"Believe it or not I am known for my no B.S. approach to practicing law. I give you no B.S. straightforward answers to your Defense Base Act questions in simple, easy to understand English, that everyone can understand. No legal mumbo-jumbo, lawyer talk. Ever."
Bill Turley - Defense Base Act Lawyer and author of Win Your Defense Base Act Case
The 1st common mistake that will destroy your Defense Base Act Case - not telling the truth
This is the first part in a series of articles on the five common mistakes that will destroy your Defense Base Act Case.
Always tell the truth
I say it like a mantra. Always tell the truth. Don’t lie, fudge or exaggerate when you are bringing a Defense Base Act claim. I say this because I want to see folks win their case. I don’t want to see folks like you lose. It really is that simple.
The number one reason why folks lose their DBA case
I try and read court decisions on DBA cases. I try and see why Judges Deny claims (and why they Award benefits). The number one reason why Judges will Deny a Defense Base Act claim is that the Judge doesn’t believe the overseas civilian contractor. In other words, they aren’t credible.
This isn’t by mistake
The DBA insurance company has all type of tricks and traps in order to catch you in lies and half-truths. They are hoping that you will lie. Because guess what? You are usually always going to get caught.
There are two different types of people that get their credibility destroyed in a DBA case:
The first type are people that are trying to game the system
These are folks that are trying to get money for nothing. Folks that are putting on fraudulent claims. If you are one of these people, please don’t contact my office. I don’t want to represent you or even talk to you.
Frankly, I hope you get caught because you’re spoiling this for the rest of the good, honest folks.
I know the insurance company wants you to believe that a lot of people with insurance claims fall into this category. I don’t see many of these people. Maybe it’s because I tell them not to call me. But, the folks that I talk to aren’t trying to game the system. They fall under the second category.
The second type of person are good, honest folks that get caught up in the insurance company’s tricks and traps
These folks have a legitimate injury and an legitimate claim. They got hurt or suffer PTSD due to being overseas. Or both.
But they either didn’t get my free book (Win Your Defense Base Act Case) and read it or they’ve fallen for some of the insurance company’s tricks and traps before they read my book.
If this is you, then we may be able to help you.
But - either way - don’t do anything else, and I mean anything else, until you have read my book.
The more screw-ups you make, the harder it’s going to be for us to fix your case.
Please, please, please order my book (I give it away for free for crying out loud); before you make anymore mistakes.
“Why are you giving the book away for free?”
Okay. Some folks are suspicious.
They’re thinking, “If you book is so hot, why are you giving it away for free?”
That’s a good question. For a few reasons.
First, a certain percentage of folks aren’t going to spend money on the book and we don’t want them to tank their DBA case. Especially, if they end up - like so many folks do - asking us to represent them.
Second, it’s a lot easier to get good money for people that haven’t already fallen for the insurance company’s tricks and traps.
Third, we hate to have to tell folks that we can’t represent them because they have seriously screwed up their case so bad that we can’t fix it.
Fourth, we hate (I know this is a strong term, but in this case it’s accurate) the DBA insurance company’s. We don’t like to see them screw over good, honest people.
Fifth, since we can’t represent everyone - we want you to get the best result possible.
A quick tip - they know.....
The DBA insurance adjuster will often times ask you questions that they already know the answer to.
All the while hoping that you will say something untruthful.
Your best bet - assume that the adjuster or defense lawyer already knows the answer to every question that they ask you. They are just trying to find out if you are lying to them or not.
Or, they know they will get the answer to the question before your case goes to trial.
But, read on, just because it’s truthful, doesn’t mean that the adjuster/ insurance company lawyer needs to hear the answer from you. Even truthful answers can harm your case.
What am I talking about?
Even truthful answers can harm your case
What you don’t want to find out (I explain this in my book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case) is that even giving a truthful answer can hurt your case.
Again, I am not telling you to lie or evade responding. But some questions don’t need to be responded to in order for you to prevail in your case. And some questions are unfair questions.
A good, seasoned, well trained lawyer can simply not respond to the adjuster or insurance company lawyer when the adjuster (or insurance company lawyer) asks an inappropriate question.
I am certainly not afraid to call out the adjuster or attorney when they ask an inappropriate and/or unfair question. That’s part of my job.
Or your lawyer can take the time to discuss the question with you and the ramifications of answering the question and then decide how to respond to the adjuster/ insurance company lawyer at a later time.
If you are talking to the adjuster on the phone, and they ask a zinger question, you may not recognize it as a zinger question and you may just go ahead a blurt out a response. Either way, not good.
I want to emphasize once again I am not telling you to be dishonest. Far from it. I am just telling you that it’s not always so easy knowing how to respond to a trick question or to even respond at all. It is much easier for your lawyer to dodge or refuse to answer an inappropriate question, than it is for you.
Don’t get the wrong idea here. I am not suggesting that your lawyer lie for you. Nothing of the sort.
As an aside, you aren’t going to know the trick questions, when they are asked. That isn’t the way this works.
