Be a Safe Driver This Holiday Weekend!

SAFE DRIVING REMINDER
by Attorney Mark Wolfe

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association there are over 6 million vehicle crashes per year in the United States. Those crashes will result in 3 million injuries and almost 37,000 deaths. Driving is dangerous. The highways are even more dangerous during holidays.

The Memorial Day weekend is considered one of the most dangerous for vehicle crashes. That’s because so many people are on the road traveling for the long holiday weekend. According to AAA more than 41.5 million Americans took to the roads over Memorial Day weekend in 2018. If you are going to be traveling this holiday weekend commit to being a safer driver before you start your journey. No texting and driving, limit distractions while driving, use your turn signals and cooperate with other drivers AND no driving under the influence! Be safe!

Here’s a quick reminder from our Guide for Auto-Crash Insurance Claims on what to do at the accident scene if you are involved in a crash.

WHAT TO DO AT THE ACCIDENT SCENE
Having a motor vehicle crash is never a planned event. Accident scenes can be chaotic with high levels of anxiety and worry. Yet being prepared and knowing what to do at the scene can make a big difference in how easy or difficult your insurance claim will be. Here are some important tips and reminders:

Stay calm. Getting upset only makes a bad situation more difficult. Maintain your composure even if the other person doesn’t.

Check for injuries and call the police. Even if the accident is minor call the police. Notify them of injuries so that they can call for medical assistance.

Don’t move an injured person – unless they are in immediate danger.

Don’t leave the scene of an accident. Even if the other driver says its okay. They could later file for injuries or you could be accused of a hit and run. Wait for the police to arrive and let them tell you when you can leave.

Try to protect the scene of the accident. Don’t move your vehicle unless it impedes traffic or it’s necessary to prevent further damage. (Have a kit with emergency cones, triangles or flares.)

Don’t blame the accident on anyone — including yourself. Even if you might be at fault, don’t say so to anyone. Give your full description of the accident only to the police officer.

Exchange information with the other driver. This includes:
-the license plate number, make, model & color of other vehicles
-names & addresses of all drivers/passengers
-drivers license numbers (note if driver is different from vehicle owner.)
-insurance company information.
-name and address of witnesses.

Use your smart phone. Capture the following if possible:
– take photos of the scene including any skid marks or gouge marks
– take photos of the damaged vehicles including, if possible, any interior damage
– take a video or audio statement from witnesses, get their contact information
– take photographs or video of any related traffic lights to document their function

Ask the officer how you can get a copy of the police report. Get the accident report as soon as possible and review it for accuracy

If you would like a free consultation with any of our BRW lawyers about your potential insurance claim call our office 251 433-7766 or send an email us at mark@brwlawyers.com or send a text to 251 533-9548 (cell). You can also call Mark Wolfe  directly at 251 410-7761.

REQUIRED DISCLAIMERS: Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2: No representation is made that the quality of legal service to be performed is greater than the services provided by other lawyers. The Mississippi Supreme Court advises that a decision on legal services is important and should not be based solely on advertisements. Free background information is available upon request to a Mississippi attorney. The listing of any area of practice by a Mississippi attorney does not indicate any certification of expertise therein. See Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(d), Rule 7.4(a), Rule 7.6(a) (1997). Statement in compliance with Florida Bar Advertising Rules: “The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. [Florida Rule 4-7.2(d)]. General Disclaimer: This information is posted for general information purposes to help those interested parties or persons with potential civil claims better understand their rights and potential causes of action. If readers are currently represented by an attorney on the subject matter of this post then they are encouraged to continue with said representation. No attorney-client relationship is established by this post.

When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
by Mark Wolfe , Personal Injury Attorney

When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer? This is probably the most common question personal injury victims ask when they’ve been hurt by someone else. To really provide a meaningful answer, there are two things you should keep in mind. First, the more serious the injury the more benefit you will get from hiring the right personal injury attorney for your claim or case and second, there’s a difference between talking or consulting with a lawyer and hiring a lawyer. We’ll review these two topics in reverse order.

