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August 18, 2022

Dealing with Crazy Clients in Legal Practice

This is a small compilation of my crazy clients stories. Want to see more? Buy my book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble! Available Paperback, Hard cover and eBook!

Crazy Clients

         I am starting to think that inbreeding, incest, environmental factors, or whatever chemicals they put in our food cause a huge rise of people who have some kind of mental health issue. I have touched a little bit on this issue throughout the book but would like to dive in deeper and explore what could possibly be the number one issue that will eventually destroy our civilization. And that issue is the Severe Mental Health issue. The worst part about mental health issues is the stupid liberal enablers that encourage individuals with a significant mental health issue. Instead of treating people, they either pump them full of meds until they turn into a zombie or force the rest of the society to not only accept their mental health issue but to go as far as encouraging it under the premise of being “Queer” or whatever other adjectives that they use. God forbid you do not conform. You are automatically labeled as discriminatory. Here is the worst part about people with mid-level mental health issues. Most people are not aware that they even have a mental health issue or are completely in denial!

         Before the liberals attempt the cancel culture on this book, I would like to point out three things:

1.      I have multiple streams of income. Going after my IT business will not harm it one bit either.

2.      Thankfully, at least 50% of the US Population has no mental health issues, and for the most part, the healthy part of society will agree with most of what I have written.

3.      I do not care about your hurt feelings. If you are hurt because I pointed out certain issues in this book, that’s your fault. I am not in charge or aware of your emotional state.

Now I digress… Moving forward, I will give you a few crazy stories about some crazy clients that made me question even my own sanity. Some are funny, some are sad, and some are just bizarre. In most of these situations, there was no right way of handling these types of clients. So enjoy!

Story #1 – State of Apoplexy

A client was involved in a motor vehicle accident. There was rarely any property damage, the client was barely treated past 90 days, and most importantly, the MRI’s showed no injury other than one disc bulge with no nerve impingement. The client was in his 40’s. Throughout the treatment process, the client kept crying and complaining that his pain was unbearable and was looking into surgical solutions. Fortunately for him, there were no notable injuries to his back, and the doctors recommended against any surgical procedures. Naturally, the carrier sent out a threshold denial, and there was essentially no case.

One day, literally the next day after we received the denial, the client visited our office without an appointment. We were actually in the process of sending him a drop letter. So, guess who had to tell him the bad news? Me! Telling clients “bad” news is never easy. Keep in mind, for the most part, it’s a business to them. Regardless of how serious their case is, once you start discussing money, the conversation automatically turns into a business matter. After all, business is business. What makes these “business transactions” even more complicated is the fact that most of them are driven by emotion. Mostly due to stress because most clients have no clue how the personal injury process works or knowledge of the law or legal system.

As the client came into the office, I was being very polite, and knowing firsthand how most clients react to bad news such as case denial or minimal offers for whatever reason, I began my typical small talk routine. I usually try my best to briefly calm them down and make them feel relaxed. It doesn’t work on half of the clients because they all want to know the status of their case without wasting time or any kind of bullshit, but I at least try. I had no intention of hiding around the bush with this guy, so I quickly moved on to the point. I said:

“Look… I’m not sure whether it’s good news or bad news for you, but the carrier denied your claim. As per the New York State Serious Injury Laws, you do not qualify for any type of compensation. For one, you barely treated, and most importantly, you virtually have no injuries and that’s the good news.”

The look he gave me was the look I had seen countless times. Same look I received after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Iraq. As if someone told him that a significant tragedy occurred. I could immediately see the sadness in his eyes and a tear coming down his eyes. After two minutes of extreme unfathomable sadness, he quickly regained his composure, and as if he was about to break out and cry, he asked me:

“What do you mean? The other driver has $300,000 policy limits, and I was already starting to look for a house for me and my family! I was counting on this money! You’re doing something wrong!”

At that point, my mouth almost dropped. He was at a point of apoplexy and pretty much began to cry as he was running out of the office. Mind you, when I sign clients up, I clearly explain the process, the law, and the requirements or legal standard for someone to be eligible for any type of compensation.

