What Has Your Experience Been In Handling Personal Injury Cases?
I only handle personal injury cases. I do workers’ compensation as well, but to me that is an off-shoot of personal injury. This is the only type of law I have practiced for the last seventeen years. I do not practice any other type of law because to me, personal injury is the most interesting. When you practice personal injury law, you are playing a two-way game against an insurance company. (I say “two-way” because they are also playing against you, whether you know it or not.) It is you and your attorney versus the insurance company, and I like that kind of competition.
Cities and Counties In Which Balke & Williams Practices
I get most of my business out in Crystal Lake and McHenry County, Illinois. That is where my main offices are located. We also have offices in Chicago, and Warrenville as well, but I consider Crystal Lake and McHenry County to be my home base because they are closest to the accident sites for most of my major personal injury cases. A “major” personal injury case involves an injury with permanent damage. Almost all permanent injuries require surgery. My firm is often involved in cases with permanent injuries incurred from high-velocity motor vehicle accidents. That type of high-velocity accident is much more likely to occur in a rural area than in an urban area.
Interest In Personal Injury Law
I like practicing personal injury law. Oftentimes, the victim is completely incapacitated and cannot help themselves. It is much more fulfilling to hand an injured client a check at the end of a case than it is to save an insurance company a few shekels. The human element is what really drew me into this practice.
Injury Cases Handled By Balke & Williams
Motor vehicle accidents are the most common type of personal injury cases handled by our firm. There are subsets under this category, such as uninsured motorist claims. We also deal with workers’ compensation injuries, animal attacks, and slip-and-falls. A “slip-and-fall” is where someone slips and falls at a business. These are difficult cases to litigate as juries, on the whole, do not believe in them. The general public is suspicious about someone who has slipped and fallen at a business. To win a claim like this is very rare. To do that, you need your attorney to look at the actual site itself to find the defect that caused the fall. If there is no defect, believe me, you are going to lose. One thing I sometimes do is “secret shop.” That means I go to the location to see if I can pin down the defect, take video, and maybe bring my structural engineer to the scene and document that the defect is there. Without some physical proof of an actual defect, however, the injured party is going to lose.
How Does Mr. Balke’s Reputation As An Experienced Attorney Impact A Personal Injury Case?
Overall, people that have attorneys receive more money at the end of a case than those who are not represented, even after the attorney has been paid. When insurance companies realize an attorney has been retained, they start to think about how they are going to have to pay the claim. I think of it as a war against the insurance company. When a case starts, I like to get there “first with the most.” By getting there first, I mean that I want to get to the evidence before the insurance company does so that it doesn’t get destroyed or lost. By getting there with the most, I mean that I want to have more physical evidence, more experts, more video, more recorded statements of the witnesses, and more of anything else that will be helpful to the case than the insurance company does.
Many serious vehicle accidents occur on weekend nights. When something does happen, I visit the scene and see the victim in the hospital as soon as possible. (I regularly do house calls, too.) I begin interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence immediately because the insurance company has a full staff that does the same thing.
When I obtain the evidence before the insurance company does and send it to them (video in particular), the insurance company must now consider that they may have to pay, and how much. In society, pictures and video are much more important than words, because people are mostly visual learners. Think about it: we stare into our phones for hours and hours a day looking at photos and videos. More and more people spend their time watching YouTube or other video services than they do reading. Therefore, the best way to get information to jurors and insurance companies is through photos and video. In cases involving major accidents and injuries, I want to get video of my client in the hospital as well as the recovery process, such as my client’s attempt to learn to walk again. This is called a “day-in-the-life” video.
I edit the video into something that looks like 60 Minutes or Dateline NBC. It is a thirty-minute video about the person, and how they struggled to overcome their injuries. This video includes footage of the accident scene, and possibly the video of the accident itself. (Many accidents are on video from red light cameras, security cameras, or cell phones.) If I am able to use the footage from the red light cameras or other sources, I integrate it with other images, including the first physical therapy session. I put it all together into a complete presentation with interviews, not only of the injured party but also of the injured party’s family and friends.
We start the “day-in-the-life” video when the injured party begins their day. We track a typical day showing all activities of daily living, such as getting out of bed, showering, walking to the bathroom, or eating. This makes for a very powerful thirty-minute presentation. When an insurance company gets that video, they realize that the jury will see the same video. They become much more likely to pay out a higher settlement than they would have without the video.
How Does Mr. Balke’s Trial And Negotiating Skills Impact a Personal Injury Case?
My work on gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and creating a powerful video presentation, is how I build a personal injury case. When the insurance company receives the video and sees the family members talking about their loved ones, and what kind of person they were, it becomes emotional to understand how important that person’s life was. All of these visuals sink right down to the bottom line. They get scared to death of letting jurors see something like that. When that happens, believe me, the case is going to be resolved.
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