Many victims of a personal injury are reluctant or hesitant about hiring a personal injury lawyer right after their injury. Some victims think they can handle the claim themselves without having to share a portion of the recovery with a lawyer. Some victims believe hiring a lawyer will make them appear greedy or opportunistic. While these are valid concerns, personal injury victims need to understand the difference between “hiring” a lawyer and simply “consulting” with a lawyer. Not every victim of a personal injury will need or benefit from hiring a personal injury lawyer; HOWEVER, every personal injury victims should at least know their rights and have some basic legal information about their claim. The sooner a personal injury victim has that information, the better informed he or she will be about all the critical decisions related to the insurance claim. Almost every personal injury attorney in America offers “free consultations.” Many personal injury lawyers even offer free downloadable guides for automobile accident injury claims or on the job injury claims. If you’ve been the victim of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Most legitimate personal injury lawyers will also explain whether or not you’ll need to hire a personal injury lawyer for your claim and the benefit of hiring the right personal injury attorney for your claim.

As stated above, the more serious the injury the more you will benefit from hiring the right personal injury lawyer. But why? The simple truth is insurance claims are complex. Even non-catastrophic injury claims are subject to the insurance company’s rigorous claims processing and analysis protocol. The insurance company’s goal on EVERY claim is to pay as little as possible. The insurance industry is a profit driven industry and not a charity. The complex procedures they use in analyzing and evaluating a personal injury claim are designed for the simple purpose of paying as little as they can on a claim and making sure all claims are paid at an equally low rate. It’s not the insurance company’s job to help you get the maximum benefits that are owed to you! Also, almost all personal injury claims involve a secondary claim for repayment from the victim’s proceeds. Hospital liens, Medicare/medicaid lines and health insurance subrogation claims all can impact a personal injury victim’s financial recovery from a claim. A qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer can help make sure all appropriate value drivers for your claim are identified and presented to the insurance company and he or she can favorably resolve any secondary issues related to your claim. Even in smaller personal injury claims, an experienced and qualified personal injury attorney can significantly and legitimately increase the benefits you recover.

When you consult with an experienced and qualified personal injury attorney he or she will be able to give you a meaningful opinion, based upon the factors discussed above, as to when it would be beneficial for you to hire a personal injury lawyer to present and prosecute your claim with the insurance company.

If you would like a free consultation with Mark about your potential insurance claim, please email him at mark@brwlawyers.com or send a text to 251 533-9548 (cell). You can also call Mark directly at 251 410-7761.

REQUIRED DISCLAIMERS: Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2: No representation is made that the quality of legal service to be performed is greater than the services provided by other lawyers. The Mississippi Supreme Court advises that a decision on legal services is important and should not be based solely on advertisements. Free background information is available upon request to a Mississippi attorney. The listing of any area of practice by a Mississippi attorney does not indicate any certification of expertise therein. See Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(d), Rule 7.4(a), Rule 7.6(a) (1997). Statement in compliance with Florida Bar Advertising Rules: “The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. [Florida Rule 4-7.2(d)]. General Disclaimer: This information is posted for general information purposes to help those interested parties or persons with potential civil claims better understand their rights and potential causes of action. If readers are currently represented by an attorney on the subject matter of this post then they are encouraged to continue with said representation. No attorney-client relationship is established by this post.

What is Business Interruption Insurance? Does it Apply to the Covid 19 Shutdowns?

Mark Wolfe, Attorney at Law
mark@brwlawyers.com

Business Interruption Insurance or also known as Business Income Insurance is an added coverage found in a business property insurance policy or as part of a comprehensive business operations policy.  Business interruption insurance can compensate businesses for lost revenue, rent and lease payments, mortgage payments, other loan payments and taxes. Employee payroll may be covered, along with costs of having to relocate temporarily or permanently to new premises.

The key is that this coverage is derivative from a covered loss under the insurance policy and it is an “add-on” coverage that is paid for in the premium package. It is generally not a stand alone coverage. The business must suffer a covered peril that results in an interruption to normal operations so as to trigger this coverage, if it is part of the policy.

A similar example of a derivative coverage that can be “added on”can be found in your automobile policy. As part of the collision coverage or comprehensive coverage you may have added “rental car insurance” for an additional premium cost. If your car is damaged in an accident (collision coverage) or burns up in a fire (comprehensive coverage), your rental car insurance will pay for a rental car until the property loss is adjusted and paid.  If your car becomes un-driveable for some other reason not covered under the auto-insurance policy you can not use your car rental coverage.

