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Resume of David Alan Palmer
Resume of David Alan Palmer
Resume of David Alan Palmer
Contact David Alan Palmer
Contact Phone Number 605-339-0780
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Slip and Fall
  • Wrongful Death
  • Bad Faith Insurance Claims
  • Premises Liability
  • Personal Liability
  • Medical
  • Professional

No Recovery - No Fee

Do I need a lawyer?

Yes, I think you do. Most people never expect to be in this position and do not have any experience in dealing with this type of situation.

Insurance companies are some of the richest and most powerful corporations in America. They make money by selling policies, collecting premiums, and avoiding paying on claims.

The other party's insurance company does not owe you anything unless it voluntarily agrees to pay you or a jury determines liability and the amount of your damages. The law does not impose a duty on the other party's insurance company to treat you fairly.

The insurance company claim's agent is a professional. His or her job is to settle your claim as quickly and cheaply as possible. The insurance company is a business. Its interest lies in the bottom line. Paying your claim is against its best interest.

Personal injury law is complex. There are time periods in which notices must be given, statutes of limitations for resolving or filing lawsuits, and rules of evidence. You need a professional to assist you with the law and combat the insurance company claim representative.

Will my case go to trial?

Most personal injury cases result in an out of court settlement negotiated between the parties. A negotiated settlement is one in which both sides try to predict what a jury will do and settle the case accordingly.

Do I need a trial lawyer?

I think you do. While it is true that most personal injury cases settle without going through a jury trial, the goal is not merely to settle your case. The goal is to reach a fair settlement in which you receive reasonable compensation for your injuries.

Insurance companies did not grow rich and powerful by being stupid. Insurance companies know whether a lawyer has the ability to successfully try a case before a jury.
If the insurance company believes that your lawyer does not have the ability to try a case in front of a jury, then you will not be offered a reasonable settlement. If the insurance company believes that your lawyer has the ability to successfully try a case before a jury, then you are going to receive larger settlement offers and have a better chance of obtaining reasonable compensation for your injuries.
There are also some personal injury cases that simply have to be tried. There may be liability issues, factual disputes, or questions involving damages that only a jury can resolve. In such cases, you need a lawyer who can stand in front of the jury and be your advocate. You need a lawyer that can talk to the jury in a language that the jury understands, that can articulate the law to the jury, and that can instill in the hearts and minds of the jurors the desire to award you reasonable compensation for your injuries.

Some lawyers never go to court. Some lawyers do not handle jury trials. To be a good trial lawyer, you have to regularly try cases.

Any person with a license to practice law can place an advertisement in the telephone book or on television asking for the privilege of representing you in a claim for personal injuries. (My own advertisement appears in the Qwest Dex telephone book on yellow page 25.) In talking with lawyers about handling your case, ask them about their jury trial experience. Find out how many jury trials they have handled, the types of cases, and how long the trials lasted.

For these reasons, I believe that you have a much better chance of obtaining reasonable compensation when you use the services of a trial lawyer.

How long do I have to resolve my claim?

South Dakota law limits the time for you to either settle your case or file a lawsuit. These laws are called statute of limitations. The amount of time depends on the type of case and the identity of the other party.

For example, you typically have three years in which to either settle or file a lawsuit in a claim for personal injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. However, if the defendant worked for a municipality and was driving a city vehicle at the time of the accident, then you are required to give notice to the municipality within 180 days of the accident and have your claim settled or suit filed within two years.

Generally speaking, medical malpractice claims must be commenced within two years after the malpractice occurred. Legal malpractice claims must be commenced within three years after the malpractice occurred.

It is very difficult to be more specific regarding the applicable statute of limitations without knowing all the facts involved in your case. Please contact me and I will answer your questions.

What is my case worth?

The legal system is not able to heal your injuries or ease your pain. The only thing a judge or jury can do is award you reasonable compensation for your injuries. The question in each case is what is reasonable compensation.

The nature and extent of your injuries determines the amount of reasonable compensation that you receive. It generally takes between six months and one year for a person to recover following an injury or surgery. Once your doctor says you are at maximum medical improvement and not going to get any better, then it may be necessary to have you evaluated by a specialist to determine if your injuries are permanent. Your case is ready for evaluation and settlement negotiations can begin after it is determined whether you have sustained a permanent injury.

Factors that may be considered by a jury in awarding you reasonable compensation include, among others, medical expenses, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, permanent injury, loss of capacity of the enjoyment of life, and diminishment in earning capacity.

It is only after you have reached maximum medical improvement, underwent an evaluation to determine if you sustained a permanent injury, and accumulated all the information related to the factors described above that a lawyer can make an intelligent estimate as to the value of your case. In evaluating these factors and making an estimate, I rely on my personal experience in trying and settling cases, I monitor other injury cases that have gone to trial by jury in this area, I utilize resources from the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association and the American Trial Lawyers Association, and I subscribe to a computerized nationwide jury verdict research system.

