Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Difficulties with Personal Injury Cases: How the Insurance Defense Industry is Making Recovery Harder for Injured Victims

            A large part of our personal injury practice at Parnell & McKay deals with injuries people sustain in motor vehicle accidents. Bringing those claims to resolution now, more than ever, is a complicated and difficult task. Dr. Arthur Croft of the Spine Research Institute of San Diego (SRISD) is familiar with this difficulty, as he has had many patients of his become overwhelmed by the personal injury claims and litigation process.

            In his article, titled “Study Confirms Flaws in Standard Defense Strategy for MVC Injury”, he touches on how automobile insurers are doing everything they can to avoid paying personal injury claims. You can read Dr. Croft’s article here. Dr. Croft calls the position All-State Insurance, and others, take as the “three D’s – delay, deny and defend”. As a result, bringing claims has become more difficult because, as he says, “they traded good hands for boxing gloves” in their claims handling. Unfortunately, this strategy has become a successful financial choice for auto insurers because a lot of Plaintiffs have given up on their claims due to that difficulty.

            Dr. Croft also addresses how jurors are being misled by the auto insurance industry’s practice, relying on their biases and naiveté to achieve results. The first defense he addresses is when they argue that low velocity accidents (under 25mph) should not cause injury. However, Dr. Croft relies on a few studies that demonstrate objectively that this argument has no basis in science or fact. Research concluded that the velocity of the accident does not control the injuries suffered. While this seems like common sense to you and me, it is easy for a jury of our peers to get bogged down in the ‘pseudo-science’ of the auto insurer’s argument. Other factors like position of the head, the angle of the accident, the type of car involved, the greater susceptibility to injury of an older person, etc., all have major influences on the nature of the injury each person suffers. Dr. Croft’s article provides a great summary of how the nature of insurance defense has changed over the years, and how best to combat such aggressive tactics.

            At Parnell & McKay we have over 30 years of combined experience handling personal injury cases of all kinds. Dr. Croft’s article underlines why personal injury lawyers have become so integral to reaching a fair result for injured persons. In fact, he talks about how the difficult nature of injury cases has resulted in fewer lawyers handling personal injury files. At Parnell & McKay we are undeterred by these difficulties, and have adapted our practice to address these tactics and discredit them as thoroughly as possible.

            If you are injured and need help, please call the Law Offices of Parnell & McKay today. You can contact us here

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Dangers of Allowing the Legislature to Run the NH Courts: Why You Need to Vote “NO” on Question 2

                On November 2nd this year, New Hampshire voters will be asked to vote on whether to give the power of administration of the Courts to the legislature. Here is the language from the proposed statute: “The legislature shall have a concurrent power to regulate the same matters by statute. In the event of a conflict between a statute and a court rule, the statute, if not otherwise contrary to this constitution, shall prevail over the rule.

            The New Hampshire Bar Association has come out in complete opposition to the rule, as noted on their website here. There is a significant danger of giving the power of administration over to the Courts to a legislature that does not have the wherewithal nor the knowledge to administer it. Stephen Merrill and Honorable Joseph P. Nadeau wrote an article that demonstrates the risks this rule poses to the New Hampshire Court system and the citizens that have to navigate that system every day. They write: “What makes this legislative proposal troublesome and extreme is it violates a fundamental principle of constitutional democracy; the three branches of government ought to be separate and independent. As Justice Sandra Day O’Connor noted, "The framers of the Constitution were so clear in the federalist papers and elsewhere that they felt an independent judiciary was critical to the success of the nation." We agree.”

They go on to address what the legislature has said they truly want to do, which is to control the Courts. They write: “Some legislators supporting the amendment say openly that they want to "control" the courts. What does that mean? It means a legislative takeover of the judiciary. We are compelled to speak out and say, "No”.” Stephen Merrill was Governor of New Hampshire from 1993 to 1997, and is a former New Hampshire Attorney General. Honorable Joseph Nadeau is a retired justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. These are people that understand the issues facing our Court system in New Hampshire as they have spent their lives actively participating in it.

            Over the past few years, our clients here at Parnell & McKay continue to be frustrated by the time they have to wait to get their case heard, and the difficulty in getting an efficient resolution. Allowing the legislature to wrest control of the Court system in New Hampshire away from the courts themselves is an extremely risky proposition, as former Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, and current Dean of the UNH Law School, states in this article opposing the statute. In fact, former Chief Justice Broderick calls it a “very dangerous thing”.

            After navigating the Court systems of New Hampshire for over thirty years, we at Parnell & McKay understand the significant danger to the citizens of New Hampshire in allowing the legislature to control our Courts. We come out in opposition of Question 2, and hope the other voters of New Hampshire vote “No” on Question 2 as well.