By Jed Hetland
Richard Alexander must hold the record for financial recoveries in excess of insurance policy limits for major personal injury clients.
Eight personal injury clients of Alexander Law Group, LLP, LLP have collected more than $10,650,000 million in recoveries from insurance companies in cases where the total insurance coverage was only $680,000.
“That’s nearly ten million dollars for our clients that did not exist until we took charge,” says Alexander.
That work has earned his clients’ praise. George Liu, 24 year-old San Jose State University senior, became a paraplegic on April 27, 2006. “That was the worse day of my life,” says Liu. “I met Dick Alexander while I was in the hospital and he told me that if I followed all of his advice I had a chance to become a millionaire. That’s the day a miracle began,” says Liu.
In George Liu‘s case the other driver’s insurance company blamed him for the crash, even though the defendant driver had made an illegal u-turn forcing the van ahead of Liu to come to an unexpected stop. The company refused to pay its $30,000 policy to settle Liu’s case.
“From day one, Dick pulled out all the stops and took my case to a trial in San Jose in July 2007. That’s very fast, “says Liu. Alexander pushed Liu’s case to trial in record time in California, yet through the week before trial there was no settlement offer. One day before trial was to start, the insurance company offered $1 million. The offer was refused, but Alexander notes, “at least we had the carrier’s attention that this was a multi-million dollar claim.”
Alexander answered, “ready” for trial, and made pre-trial motions. The afternoon while jury selection was underway the insurance company offered $2 million. That offer was rejected. “I wasn’t afraid to try George’s case against $2 million. That created no moral dilemma for me,” opined Alexander.
After Alexander selected a jury, delivered an opening statement, and examined the key witnesses in court, in the middle of trial, the insurance company’s board of directors agreed to pay Liu $4.5 million, on the condition that no one would ever mention the insurance company’s name or refer to its famous advertising claim. “From zero to $4.5 million – that’s a legal miracle,” says Liu. “I am very grateful.”
Alexander explains that George Liu was facing 50 percent comparative fault, since the van ahead of George’s motorcycle was able to stop to avoid a collision with the 18 year-old making an illegal u-turn, but George couldn’t stop in time. “When you are facing 50% fault there is a major risk of losing. The carrier finally got smart by forcing me, if we wanted more, to take it away from them. There was no moral dilemma,” Alexander explained. “This was a very good outcome for George, but it just didn’t happen. We had to show our resolve and that we were going to verdict unless they put good money on the table. With $7 million in lifetime economic losses, $4.5 million was a recovery that respected George’s serious personal injury,” said Alexander.
Respect is a common thread heard from other clients.
“The result respected my loss,” says the Rev. Ken Nishimura, one of Alexander’s clients, who lives in Tokyo. “My daughter Akko was crossing a busy street in Oakland. The driver who struck her claimed she had darted out into traffic, in a crosswalk no less. I am grateful for being represented with dignity, confidence, from the strength of justice and reasonableness, and compassion.” In that case, Alexander collected 30 times the amount of the wrongdoer’s policy.
How does he do it?
Real trial experience, very thorough preparation, and “making a policy limits demand immediately,” Alexander answers. Having 30 years experience and understanding how insurance companies manage personal injury claims are the keys to Alexander’s success.
The last thing an insurance company wants is a jury considering punitive damages in a case that should have been settled at the outset,” says Alexander, who learned the legal ropes working with legendary trial lawyers Melvin Belli and James Boccardo before establishing his own San Jose, California-based trial firm, which specializes in personal injury, defective products, and insurance claims. “What made these men great lawyers was thinking like a winner. That is what we do the best.”
For Alexander’s to ring the victory bell, clients must contact Alexander soon after their loss, and the claim must involve a serious injury. In addition, it’s important that the person who is injured not discuss the details of his or her case with the claims representatives of the other party. “Say nothing to anyone,” Alexander says. “That’s very difficult for people who have been seriously wronged. And it is counter-intuitive when there has been a serious personal injury not to speak out. It is human nature to tell the other side how much damage it did. Unless you understand that a well-written policy limits demand can put you in the driver’s seat, you are playing directly into the insurance carrier’s hand. Rather than have an insurance company dictate what you are going to do. I empower my client to be in charge, like George Liu or Reverend Nishimura. Just let me do it,” says Alexander. “And if the carrier accepts my policy limits demand and pays the policy, we don’t charge.”
When clients position Alexander Law Group, LLP between themselves and those responsible for paying for their injuries, they give the law firm a chance to document their case with the detail and precision necessary to literally “create” the best possible outcome, including recoveries far in excess of common policies with limits of $25,000, $50,000 or even $100,000, which does not even approach medical bills in major cases.
“The key is to make a legally correct and enforceable good faith settlement demand and then act promptly if it is rejected by the insurance carrier,” Alexander says. “When that happens, carriers are eager to avoid facing a claim for punitive damages and having me show the jury their net worth.”
Often his personal injury clients are concerned they are making policy limit demands before they know what the limits are, but Alexander has the answer to that: “In George Liu‘s case the defendant was an 18 year-old student driving a 1995 Honda. Obviously he had no assets and we expected a $15,000/$30,000 policy. On the other hand, the only asset George Liu had, and he didn’t even know it, was the right given by California law to make a policy limits demand for his personal injury and to give the carrier the opportunity to do what is right. Most of the time they don’t,” Alexander explains.
In cases where there are major losses, it also helps when opponents understand whom they are up against. Alexander Law Group, LLP‘ website [www. alexanderinjury.com] makes that easy to do. The firm’s list of major recoveries confirms it is uniquely qualified in the often-heartbreaking circumstances in which policy limits imposed by insurance companies don’t match the extent of the personal injuries that have been inflicted. Those are precisely the cases that are most attractive to Alexander, who as a personal injury lawyer was rated “superb” by AVVO. He also holds the highest rating for ethical standards and legal ability from Martindale-Hubbell, the authoritative resource for information on the worldwide legal profession.
“We help people who have suffered serious personal injury accomplish what other lawyers cannot even imagine,” Alexander says. “Most personal injury lawyers have never collected more than the policy. In major personal injury and wrongful death cases the policy is never enough. The real service is to collect full value. That’s what we do best. In fact, we believe it is malpractice not to at least try.”
Alexander’s track record has earned respect from adversaries and the appreciation of his clients. “Dick Alexander‘s personal support and his fighting for me produced a result that is unheard of,” says Pat Stewart of Morgan Hill, whose wrongful death claim settled for many times the defendant’s policy limit. “When my son died in a crash, the other insurance company wouldn’t even respond to my phone calls,” he recalls. “I am very fortunate they were there for me.” Like other clients with similar stories, Stewart adds that contacting Alexander immediately after the accident was critical in closing his son’s death in a respectful manner.
“There is no greater service”, Alexander says. “Our clients are very grateful.”
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