This is also the way business interruption insurance works. If it has been added-on to the policy, the loss must be derived from a covered loss. Herein is the problem for many business owners suffering under the Covid 19 business shut down, the loss is most likely not from a covered peril. In fact, some business insurance policies have specific exclusions for damages related to or caused by a communicable diseases or pandemic.

However, if you are not sure whether or not you have this type of coverage or even if you don’t think you have a viable claim, you may want to consult with an experienced insurance claim lawyer. Business insurance policies are complex and they vary greatly from business to business. They can often be vague or ambiguous in definitions of covered losses and benefits. These uncertainties under a policy may work to the claimants advantage so as to allow a business interruption claim.

If you would like a free consultation with Mark about your potential insurance claim, please email him at mark@brwlawyers.com or send a text to 251 533-9548 (cell). You can also call Mark directly at 251 410-7761.

REQUIRED DISCLAIMERS: Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2: No representation is made that the quality of legal service to be performed is greater than the services provided by other lawyers. The Mississippi Supreme Court advises that a decision on legal services is important and should not be based solely on advertisements. Free background information is available upon request to a Mississippi attorney. The listing of any area of practice by a Mississippi attorney does not indicate any certification of expertise therein. See Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(d), Rule 7.4(a), Rule 7.6(a) (1997). Statement in compliance with Florida Bar Advertising Rules: “The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. [Florida Rule 4-7.2(d)]. General Disclaimer: This information is posted for general information purposes to help those interested parties or persons with potential civil claims better understand their rights and potential causes of action. If readers are currently represented by an attorney on the subject matter of this post then they are encouraged to continue with said representation. No attorney-client relationship is established by this post.

LawChat247.com

Boteler Richardson Wolfe – Injury Lawyers are sponsors for LawChat247.com. The web site allows people to submit legal questions and get a response from an attorney in 24 hours. It’s free and 100% confidential. Then every Tuesday night at 7:00 on FM Talk 106.5 , BRW attorney Mark Wolfe and co-host Marian Boteler will review and discuss some of the most interesting questions and topics received through the web site. Lawchat247.com You can listen live each Tuesday night through the FM Talk 106.5 web site.

 

 

Zantac Cancer Claim Information

ZANTAC CANCER CLAIM INFORMATION.

On September 13, 2019 the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public warning concerning Zantac and other similar ranitidine medicines (generics). The FDA reports that some ranitidine medicines, including some products commonly known as the brand-name drug Zantac®, contain a nitrosamine impurity called nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).

NDMA (the contaminant identified in Zantac) is classified as a probable human carcinogen which means that it is more likely than not to cause cancer in humans. Recent studies have raised the specter of an association between NDMA and liver toxicity which can lead to the development of liver cancer and other related conditions brought about by an NDMA-induced “insult” to the liver.

Cancers that are linked to NDMA exposure include: Liver Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Intestinal Cancer, Colon Cancer, Stomach Cancer and Kidney Cancer (Renal Cancer). Other possibly related cancers include: Lung Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Testicular Cancer and Esophageal Cancer. 

BRW Injury Lawyers are investigating these claims. If you or a loved one developed any of the above cancers after using Zantac (or other ranitidine medication) for a few months, you may have a claim. For more information call BRW Injury Lawyers at 251 433-7766 or email BRW: web_inquiry@brwlawyers.com    Please share this important information.

ZANTAC is a registered trademark of Warner-Lambert Company, used under license. In the United States, 75- and 150-mg tablets are available OTC. Zantac OTC is manufactured by Sanofi Consumer Healthcare.

REQUIRED DISCLAIMERS: Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2: No representation is made that the quality of legal service to be performed is greater than the services provided by other lawyers. The Mississippi Supreme Court advises that a decision on legal services is important and should not be based solely on advertisements. Free background information is available upon request to a Mississippi attorney. The listing of any area of practice by a Mississippi attorney does not indicate any certification of expertise therein. See Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(d), Rule 7.4(a), Rule 7.6(a) (1997). Statement in compliance with Florida Bar Advertising Rules: “The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. [Florida Rule 4-7.2(d)]. General Disclaimer: This information is posted for general information purposes to help those interested parties or persons with potential civil claims better understand their rights and potential causes of action. If readers are currently represented by an attorney on the subject matter of this post then they are encouraged to continue with said representation. No attorney-client relationship is established by this post.