Story #2 – Anxiety off the charts

I have touched upon mental health issues and disorders a bit, but this time, I will give a prime example of how certain mental health issues can impact day-to-day life. Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in America, affecting at least 40 million adults over the age of 18. At least according to ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America).

I had this one client that had the worst case of anxiety I have ever seen. He had a prescription for medical marijuana, but that was not enough for him. He had to purchase more on the side and smoke it all day in order to stay somewhat calm. He had a legitimate case with legitimate serious injuries, but dealing with him was almost impossible. He would literally call at least once a day and always start each conversation with a screaming panic and would not even let me respond. To compound on the issue, he would blame me and say that I was the one that was aggressive towards him even though he would not even let me respond. This is called psychological Projection. I eventually settled his case, and that was when his anxiety went into an over-drive. After signing the closing documents, he would literally call me two to three times a day screaming and asking me about the settlement check until he finally picked it up.

Study #3 – You have cancer or tumor

99.99% of attorneys will never mention this, but we get a lot of MRI’s, which have positive results for some kind of cancer or a tumor. Most clients were not even aware and usually went in a state of shock. One often thinks about the possibility of randomly receiving such terrible and shocking news. What if it was me? What will I do now? Most people take the news as expected. However, I had one client that was completely detached from reality.

The client was involved in a motor vehicle accident, and he had no actual injuries. However, his MRI’s showed that he had cancerous bone tumors that were very aggressive and were rapidly growing. I am not an oncologist, but from what I know about cancer, that looked terminal. Based on the MRI results, the cancer metastasized to nearby organs. The first thing I did was tell the client to take these MRI’s and see his PCP (Primary Care Physician) as soon as possible. He came back to me screaming that he wanted a lot of money for his case because the car accident caused the bone cancer. I tried to explain to him that car accidents could not cause cancer, but he was completely enraged. I completely understand that he has God knows how long to live and very empathetic over his situation. Unfortunately, that is not how this stuff works. Eventually, I calmed him down, provided emotional support the best I could, and tried to get as much money as possible. I argued exacerbation and aggravation of pre-existing condition and managed to get him some decent money on his case. Year after settling his case, the patient passed away.

Study #4 – Here, take my daughter

I’ve met some crazy parents in my life, but I will never forget that time when my clients, who are a mother and father to a 22-year-old female. All three of them were involved in a motor vehicle accident. I have had the “pleasure” of signing them up, and it was the oddest experience. It seemed to me that they were not too fond of the daughter and were extremely controlling. I do not care how many people were inside the same car, I see each individual as a separate case. Everyone is different, and everyone would have different type(s) of injuries, so I would naturally discuss the details regarding their case and treatment at individual levels. But these stupid parents would not let the poor girl talk. Ever! They would either answer for her or snap at her to answer me what they wanted her to say. One day, after they finished treating and I had submitted their medical records to the carrier for a possible settlement, both the mother and the father came into my office without an appointment with their daughter and almost immediately told me that they like me and that I can “court” her daughter if I get them a really good settlement. I felt disgusted that people like that actually exist. They made me really uncomfortable since day one. I eventually settled their case and got a decent amount. Close to the $50,000 policy limits since there were three of them.

Study #5 – I know more than you do

This is not directed towards a specific client or a case, but there are a lot of people who are either stupid or feel so insecure about their intelligence or level of education that they deliberately try to pick a fight with a licensed professional. Whether it is a doctor, nurse, lawyer, and so forth. I’m not a lawyer, but I have been in various legal practices for over ten years. My take on legal practice is this. People come to lawyers when they need someone smarter than them to help make decisions for them as well as adjudicate a case. That means complete and hopefully win a case. But you have these “geniuses” that think they are smarter than lawyers or doctors because they either Googled something or because their cousin had a similar situation (no such thing since each case is different). So they pick a fight, get loud and aggressive because they don’t believe what the lawyer is telling them. Always coming back with rebuttals such as “but you’re my lawyer, you have to fight for me!”

