly believe that only 12 people from the community can understand and put a value on your injury and pain, not insurance companies that are only looking at their bottom line.

That being said however, there are some considerations that also need to take place when deciding whether you settle your case or proceed to trial. A big consideration is costs. When you choose to go to trial the costs will increase substantially. And so, what you need to look at is whether the benefits (i.e. the ultimate outcome) will outweigh the costs.

If you do win your case certain ordinary costs are recoverable and, if you or your attorney had sent a specific statutory offer (known as a 998 offer to compromise) you may be entitled to your expert fee costs, which are the bulk of the costs in any trial.

Ultimately, there are many questions that take place before trying a case. That being said however, it never hurts to get a second opinion about your case if you have a feeling that your injury is worth more money.

I have tried many cases where the insurance company offers were very low and a jury awarded the client much more money than the insurance companies offered. Each case needs to be assessed individually.

If you want to discuss your case feel free to reach out to my office at 619-887-4148; send me a direct email at omid@rejalilawfirm.com; reach us via text at 619-485-6313; or write to us here and, we will get back to you.

Don't let the insurance company bully you into a settlement.

Born to get you justice.

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How the Coronavirus Has Limited Your Right to Justice

September 18th, 2020

By Omid Rejali, Esq.

It has now been over 6 months since the coronavirus pandemic hit our nation and swept all of us from the life we once knew. But how is it impacting your right to petition the courts for your grievances and obtain justice? How has it impacted your right to a jury trial? Who is the virus benefitting? and why at least have we here in San Diego been so slow to move our cases forward?

These are all questions that normally as a trial lawyer I have been thinking about for the past six months.

Right to Jury Trial

The right to a jury trial comes from the 7th Amendment of the constitution. The founders knew that the government and corporations do have a lot of power and wanted to make sure that there was a forum where the common man would be able to be seen as equal to them and be judged by the members of his or her peers. The coronavirus however has taken all of that away from us.

This is an extremely dangerous state to be in and the longer we remain here without putting mechanisms in place to move forward, the more our justice system will be eroding and the more the insurance companies, and the greedy corporations are winning and becoming richer and richer, which also in turn is widening the income inequality gap.

The Coronavirus

I am not denying in any way that the coronavirus is a global pandemic and we certainly need to be cautious and take measures to prevent its spread. But, shutting down our courthouses for the past six months, and cancelling jury trials until most likely late 2021, was not and is not the proper way of going about it.

Recently I have also been hearing the idea of a zoom jury trial being thrown around. I cannot imagine having zoom jury trials. The entire idea of having a trial is so we can be able to look witnesses in the eye and get a feel of whether they are telling the truth. I find it hard to believe that the same feeling will be able to be conveyed through a video camera.

Proposed Solution

To prevent the spread of the virus and balance the right to a civil jury trial, our courts can and should immediately begin summoning jurors. Understanding that some jurors may not feel comfortable serving, the court should give them an option to state as such on their summons and, return the summons; or call into the courthouse and notify the clerk; or create an online system where jurors may state their willingness or unwillingness to serve as a juror.

The jurors that are willing to serve can then come to court and be spread in different courtrooms and in the jury lounge and, be called up to each respective court room where a trial is to take place.

Bottom Line

By preventing you from exercising your right to jury trial the courts and the insurance companies and corporations are the one's benefitting. It is bothersome to me that our courts have not been able to move quickly enough to put precautions in place to move our trials forward. There are talks that in San Diego County we may not see jury trials for another year and, that is certainly not fair to all of those people who had been waiting for years to have their matters heard.

Justice delayed is justice denied and, we as a people can and should do better.

How to Get Money Beyond the Defendant's Policy Limits in Your Car Accident Case?

September 9th, 2020

By Omid Rejali, Esq.

Insurance companies are greedy and have only one objective in mind when it comes time to pay for your injuries-pay as little as possible.

The Problem

Here's a common scenario I see all the time. A potential client has devastating injuries, but unfortunately the defendant's (person causing the car accident or injury) only has a minimum policy-which in California for car insurance is currently at $15,000.

The Solution

Here's what we do to maximize your outcome in cases like this. If you are in such a predicament it is best to try and represent yourself in the beginning. Here's a sample of what you can write to the insurance company and send a copy to the defendant driver to give them an opportunity to pay you their policy limits (i.e. $15,000).

Dear Driver;

I am writing you about the collision that happened between us on (Date). Since then, my life has not been the same.

I am hurt. My doctors have told me that I (describe the nature of your injury) . My (body part) has been hurting since the date of the collision and I have done everything to be able to get better. But it seems like a surgery is inevitable.

I also have not been doing well mentally and emotionally. From the date of the collision I have been in a lot of pain and have been unable to do a lot of the things I used to be able to do before the accident.

I have attached all of my medical records and medical bills all of which were sent to the insurance company here for your review.

The reason why I am writing you is because I am not a litigious person and do not want to have to file a lawsuit against you. However, I have been trying to resolve my claim with your insurance company, specifically (name of adjuster) , which may be reached by phone at ___________ for two years with no luck.  

I would have hoped to be better by now, but I am not. I am not a sue-happy person. As a long-time insurance policyholder, I do know that insurance policy limits often limit what a person can recover when negligently injured and damaged by another, unless the injured person decides to pursue the case beyond the limits of available insurance coverage.