Reasons Life Insurance Claims Are Denied & What to do Next.

There are several reasons why life insurance claims can be denied. Knowing those reasons and how to appeal or challenge a denial of benefits can be critical for families in their time of need. The following information from Life Insurance Claims Specialist and may be helpful to you or a family member. Mark’s Number One Rule: Do Not Try to Handle the Denial of Benefits on Your Own! (See the last section of this article for important information.) For a free consultation please email your life insurance benefit questions to Mark Wolfe at mark@bfw-lawyers.com. Please put Life Insurance Question in the subject line. Or call him at 251 410-7761.

_____________________

I have been helping families and clients for many years with legal issues related to life insurance benefits. Most specifically with contesting or challenging the denial of life insurance benefits. Some times a lawsuit is required to secure benefits and some times the benefits can be recovered through a pre-litigation request for reconsideration. If you’ve been the victim of denied life insurance benefits, I think the most important thing is for you to fully understand why the benefits were denied and how you may contest or challenge the denial of benefits. What follows are the most common reasons life insurance benefits are denied with some general legal information about the basis for the denial.

1. DEATH OCCURS DURING THE CONTESTABILITY PERIOD.

Most life insurance policies have a contestability period. This is a period of time, usually two years, after the policy has been issued where the insurance company can take a look back at the application and conduct an investigation to make sure all “relevant and material information” was disclosed on the application. This is sometimes called “retroactive underwriting” and is most likely to apply to policies with no formal medical examination before the policy is issued.  An example of this type of denial would be if the applicant says his or her weight is 300 lbs but then the insurance company finds medical records right before the application was submitted showing the applicant’s weight to have been 325 lbs. If this weight is higher than the underwriting guidelines for the policy, then the company may deny the claim and refund the premiums claiming had they known of the higher weight, they would not have issued the policy. Even a minor undisclosed medical condition on the application such as high blood pressure can be deemed a material misrepresentation and be grounds for denial. In general, the undisclosed information does not have to be a contributing factor to the death to support a denial of benefits and it does not have to have been an intentional misrepresentation. Simply forgetting to disclose material information or even an inadvertent mistake can be enough to support the denial of benefits.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Insurance rules and regulations vary greatly from State to State and some life insurance policies are even governed or controlled by Federal law. The legal definition as to what is or is not “relevant and material information” on an application can be different from State to State. Before accepting the denial of benefits and cashing the premium refund check, consider consulting with a Life Insurance Claims Specialist or an experienced Attorney to have the denial of benefits reviewed. Also, even if you have cashed he premium refund check, some State laws will still allow you to contest the denial of benefits.

2. DECEIT OR FRAUD.

This covers a number of different situations and may extend past the contestability period. This basis for denial covers more than an inadvertent mistake on the application such as mistakenly putting the wrong weight. It would apply to situations were the intent of the applicant was intentionally misleading or deceitful. For example a person is diagnosed with terminal cancer and then buys a life insurance policy and intentionally and knowingly does not disclose the cancer diagnosis.  Even if the death occurs outside the contestability period, the insurance company may deny the benefits claiming the policy was secured by the fraudulent suppression of material information. This can also apply to beneficiaries if they secure a policy for a loved one under fraudulent or unscrupulous circumstances.

3. THE CAUSE OF DEATH IS EXCLUDED OR
NOT COVERED UNDER THE POLICY.

Most life insurance policies exclude coverage for suicide. However, some policies only exclude suicide during the contestability period. Some life insurance policies exclude benefits if the death occurs “related to or while engaged in a dangerous activity” such as scuba diving or sky diving. Accidental Death (AD) benefit policies often exclude coverage if the accidental death is contributed to by any number of conditions or even pre-existing conditions.  A very common exclusion under AD policies or clauses is if the decedent was intoxicated at the time of death.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Exclusion clauses in life insurance policies can be legally and/or medically difficult for the insurance company to prove; however, they will often send the beneficiaries a denial of benefit letter referencing complex medical and/or legal terminology. Even if you think the exclusion sounds legitimate, you should have the denial of benefits reviewed by a Life Insurance Claims Specialist or an experienced Attorney.

