When we file an injury lawsuit in San Antonio or anywhere in Texas, we know that the defendants and insurance companies will create some defense whether it is true or not. When it comes to car crashes, we know the playbook and we know the defenses they will use.
Justin Hill: Welcome to Hill Law Firm cases, a podcast discussing real world cases handled by Justin Hill in the Hill Law Firm. For confidentiality reasons, names and amounts of any settlements have been removed. However, the facts are real and these are the cases we handle on a day-to-day basis.
Justin Hill: We’ve represented a lot of San Antonians in car crash cases. Without failure, I have to warn and prepare my clients that no matter what the facts of the case are, the other side is going to come up with some defense. In car crash cases in San Antonio, there have been enough trials and enough cases that we know the playbook from the defense side. Recently, I went to a CLE and I heard one of the San Antonio Trial Lawyers Brethren, discuss how he calls the defense’s the PIG defenses, P-I-G.
In 99% of car crash cases, the defense is going to say one of these defenses. First they’re going to say, “The person injured in the vehicle had a preexisting condition.” This could be from the person really honestly, it had an injury to the same location they injured in this crash, to the fact that they went to a chiropractor 20 years prior, and the chiropractor mentioned that they were going to do a full body adjustment. They’ll try to contort that to say that the client had some preexisting condition.
Currently, I’m working on a case in which the client after getting rear ended by woman not paying attention, had shoulder surgery. Now, the defense is saying since she had had shoulder surgery a while before this crash, that it’s the previous injury or the previous surgery that caused her injury in this crash. They ignore the fact that the previous surgery had nothing to do with a traumatic injury. It had nothing to do with the portion of her shoulder that was injured in this crash. It had nothing to do with anything related to this crash. It was just in the same general vicinity of her injury in this crash. They’ll go to all lengths to say that some previous medical condition is what caused the injuries from the car crash.
The ‘I’ is impact. Another thing they like to do is say, “Well, there’s no way that somebody could have been injured in this impact. Look at the pictures.” Now, they have to admit that all the studies show that there is no amount of impact by which an injury cannot occur. People can be injured at any speeds depending on how they’re positioned, the dynamics of the crash, the size of the vehicles and their condition. Some people are more susceptible to injury than others. Older people are more susceptible than teenagers. That’s the second most popular defense we see.
The third, the ‘G’, is gaps in treatment. In normal everyday life, we all try to walk off injuries and try to see if they’ll resolve on their own. However, insurance companies ignore the fact that people do not want to go to the doctor unless they absolutely have to. They’ll try to turn that into a defense and they’ll say, “Well, you had a gap in your treatment.” It doesn’t matter if the gap is one week or four weeks or four days. They’re going to say that at some point, there’s so much distance between two doctor visits, that either you weren’t hurt or you hurt yourself some other way. It’s odd having to discuss with clients, how these PIG defenses will be used to try to defend the case.
Then at any other point in life, you would want to see if time heals your injuries, but the insurance companies will use that against you. They’ll use it against you if you put time between your doctor visits, and then if you don’t, they’ll use it against you that you went to too many doctor’s visits.
One thing can be clear is the insurance companies are never going to attempt to do the right thing. They’re going to try to find any way to deny delay and defend your claim. By knowing what the PIG defenses are from the other side, we’re able to prepare our cases and prepare our clients in the right ways.