Study #6 – Tell us your name, damnit!

This happens on a regular basis. When a client calls up to discuss their case and never say their name when asked. Or only say their first name. Then go into rage mode, screaming, “But you’re my lawyer! You have to know your clients!”

Study #7 – Do not bring your family into this!

Having a family to back you up is one thing. But when the client calls for case status and once you explain exactly where the case is, they don’t need to ask your entire family of 15 to call the office to ask about their case status! It is a frequent occurrence when I have a client that calls at least once a week and when I am done discussing the case with that client, all of the family members start taking turns calling me to confirm what was discussed. God forbid you misspeak on one issue, the entire family will cross-reference what you have told them, and they will all start calling in unison and complain that you don’t know what you are talking about.

Case Study #8 – When clients don’t listen and do their own thing

If you hired an attorney to represent you, why the hell don’t you listen and do your own thing??? Example: I recently had a client that had their first IME (Independent Medical Examination) Appointment scheduled. All firms try to delay these dreaded IME appointments at all costs and as far back as possible so that the clients can continue treating because after they make their IME appointments, NF will find every excuse to deny most No-Fault claims. That means the No-Fault Carrier will not pay for any future medical bills, and the client will not be able to treat. I clearly told the client not to go to this appointment and that we would reschedule that appointment to a future date. What did the client decide to do? He felt guilty and showed up anyway. The NF Claim was denied the following week, and he was only able to treat for approximately 40 days. The bodily injury Policy Limits were only $25,000, so there was no point in making the client treat under a Lien, and he had no Private Insurance. We had no choice but to drop the case because the client didn’t breach the injury threshold.

Case Study #9 – When clients go on social media doing crazy shit

Insurance companies will go through your social media! I had one case where the client was involved in a motor vehicle accident and had some decent soft tissue damage. The client’s IME’s even came back positive. However, someone in the carrier decided to go through the client’s social media and found a lot of disturbing evidence. The client was a stripper on weekends and doing crazy maneuvers on the stripper pole. She was also an avid biker and martial artist. Naturally, the case got denied on threshold. We had no choice but to file, and eventually, by some miracle, when the defendants filed a threshold motion, they lost the motion due to positive IME Results.

Case Study #10 – When clients commit insurance fraud   

I personally don’t see much insurance fraud. Do clients try to milk the system and get as much money as possible even though they’re not seriously injured? Yes! But blatant insurance fraud is a rare occasion, believe it or not, and thankfully, all of the firms that I have ever worked with do not tolerate it. We drop the cases immediately.

The most notable insurance fraud case I have ever had was when five individuals came into my office claiming that they were involved in a motor vehicle accident. They even brought in a police report, which notes that they were a passenger in a livery vehicle. The livery vehicle happened to be an Uber car, and the car was a Nissan Sentra. Aside from the five passengers, there were three other passengers and a driver. I had a hyperactive imagination, and the first thing I thought to myself was, were they riding in a clown car? Nissan Sentra is a small car and can barely fit four people altogether. Apparently, what really did happen was while the driver and his real passengers were distracted by the EMS and the Police, the five idiots were talking to other cops, claiming that they were also in the car.

The passengers didn’t know the driver, where they were going, and where they were coming from because they were too stupid to come up with some kind of story, and the driver later claimed that he only had three passengers. We naturally dropped their case, and the insurance company filed a criminal complaint.

Case Study #11 – When paranoia is controlling your life

When I first started out as an actual settlement negotiator, one of my first clients was suffering from a severe case of paranoia and delusion. She was always scared that someone was watching her, and if someone did look in her direction, she would automatically assume that they were either stalking her or judging her. She was also seeing things. She would always say that she saw something moving when nothing was really there. As with most people who suffer from some kind of low or mild psychological disorder, they are either unaware, in denial, or too embarrassed to discuss the issue. For the most part, they are usually unaware. But in her defense, we live in a crazy world. You could be standing on the train, and some deranged lunatic can just throw you off into the tracks, so I kinda see paranoia as a very effective defense mechanism.