But wait there’s more
Once you give a bad, truthful response or even worse - an untruthful response - you usually can’t put the genie back into the bottle, so to speak.
A quick example: “Hey, how are you?”
This kind of stuff happens. The adjuster calls, and asks, “Hey, how are you?” You respond, “Fine, thanks.” Then the adjuster puts in his report that you said that you were “Fine.” And denies benefits or stops your benefits. Just like that.
Don’t think this happens? I’ve seen it.
Instead, you’re response has to be more measured. “I’d like to say I’m fine, but I’m having a lot of problems with my....” Or, “Do you want the polite response or do you want me to tell you how I’m really doing, Mr. Smith?”
Or “I don’t want to be a whiner or complainer, so I’m not sure how to answer your question, Mr. Smith.”
Fudging and exaggerating
Fudging and exaggerating will also tank your case.
“I can’t” questions
When I hear seriously injured overseas civilian contractors say, “I can’t,” I cringe. They are oftentimes walking into a trap.
Here is an example:
Q. Can you lift 40 lbs?
A. I can’t lift that much anymore.
You can almost bet that the insurance company is going to get sub-rosa video (click here to find out more about sub-rosa videos here); that is going to show you lifting 50 lbs.
Put it this way. If a 75 lbs dresser fell over and was on top of your child or parent, could you lift the dresser off them? I’ll bet that under these circumstances, you not only could, but you would.
It’s more accurate is to say, “I try and avoid lifting 40 lbs, because my back hurts when I do it. If I lift that much weight, my back pain really increases later that night.”
Or, “My doctor gave me a 40 lb. lifting restriction. I try to follow the doctor’s restrictions as much as possible. But when I do lift more than that, my back really hurts. It feels like it’s on fire that night, after I have overdone it.”
Or whatever the truthful answer is.
Instead, when you say “never” and “ever” you are inviting the adjuster to get video of you lifting your six year old out of the back seat of the car after they fall asleep on the ride home from Grandma’s house.
And then they will say you’re lying. Bet on it. Happens all the time.
More “ever’s” and “never’s”
This will really blow up your case. So listen up. When the adjuster asks an “ever” or “never” question, you have to be really, really careful.
Q: Have you ever had ever been to a psychiatric doctor before?
Q: Have you ever had ever had psychological treatment before?
Q: Have you ever had ever had psychological counseling before?
Q: Have you ever had ever had counseling before?
A lot of people are still focusing on the psychiatric doctor and the psychological part of the questions when they answered “No” to counseling.
Only if they went to a marriage counselor, then the insurance company will say that they lied about prior counseling.
Q. Have you ever had back surgery?
Q. You’ve never had back surgery?
A. No I haven’t.
Q. Never gone under a knife for your back?
Q. Have you ever had treatment for a back problem?
A lot of folks, are thinking back surgery when this line of questions gets asked. Only they missed the “ever had treatment.”
Because they were focused on back surgery and knives and such, they forgot about the back strain they had in high school while playing football. They got a few massages and they were fine. Depend on the insurance company getting those records and making you look like a liar.
What have you been doing since your overseas injury?
This is another ripe area of folks making mistakes. The insurance company lawyer is going to be able to take your deposition before your trial. A deposition is when their lawyer gets to ask you questions under penalty of perjury.
When they start asking you pointed, directed questions about your activities since your overseas civilian contractor injury, you can usually bet that they have videos of you doing these things.
These are called sub-rosa videos.
For example, since you "accident" (they will define it as your "overseas civilian contractor injury"), have you:
taken out the garbage?
gone to the gym?
worked on your car?
carried your children?
mowed your grass?
Know this. They are hoping that you will deny doing these things. Because then, they have you in a lie. Gottacha.
Think long and hard before answering these type of directed questions.
Don’t guess or speculate
A lot of folks want to be helpful. So they give an answer to a question when they really don’t know the answer. Wrong.
When you guess wrong, they will hold you to it. They will paint you out to be a huge liar.
Their goal is to make you look like a liar - depend on it
The DBA insurance company’s goal is to get you in as many lies, fudges, exaggerations, half-truths as possible. They all start adding up.
And then they will cut you up at the trial. By the time they are done with you, your case will be so badly damaged that they Judge isn’t going to believe you on the stuff that matters in your case.
I’ve only scratched the surface here
There are all sorts of ways that this all goes down.
I know this all sucks
People don’t want to hear any of this. And most lawyers are going to tell you about these things.
But do you want to find out all of this now, or after you’re bloodied up all over the courtroom?
It’s up to you.
These are only a few examples. Make sure you claim your free copy of my book - Win Your Defense Base Act Case.
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This article isn't legal advice
These discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. These testimonials, endorsements, photos and/or discussions do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, or your particular case/ situation. Every case is different. There are any number of reasons why DBA cases are not won and/or are not as successful folks might have hoped for.
Just because we have gotten great results in so many other Defense Base Act cases, doesn't guarantee in particular result in other cases. Including, your DBA case. Every case is different.