4. PREMIUM PAYMENTS WERE NOT MADE.

When premium payments are not made in accordance with the terms of the policy the policy lapses and no benefits are owed. Some policies have a short grace period for late payments. Some policies have reinstatement provisions that allow for past due premiums to be paid and the policy to be “reinstated;” however, the reinstatement provisions often require a new reinstatement application and establish a new contestability period. Some times the “reinstated” policy is basically a new policy with new exclusions and conditions. One of the most common causes for non-payment of premiums is when an automatic payment withdraw is not increased periodically as premiums increase. For example, person takes out a Universal or Whole Life policy that builds cash value over time. The policy has a 10 year level premium and for the first 10 years the premium is paid timely via an automatic withdraw from a bank account. After 10 years the premium for the policy increases but the automatic payment remains the same. The accumulated cash value is then used to make up the premium difference until it is used up. Once the cash value is depleted the policy will lapse for non-payment of premiums.  Unfortunately, many Universal and Whole Life Insurance policies were sold with the representation that the cash value would accumulate at such a high rate that the premiums would always be covered or even diminish or go way at some point in the future. This has led many people, especially elderly people, to inadvertently disregard notices and information from the insurance company about premium increases and/or premium payments made via the accumulated cash value of their policy.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: There have been several class action lawsuits against insurance companies for misrepresenting or misleading consumers about the viability and achievability of “diminishing premiums” or “vanishing premiums.” You can Google those terms and the Company to see if you may be a class member or have any rights under a related class action settlement.

5. DISPUTE AS TO BENEFICIARIES.

While not necessarily a denial of benefits, a life insurance company may delay the payment of benefits if there is a dispute as to the beneficiaries under a life insurance policy. In some cases, the life insurance company may require a legal determination as to who is entitled to the benefits. As a simple rule of thumb, life insurance benefits are paid to the named beneficiary of record. This could be the person or persons identified on the application or someone identified on a legitimate change of beneficiary form on record with the company. However, issues can arise if a former beneficiary challenges the legitimacy of a change of beneficiary form. Also, if there are no contingent beneficiaries listed and the primary beneficiary is deceased, then legal action may be required to determine who is entitled to the life insurance benefits. Finally, some States have provisions that automatically remove a named spouse as beneficiary upon divorce.

DO NOT TRY TO HANDLE THE DENIAL OF BENEFITS ON YOUR OWN! 

Life insurance policies are complex legal documents that contain lots of defined terms and conditions. How those terms and conditions stand up against the laws and regulations of your State requires knowledge and expertise. Many policies have guidelines and rules for how to appeal the denial of benefits but those may or may not be binding or required. However, some life insurance policies are subject to Federal laws and regulations which require strict adherence to procedures for how appeals must be presented. In those situations, failure to properly file the appeal can prevent any further legal action to obtain benefits. Some times the denial of benefits is blatantly wrong and may entitle the victim to additional compensation over and above the policy benefit amount. If you are the victim of denied life insurance benefits, in the very least you should consult with a Life Insurance Claims Specialist or an experienced Attorney as soon as you are notified that the benefits are denied and before responding or appealing the denial of benefits. He or she should be able to give you an overview of your rights and explain the legal issues you are facing and provide you with a strategy to try and recover the benefits.

About the author: is a licensed and practicing attorney in the State of Alabama. Through his law firm he has handled denied life insurance cases in Alabama and Mississippi. He has also been a consultant on life insurance claims and cases in other States where he works with local attorneys to help secure life insurance benefits for clients and customers. He has helped families recover over one million dollars in denied life insurance benefits with the average policy value being $50,000.00. Mark provides free consultations for people who have questions about life insurance policies or benefits. Please email your life insurance benefit questions to Mark Wolfe at mark@bfw-lawyers.com for a free consultation. Please put Life Insurance Question in the subject line. Or call him at 251 410-7761.