This lady was involved in a mild motor vehicle accident. Something was triggered in her case where the insurance company felt it was a good idea to put the case into SIU (Special Investigative Unit). At some point, an investigator started following her and taking pictures, and boy, did that activate her paranoia to infinite levels. She immediately began frantically calling our office. The panic was overwhelming to the point where she thought that someone was trying to kill her. In fact, she at some point thought that the insurance company was watching her while she was sleeping, and she thought she heard them creeping in her hallways. I’m not sure what kind of conversations she had with the attorney, but from what I remember, he dropped her case because he didn’t want to deal with her craziness.

Case Study #12 – Don’t tase me, bro!

 EMG (Electromyography) is a test that measured muscle response or electrical activity in response to a nerve’s stimulation of the muscle. During the test, one or more small needles (also called electrodes) are inserted through the skin into the muscle. An electric shock is passed through the needle to perform the test (hopkinsmedicine.org).

I had a situation once when the physical therapist’s office frantically called me because the client became extremely belligerent and almost physical. Almost striking the EMG Technician in the face and screaming, “Don’t tase me, bro! Don’t tase me! I didn’t do nothing, bro!” After spending 30 minutes on the phone with the client, I finally calmed him down and explained what the test was like and what it was for. I guess some repressed memories resurfaced.

Case Study #13 – At-Fault Raging Client

Dealing with a difficult client is a regular occurrence for me. However, dealing with a client that is completely detached from reality with an overwhelming amount of rage makes my job as a PI Settlement Negotiator “interesting.”

In this case, our client was the driver of Vehicle 1. She accidentally kept her foot on the gas, which caused her vehicle to strike a parked car. She is clearly at fault for the accident.

This is where it got interesting. She called me with the biggest attitude and almost screaming at me that she should be compensated for her injuries, and at the same time, she asked for a $3,000.00 cash advance. This was my speech to her:

“Deborah… Here is the deal. You are at fault for the accident. Insurance companies do not pay just because that you got into an accident. We have to prove that the other vehicle is at fault before we even get into the injuries portion of the case. We’re not even sure if we can represent you.”

The client flipped out on me… “But you’re my lawyers! You must fight for me! I was injured! This is why it’s called No-Fault! You clearly don’t know what you’re doing!”

Calmly, I responded… “When you have a motor vehicle accident case, we open multiple claims. Mainly a No-Fault claim and a Bodily Injury Claim.  No-Fault pays for the medical portion, and by law, your carrier is required to pay for medical bills regardless of whether you are at fault or not. This is why they call it No-Fault. The bodily injury portion of the claim is only paid out if the other driver is at fault. In your case, you are 100% at fault. You accidentally kept your foot on the gas. As far as the cash advance, law firms don’t fund clients. You can go on Google and look for a Cash Advance company online and see if they could approve you for a loan. But I highly doubt it.”

Client came back screaming at me… “That doesn’t mean anything! I’m the client! Not him! Why are you defending him???”

At that point, I just hung up on her… I have no patience in dealing with stupid raging lunatics.

Eventually, I sent her a drop letter.

Case Study #17 – I can’t deal with hypochondriacs

Hypochondriacs are the worst. They constantly feel that they’re going to die or want to see the doctor for the slightest medical issue. As soon as they get a pimple on their ass, they run straight to the ER. What makes them even worse is that they’re constantly looking for attention or more specific, they’re constantly looking for an audience. They want you to see them “suffer.” And if their objective findings come back negative, they get even more upset because they have nothing to cry about.

Case Study #16 – Romeo and James – A sad story of love lost and attempted suicide

Love hurts. I know this first hand. But just because someone you love dies, it doesn’t mean you should kill yourself. In this case, I had a client who was gay, and his husband died. On the second anniversary of his death, he decided to kill himself as well. He decided to kill himself the most elaborate way I have ever seen. I shit you not. I have seen and heard of people shooting themselves, poisoning, jumping off from rooftops, hanging themselves. But never have I ever seen an attempted suicide by a freaking chemistry set.