I am not, by nature, the type of person who would ask for more than what the policy limits are. And in this case am asking for ($ full amount of policy limits) to cover my medical care and pain and suffering. This number is well within your policy limits of ($amount of policy limit). Because of that, the personal assets and wealth of the person who hurt me aren’t things I want to think about or try to pursue.

I know that you had purchased more than enough insurance coverage to cover all of my injuries. This is why I am writing this letter. I just want all of this to be done and over with.

Therefore, I am willing, right now, without having to file a lawsuit, to settle everything and sign a release, in exchange for payment ($ amount of policy limit).

I will only be willing to do this between now and (expiration date of offer). This is because your insurance company has had since (Date of Collision) to resolve my claim and, I have until (Date you have to file your lawsuit-in California 2 years from the date of collision) to file a lawsuit if need be, which I am hoping to avoid. After (expiration date of offer), I will not limit the compensation I am entitled to under the law to what the insurance policy limits might be.

I am enclosing the medical records that document all of my treatment so far, with every single medical provider. You have the photos of the vehicles available to you, and you know you were at fault for this collision, which caused me to suffer damages.

It has been close to two years, and I am still in bad pain. I have had to see multiple providers and have missed time from work. My doctors have said that I certainly will require surgery for my (body part). I am (age) years old, and that is scary. You have sufficient coverage to pay for everything that I have gone through and will continue to go through. Until (date offer expires), if the final offer is accepted everything can be done and over with, within your policy limits. I will then live with whatever medical treatment lies ahead and whatever residual problems I am left with after I go through rehabilitation, and surgery, to get as well as I possibly can.

 Respectfully yours,

(Your Name)

(Your Address)

Importance of the Letter

What the letter will do is it will set the insurance company up for you to be able to get more money should they choose not to pay the policy limits for your injuries, especially since they had all of the required information to make an informed decision on the value of the claim.

Once they chose not to pay you fair value for your injuries, there is ample case law that would allow you to recover above and beyond their policy limit.

Don't let the insurance companies belittle your injuries. It is not a daily or common occurrence where you get injured, and no one has a right to belittle your injuries and not pay full value for the life that was taken away from your through someone else's bad act.

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope this blog helps you. I will certainly write more about this topic because it is a passion of mine to make sure that the insurance companies treat my clients, their families and their injuries fairly.

If you want to discuss your case further feel free to call my office at 619-887-4148, or send us a text at 619-485-6313, leave us a message here and we will contact you, or send me an email directly at omid@rejalilawfirm.com.

Born to get you justice.

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Can a trial attorney get you more money for your San Diego injury Claim?

September 3rd, 2020

By Omid Rejali, Esq.

The short answer is: probably yes.

Generally speaking trial attorneys are able to get you a higher settlement and know what the real value of cases are.

I say "real" value because there is a distinction between "insurance company" value, which looks at its interests and paying you as less money as possible versus jury value, which looks at you as their equivalent and based on the evidence will follow the law to provide you with what is just and fair.

A trial lawyer can also add value to your case because many attorneys do not try cases and insurance companies know that, and because of that offer them less money. As a trial attorney I generally don't get involved in the case until the case is very close to trial. Many times what also happens is the insurance company may have been playing games and low balling you and your attorney and it is not until the trial attorney steps in, when they choose to increase their offers.

If this has happened to you, there are ways to also even get you more money above and beyond what the insurance companies policy limits are (I will talk about this in further detail in a later blog). But suffice it to say, that the insurance companies don't have a right to belittle you, your injuries and throw you low ball offers in the hopes that they will tire you out in the process and wait till the last minute to provide you with everything they have. That conduct amounts to bad faith claim handling and can open the door to further liability on their part.

Trial attorneys are very familiar with these tactics and care deeply about their clients, the cause of justice, and holding the wrongdoers accountable. Trial lawyers strongly believe that they have been called to make the world a better and more just place and know that the only place that can be put on display is in a courtroom in front of 12 people of your peers.

If you are considering settling your case and you have already been dragged through the case for 2 or 3 years and are close to your trial date, I highly recommend that you speak with a trial attorney because they may be able to get you more money.

I hope this blog is helpful to you. If you have any questions please call my office at 619-887-4148, send me a text at 619-485-6313 or email me directly at omid@rejalilawfirm.com

Born to get you justice.

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What is a Trial Lawyer?

What is a trial lawyer?

August 28th, 2020

By Omid Rejali, Esq.

A trial attorney is an attorney that takes your case to trial if it is required to. Many lawyers do not practice in the area of trial law. Specifically, in the personal injury arena in San Diego there are a handful of attorneys that practice in this area. The greater majority do not and it is important for you to know the difference between them.

Trial attorneys are similar to surgeon's. They become needed when the parties have exhausted all other options, such as mediation to resolve their dispute. At that point, they become an integral part of your case, because they will guide you, your family, other witnesses and the team of experts in court to get you justice.

Trial attorneys believe in true justice and not compromises. If the insurance company is not giving you a fair settlement, it behooves you to at least consult with a trial attorney to get a re-evaluation of what your case may be worth. You could be missing on a substantial amount of money.

Don't just settle your case because the insurance company is offering you a certain amount of money, and your attorney thinks that amount is fair. Unless your attorney has tried cases it is difficult for him/her to assess the true value of your case.

I hope this blog helps you. If you have any other questions, feel free to call my office at 619-887-4148 or text me at 619-485-6313 or send a direct email to: omid@rejalilawfirm.com

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