After my recent visit to the ER, I was feed up with not being able to receive the follow up care I require post-accident through no-fault. I mean, why do we have to maintain insurance on our vehicles if that insurance is not honoured post-accident? Having previously requested my lawyers to find a no-fault provider for me, since my attempts for past 18 months have proved futile. (For some background , read "De temps en temps", Ginger Ale", and "Changes".)
On Monday morning, after receiving the effusive apologies of the Physician Referral Line worker, I decided it was time I got my lawyers to do my job. After all, if they will be claiming 331/3 of the final settlement, shouldn't they at least be able to handle my bills/find me a provider? Now, I go on record as stating that I have much esteem for the friend who referred me to this firm; I believe her to be an exceptional lawyer, and am sure, on the one hand, that she has not attempted to lead me astray in terms of the lawsuit. However, the simple fact is that the lawyers have failed to resolve my bills in a timely manner (I was still receiving bills for the ER visit the night of the accident this past March, despite my having called the ER multiple times and had them consult with our legal assistant) or to find me a provider, i.e. I have basically been left to find a provider myself to date. So, I have to ask the question: What have you done for me lately? What am I paying you, in short, 331/3 for if you cannot even find me a provider after I have retained you? Something is up, in my humble opinion.
Anyhow, I decided to write a relatively diplomatic email to both the legal assistant and my lawyer. Within hours, I surprisingly got a phone call at work: did I have a few minutes to discuss?
You can imagine my chagrin when the lawyer decided to hold a conference call with me and the legal assistant? My first thought was quite cynically, why is this the first time I have heard from you since the day you took my case? Why have you left everything to your overworked assistant? This is a man who was awarded a "Super Lawyer" award in 2007; perhaps that award does not take into account "customer service"? The conversation basically went as follows: Why is my private insurance refusing to cover visits as a result of the accident? They could be breaking the law! Give me your information with them so that I can get them to cover you for visits due to the accident. And, did I try to get an appointment with the gastro who was on the call the night I went to the ER? Maybe he would see me under no-fault at the hospital...
I was really quite shocked by the tremendous chutzpah of the suggestion. Not to mention the condescending tone. I was quick to inform them that I had already attempted to procure an appointment at the hospital, to no avail. Moreover, I reminded them, when I tried with different private insurance to obtain coverage, I ended up with more stress than it was worth. Instead, I suggested, perhaps they should focus on finding me a no-fault provider, as difficult as that seems to be. If and when that avenue is exhausted, then we can revisit my private insurance.
The lawyer appeared to be shocked. I do not think he was used to people "out-talking" him. Then again, I am a Yekki. More to the point, I think he may even have been vaguely embarrassed when he saw that I had been left to taking care of my post-accident care myself. We left things that if I was willing to travel far-afield in order to see a gastro under no-fault, he would see what he could do. I said I would travel as far as necessary...Surprisingly, it is now Sunday an d I still have not heard back...
The moral of the story? I suppose in America, you need not just a great lawyer, but one who is really going to be your advocate. Plenty of lawsuits fail to garner settlements on your behalf. In the end, what really counts is that you have someone helping you along the way...regardless of the outcome.
With Hashem's help, these lawyers should get the act together. I would like to one day truly be on the road to a full recovery. Until then, I suppose I just have to patient. And wait.