As mentioned multiple times in this book, in my line of work, I have to play the doctor, psychiatrist, and lawyer all at the same time. This case has truly tested my levels of intelligence and sanity. I honestly did try to be empathetic to his pain and console him when it was necessary. I understand that we all need someone to talk to, and I was that guy.

So this is what happened. The client thought it was a brilliant idea to mix sulfuric acid with some other chemical to create some kind of carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide gas so he could breathe it in and die. The experiment went terribly wrong. The chemicals somehow blew up and created some kind of chemical burns. I don’t know how or why we took this case on, but the way the client spun this was that his chemical burn injury got infected due to either unnecessary skin grafting procedure or poor un-sanitary care at the mental health hospital. The result of the procedure was terrible. Instead of sutures or other options, which doctors could have used to apply the grafted skin onto his arm, the doctor decided it was a good idea to staple it, which subsequently created a serious infection.

So naturally, we sued the hospital, and regardless of whether the injury was self-inflicting or not, the doctors had a duty to provide the best possible care, and I fought balls to the wall to settle his case. I honestly worked months on end to settle this case. There were multiple defendants, and it took a lot of medical and legal research. Sadly… I don’t remember how much I settled the case for because I try to forget the cases as soon as I settle them. But I do believe it was a fair value under the circumstances.

A typical conversation between me and a belligerent hyper-aggressive stupid client when upset about their soft tissue settlement offer, which barely pierces threshold.

This script is all too common. When clients complain about their soft tissue settlement value, it’s almost always the same script. As if it’s pre-written somewhere and the clients practice the script before they come into the office to speak with me. In this case, we will call our client Sarah, and this conversation is paraphrased based on a client I had a few years ago with a different firm. The prior boss didn’t want to deal with this client and made me talk to her.

Me: Hello Sarah, I have asked you to come into my office to discuss the current top settlement offer, which we have received for your car accident case.

Sarah: Oh! That’s great! Because I was already shopping for a new house.

Me: Ummm… Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. But before I get into what the offer is, I would like to remind you and explain to you how insurance companies evaluate motor vehicle accidents in New York. In order for you to be eligible for any type of compensation for a motor vehicle accident, we have to prove that you have serious injuries as per the New York State Serious Injury Laws, such as fractures, broken bones, surgeries, permanent loss of body organs, and significant limitations that last longer than 90 days, and the injuries, which you are claiming, are the direct result of the accident. Another criterion is Liability or Who is at fault. Since the liability is not a factor in your case because the other driver accepted 100% liability, I will not get into that portion. The major issues which we are facing are the injuries, which you are claiming. Or lack thereof. 

Sarah: Wait… I’m confused by what you have just told me. So the other guy hit me, and he has $300,000 Bodily Injury Policy Limits. Is that what I’m going to get?

Me: No, Sarah. Just because someone has a certain amount of policy limits doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to it.

Sarah: What do you mean? But I was injured in a car accident, and the other guy is at fault.

Me: No, Sarah. Just because the other driver is at fault, as per the New York State serious injury laws, we still have to prove that the injuries you are claiming are significant enough to pierce threshold and are a direct result of the car accident.

Sarah: This doesn’t make sense! But I have serious injuries and treated with a doctor for four months and did physical therapy. I even did MRI’s.

Me: Insurance companies don’t pay just because you treated. I have already explained to you what the law states, and insurance companies don’t pay just because you treated. Insurance companies evaluate cases based on objective testing such as MRI’s, EMG, and Range of Motion testing as well as procedures if you had any. And this is where the problem is. Your MRI’s only show minimal soft tissue injuries. You only have two disc bulges on your lumbar spine, and as per the New York State serious injury law, that is not considered a serious injury.

Sarah: This is bullshit! But the other guy is at fault, and I already quit my job and started looking at homes to buy because I thought I was going to get $300,000.