REQUIRED DISCLAIMERS: Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2: No representation is made that the quality of legal service to be performed is greater than the services provided by other lawyers. The Mississippi Supreme Court advises that a decision on legal services is important and should not be based solely on advertisements. Free background information is available upon request to a Mississippi attorney. The listing of any area of practice by a Mississippi attorney does not indicate any certification of expertise therein. See Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(d), Rule 7.4(a), Rule 7.6(a) (1997). General Disclaimer: This information is posted for general information purposes to help those interested parties or persons with potential civil claims better understand their rights and potential causes of action. If readers are currently represented by an attorney on the subject matter of this post then they are encouraged to continue with said representation. No attorney-client relationship is established by this post.

What to Do When You Win the Lottery!

CONGRATULATIONS! I know it’s hard to believe that you’ve actually won the lottery and I hope your hands are still shaking from excitement as you read this! Now, let’s take a deep breath and review some basic strategies before you do something you might forever regret! Such as telling your dim-wit, debt laden Bro-in-Law about your good fortune.

#1. KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT! There are some very important things you should do and consider before telling the world that you’re now a financial peer with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

#2. ENDORSE & SECURE YOUR WINNING TICKET. Lottery tickets are considered a presentation instrument. So if you lose it without having endorsed it, you may be SOL! Leave room on the endorsement section because you may have to add another entity (see Rule 5). Photograph/photo copy the endorsed winning ticket and then promptly put it in a fire proof safe or safe deposit box. [Also, don’t forget Rule 1, or your neighbor who never returned the rake he borrowed will be on your front door step graciously returning your rake AND now requesting to “borrow” some cash.]  

#3. FIND OUT HOW LONG YOU HAVE TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE & WHETHER IT CAN BE CLAIMED ANONYMOUSLY. There are deadlines ranging from three months to a year to claim your prize. Find out asap how much time you have to get your affairs in order before claiming the winnings.  Some States allow you to claim a prize anonymously but many require public disclosure. Also, some Lottery Rules require winners to appear at press conferences and participate in public events or announcements. [Are you still good with Rule 1? Because if not, here come all of your co-workers and their tales of financial woes.]

#4 CHANGE YOUR PHONE NUMBER. On the off chance you’ve disregarded Rule 1 but even if you have not, it’s still a good idea because sooner or later your loser Bro-in-Law is going to find out about your winnings and he has some “really boss ideas” on how to invest your money for you!  

#5. GET LEGAL ADVICE ASAP. Now you can finally tell someone about your new found wealth! The attorney-client privilege will prevent your lawyer from disclosing that you are client and/or the nature and extent of his or her representation. If you want to remain anonymous a lawyer can help you determine if the funds can be claimed by an innocuous charity or foundation that you establish and/or maybe negotiate for your privacy with the Lottery. Some lotteries will allow you to remain anonymous but you have to give up some of the winnings to do so. Even if you can’t remain anonymous a lawyer can tell you how to set up various entities to help shelter and protect your winnings from the vultures. A lawyer can also work with a tax advisor and financial consultant to help establish short term and long term priorities for your wealth.
#6.  MAKE YOUR LAWYER THE “BAD GUY.” Sooner or later, it’s likely your family, friends and co-workers will learn of your lottery good fortune. Also, there’s a good chance you’ll be contacted by legitimate and illegitimate strangers seeking financial assistance. Instead of you having to be the bad guy saying “no,” just tell them the lawyer has everything tied up in long term CITs…Charitable Investment Trusts and he or she is responsible for managing your money and all inquires for funds should go through him or her. You can let your lawyer know who you want to help and to what extent and let him or her make the delivery. 
Again Congratulations on winning the Lottery. Understand, your financial good fortune will bring a side effect of stress and concern.  Following these simple guidelines will help reduce that stress and enable you to enjoy your winnings to the fullest. 

Top Personal Injury Firm Opens Law Office in Foley, AL

One of Alabama’s most experienced auto-crash personal injury law firms has now opened an office in Foley, Alabama. The law firm of Boteler, Finley & Wolfe has been helping car crash victims with insurance claims for over 30 years. The senior partner in the firm, Mark Wolfe, has helped thousands of victims and their families recover compensation for their car crash injuries. In addition he has written numerous consumer publications for personal injury victims and he has taught CLE courses for attorneys on how to prepare and prosecute auto-crash injury claims. The attorneys at Boteler, Finley & Wolfe are all top-rated attorneys by peer review rating services such as AVVO.com.  They are the only dedicated injury law firm with an office in the Foley area. The new office address is 820 N. Alston Avenue, Suite B and free consultations are available by appointment only through the Mobile, AL office: 251 433-7766 or by rmail to Mark Wolfe, mark@bfw-lawyers.com 

Personal Injury Claims: What Are “Value Drivers?”