In summary, it takes time and requires a great deal of information before a lawyer can give you an honest and thoughtful estimate as to the value of your case.

Who will pay for my medical bills?

The other party's insurance company may not be under any obligation to pay for your medical bills until settlement or trial. The problem is who is going to pay for your medical bills while your case is pending.

No one wants creditors calling at home and demanding payment for medical bills. The other party's insurance company knows this. They like to use creditor harassment as a means of forcing you to quickly and cheaply settle your case.

Your health should be your first concern. If you are hurt, seek competent medical treatment. Most importantly, follow your doctor's advice.

If you were injured in an automobile accident, you should have medical payment coverage on your automobile policy. Contact your insurance company and request that they pay your medical bills. You paid for the coverage so use it. Your insurance company will get the money back as they are protected by subrogation.

If you exhaust your automobile medical payment coverage, then submit the medical bills to your health insurance company. Again, you paid for this insurance and your health insurance company will be protected by subrogation.

If you were injured as the result of a slip and fall on property belonging to someone else, there may be medical payments coverage on a premises liability policy. This benefit is typically paid irrespective of negligence or fault.

If you do not have any insurance coverage, I will contact your health care providers and promise to pay them upon completion of your case. Most doctors will understand this situation and work with you.

I had an automobile accident, who will fix my car?

Your automobile insurance policy will replace or repair your vehicle regardless of fault if you had collision coverage. You should contact your insurance agent, report the accident, and follow their instructions to get your vehicle fixed. Your insurance company will then pursue the other driver for reimbursement if appropriate.

If you did not have collision coverage, then you could be at the mercy of the other driver's insurance company as to whether they will admit responsibility and fix your car. Generally speaking, in cases where the other driver is clearly at fault, his or her insurance company will want to promptly repair or replace your vehicle in order to avoid having to pay you interest. Remember, in most cases the other driver's insurance company is also responsible for provide you with a rental vehicle while your car is being repaired or replaced.

I was injured by a person who did not have automobile insurance, what can I do?

This is frustrating. You have several options. First, South Dakota law requires all drivers to have automobile insurance. The other driver should have received a ticket for not having insurance or been charged with some other crime and have to appear in criminal court. The judge will order the other driver to make restitution (reimburse you for your losses) as part of his or her sentence or else go to jail. You should contact the Minnehaha County State's Attorney, 605-367-4226, and request to speak to a Victim's Assistant regarding restitution.

Second, you should have medical pay coverage under your automobile insurance policy that you can use to pay your medical bills. You also should have uninsured motorist coverage on your automobile insurance policy that may provide you with reasonable compensation for your personal injuries.

Finally, you may consider bringing a lawsuit against the other driver. South Dakota law provides that if you receive a money judgment for damages as the result of a motor vehicle accident which is not paid, then the state will revoke the judgment debtor's driving privileges. This threat will encourage the debtor to make payments toward satisfaction of the judgment.

Who will pay for my time off work?

This is very frustrating because your options are limited. You should check and see if you have any disability insurance benefits. If so, contact your insurance company and find out if you can file a claim. Should you suffer from a long-term disability and be unable to return to employment, you may be eligible for assistance from the federal government. Please contact the Social Security Administration office here in Sioux Falls.

The other party's insurance company is not under any obligation to reimburse you for lost wages until settlement or trial. The insurance company knows that not working places you in financial distress. Again, the insurance company is using economic distress to force you to consider returning to work before your doctor ordinarily would so recommend and to quickly and cheaply settle your case.

What about my family, are they entitled to compensation?

A husband or wife may have a claim for loss of consortium related to your personal injury. Married persons have a right to the love, affection, society, and companionship of their spouse. Should your personal injury impact upon the marital relationship, then your spouse may also have a claim for reasonable compensation.

South Dakota law presently does not permit a claim for compensation by children for personal injuries sustained by their parents.

What is subrogation?

Subrogation is the right of your insurance company to seek reimbursement for monies it pays to your health care providers or to repair your car due to another person's negligence. For example, your automobile insurance policy pays $2,000 to your doctor for treatment because of an automobile accident caused by another person. Your insurance company would have a right to reimbursement for the money it paid from the person who injured you.

Can I afford to hire a lawyer?

I handle most personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that I charge a percentage of what you recover as legal fees. If I do not recover any money for you, then you do not pay any attorney fees.

There is no charge for consultation on injury cases. This consultation is similar to a job interview. You need to meet me and decide whether you want to trust me to handle your case. I need to meet you and decide whether I want to provide you with legal representation. I will meet with you at your convenience in my office, your home, or place of business.

I typically advance the cost of litigation as we proceed toward resolving your case. However, the law requires clients to reimburse all costs advanced regardless of the outcome of the case.

Please call me at 605-339-0780 to discuss your case.


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© 2012 David Alan Palmer, P.C.