Me: Now I’m confused… What made you believe that you were automatically going to be entitled to $300,000?

Sarah: What do you mean how?! I was in a car accident, and this is what I want!

Me: We all want a lot of things in life. But unfortunately, that is not the reality. After vigorous negotiations, I have managed to squeeze off $7,500 top offer from the insurance company.

Sarah: $7,500? Are you fucking kidding me?! This is some fucking bullshit! This is not why I hired your firm! I want my $300,000! Now!! You are just not fighting hard enough for me!

Me: Sarah… I’m going to explain this to you again for the last time. Your injuries do not count as serious injuries. That’s not me saying this. That’s the law saying this. The law is very specific on what kind of injuries you should have in order to be qualified for any type of compensation. You are lucky to even get that because they initially wanted to deny the claim completely.

Sarah: So what am I supposed to do what little money?? I quit my job, and now I can’t even buy a house because you’re running a shitty law firm.

Me: Sarah… At this point, you have three options 1.) Accept the money that they are offering while it’s still on the table 2.) Find another lawyer who might be stupid enough litigating this matter and pray that the case doesn’t get dismissed 3.) Wait until the Statute of Limitation run out, and you will get zero because we’re not filing a lawsuit on this case.

Sarah: What do you mean file a lawsuit? Isn’t it why I hired a lawyer in the first place? To sue and get me my $300,000?

Me: Sarah… No one ever promised you that you would even get $300,000. I already explained to you multiple times that you are not entitled to that kind of money. As far as the lawsuit, I honestly don’t want to litigate a two-bulge case for two to three years just to even possibly get a few more thousands of dollars. That’s even if it doesn’t get dismissed in the first place.  That’s thousands of dollars in expenses, man hours, and numerous appearances in court that would last all day. It’s just not worth it.

Sarah: Wow! I think you just don’t care about my case and are just being lazy and full of shit!

Me:  Ok… You really need to stop cursing. I’m being polite to you, and I have thoroughly explained the process and your situation to you. I would appreciate the same kind of courtesy.

Sarah: I don’t give a fuck what you think or say. I want my $300,000! I am your client, and you have to do what I tell you!

Me: I have spent many years and have extensive experience in settling cases. The firm’s attorneys have a decades of combined experience in litigating and trying cases. Not to mention, you are our client on contingency basis, which means you don’t pay me until I settle or win the case in court. That means we don’t get paid until you get paid. My job is to look out for the best interest of the client and collect as much money as possible. The more you make, the more the firm makes. If there was any other possible way for us to get you more money, we would. At this point, you have to make a decision. Either accept whatever money they’re offering now while it’s still on the table, or maybe you will find some idiot attorney who would be willing to litigate this case for three to five years and by some miracle not get the case dismissed due to lack of serious injuries. Are you even still in pain?

Sarah: No! I’m not in pain! What kind of stupid question is that? If you want, I can go see another doctor and tell him that something else hurts.

Me: Sarah… This is considered a fraudulent case, and I will not be a part of that.

Sarah: I think this is just a shitty law firm and your commercials lie. You guys say that you have won millions of dollars for your clients.

Me: Yeah… But we’re talking about serious injuries such as broken bones and serious surgeries. You don’t have any of those injuries. You’re 36 years old, and your back is healthier than most 20-year-olds.

Sarah: I’m through with you! I’m going to find a different lawyer.

Me: That’s fine! Good luck with that.

Funny note: Half the clients who leave because they have unrealistic expectations and are detached from objective reality come back to me after trying with multiple other attorneys. The other half of the clients don’t come back because most feel too stupid to come back.

Pro Tip: When I receive a written offer, and if the client leaves, I always put the file on a lien with the carrier, and the carrier has to honor the last offer, which was relayed to us. So we still get out attorney fees based on the last offer if the case settled with another attorney.

Example: Let’s assume I got a $7,500 offer and the new attorney on record received an $8,000 offer, that new attorney will only be entitled to attorney fees based on the difference he received.