Today most major auto-crash insurane companies use some form of Computer Assisted Claim Evaluation Program to help them establish a “value” for a personal injury claim. These programs evaluate data about the injury claim and then provide the adjuster with a value or compensation amount they should pay the victim. Depending on the company, adjusters may have to strictly follow the evaluation or they may be able to offer more than the program’s “evaluation.”

Central to all of these programs are value-drivers. These are certain facts or factors that are input into the program. A value-driver can be either positive or negative. Meaning they can either increase the amount of compensation the victim receives or reduce the amount of compensation the victim receives. These programs can evaluate thousands of different value drivers. Even for a simple auto-crash injury claim there can be over 100 value drivers analyzed by these programs.

Obviously the diagnosis code for an injury is an important value driver but so are the treatment codes as well as the timing of the treatment. The “value” of a diagnosis code may also depend on what type of doctor made the diagnosis. A delay in care or a gap in treatment can be a negative value driver as well as inconsistent pain complaints in the medical records. Many times these negative value drivers can be limited or overridden by the adjuster but he or she has strict criteria or guidelines on what documewnts and/or facts must be presented to limit the negative value driver.

If you have a serious injury claim from a car crash, you need a law firm that understands Computer Assisted Claim Evaluation programs and knows how to properly document all of the positive value drivers and limit the negative value drivers. At Boteler, Finley & Wolfe we’ve been helping car crash victims present and prosecute their insurance claims for over 30 years. We know and understand Computer Assisted Claim Evaluation Programs better than most attorneys. We can help you. Give us a call today: 251 433-7766 or email Mark Wolfe at mark@bfw-lawyers today for a free consultation.

Reading the Fine Print on Lawyer TV Ads

Recently there have been numerous TV commercials for lawyers where someone brags about how much money the lawyer recovered for them. These people generally appear fine and gush about what a financial windfall the lawyer got them for their injury claim. The problem is the fine print disclaimers that accompany many of these commercials scroll across the screen so quickly, or are so small, you can’t read them. Many people don’t even see them let alone read them. Here’s a compilation of some of these disclaimers from some recent TV lawyer ads:

– Not an actual client testimonial or based upon a specific case.

– Dramatization: Not an actual case.

– Actor portrayal, not a real client.

– The monetary result referenced is not from an actual case.

– The monetary recoveries referenced are not typical of most injury claims and [law firm name omitted] in no way guarantees or promises similar results for specific injury claims.

–  Not a typical injury case recovery.

–  (Lawyer name omitted) will not be the lawyer responsible handling your claim or case and the financial recoveries referenced herein are generalizations of atypical injury cases. No warranty or     guarantee of a specific monetary result is made herein.

–  Not a real client or case result.

–  Not an actual case result or recovery. [Law firm name omitted] processes claims and cases via a referral to an affiliate law firm. Referral law firms are solely responsible for claim and case presentation and remit a portion of the attorney fees to [law firm name omitted.]

–  Actor and/or spokesperson is compensated for services and any reference to financial recoveries  are of non-typical personal injury matters.

–  Actual results may vary. Not licensed to practice law in Alabama.

Legal? Maybe. But doesn’t this smell of deception? A commercial runs with a “client” boasting of a huge financial recovery but hidden in the commercial is one of the above fine print disclaimers stating the results are not true or not typical.  Seems like the old bait and switch sales tactics used by shady salesmen of days gone by.  Trust between an attorney and his or her client is critical to a good relationship. Clients must rely on and trust their attorney to help them through a difficult time. If the initial basis for that relationship is based upon a deceptive TV ad, can the client really be confident that the attorney has the client’s best interest at heart?

So how else besides TV can you find an attorney? AVVO.com is an excellent attorney rating service that has lots of information about local attorneys and rates attorneys on a scale of 1-10. There’s also biographical information about the attorney, client reviews and professional achievements. Also, most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations so you can consult with more than one attorney before deciding what attorney you are most comfortable with.