No one is ever prepared for an accident, but the actions taken in the minutes, hours and days after being involved in an accident can influence whether they become a victim or a victor in recovering their losses. Attorney Michael L. Saile Jr., partner with Saile & Saile LLP, the Langhorne-based practice he shares with his father, not only fights for clients involved in personal injury cases in the courtroom but also educates them on how to arm themselves for the fight.
Saile has literally written the book—two, in fact—on how to prepare for a personal injury case. His first book, “Don’t Crash Again,” is a car accident victim’s guide to maximizing recovery. Both books are available on Amazon.com and free to those requesting them through his firm’s website, accidenteducation.com. The site also offers dozens of short instructional videos pertaining to clients’ questions, along with many articles written by Saile about personal injury topics.
According to Saile, many people make mistakes in the aftermath of an auto accident that are detrimental to their case, and his book is intended to educate them about these crucial mistakes. He warns that insurance companies often use their extensive resources to take advantage of uninformed victims. “Once the other person’s insurance company gets the victim’s name, the investigator will contact them to pin them down to facts and get a recorded statement,” he says. “This can only be used against them.” He cautions and reminds people that they are under no obligation to speak with the other party’s insurance company.
There are proactive steps that accident victims can take to protect their interests, though, including simple steps such as reporting the accident, taking photos of the scene and seeking medical attention. “Make sure you get to the proper medical doctors,” Saile says. “Many family doctors shy away from accident cases because they don’t know how to write a report, don’t want to be deposed in court or don’t know how to act in the client’s best interest.” In such cases he can help victims find appropriate care from cooperative medical professionals.
It is also important to seek medical attention promptly. “Many accident victims don’t complain of injuries at the accident,” Saile says. “They may be embarrassed to have an ambulance come to the scene, need to pick up their kids or have to go to work, but the pain may hit later. Many injuries from accidents—neck, back and spine—set in that night, when they begin to stiffen up, or even a day or two after.” He says in that case it is essential that the patient insists on being seen by a doctor that day.
The stakes are much higher in a truck accident. These cases typically cause more serious injuries and involve multiple agencies, making them more complicated. “There needs to be an investigation to find out who is responsible,” says Saile. He also notes that trucking agencies have investigation teams available to help minimize their risk exposure; these teams may even be allowed to canvass the scene for evidence.
His second book, “Not Another Bad Lawyer,” assists those who need help finding an ally in the fight by identifying a personal injury lawyer who can best represent them. “What distinguishes us is that we pride ourselves on educating clients. We coach them throughout the process with bundles of information,” he says.
Another complimentary educational service offered by Saile & Saile LLP is its free auto insurance review. “When someone comes in [after an accident], it is too late but I review it with them,” he says. “I want to warn people about insufficient coverage before by extending a free auto insurance review. They can send us a copy of their declarations page and we will make recommendations.
“Many people are underinsured or don’t buy sufficient protection against uninsured and underinsured drivers,” he continues. “This coverage kicks in when the other driver does not buy enough insurance to cover an accident; $15,000 is the state minimum—an amount easily exceeded. You could be put in a wheelchair and the most you can get is what the other party purchased, or they could be uninsured and you could have rejected protection.”
Above and Beyond
“Our best client is an educated client,” Saile says. “I am all about education to create a level playing field; give the consumer as much as they can have so we have the chance to recover as much as possible.” His practice supports this assertion by using a unique fee structure on contingency cases known as the “client first” fee agreement. Unlike most firms, which charge up to 45 percent of the award for winning these cases—no matter how quickly—Saile & Saile LLP charges a lower contingent fee on cases that are settled quickly within the first year. “I believe a lawyer should get paid for work he or she does and not get a windfall for cases that settle early with little work,” Saile says. “The more the client helps us out, the quicker we can settle the case.”
Saile & Saile LLP also differentiates itself by offering its clients exceptional customer service. Saile says its client-care specialists receive rigorous training to ensure efficient and effective communication. “I have been doing this for 11 years,” he says. “In another 20, I want these customers to continue to refer me.”
Julie Sutton Kline is one such client. “I can’t express enough how glad my husband and I are that [Saile] handled our personal injury case for us,” she says. “His professionalism and attention to detail, along with his superb office staff, made an extremely difficult and stressful time so much easier. He routinely went out of his way to keep in contact with us and provided a level of support so above and beyond anything we could have ever expected.”
Saile understands the importance of his legacy and of the hard work required to maintain it. His father and two uncles are attorneys, while his wife is a criminal prosecutor. The couple also has three sons under the age of 3. Saile was born and raised in the area, attended school in Council Rock School District and then continued his education at the University of Delaware and Widener University School of Law. He has been named multiple times to both the list of Rising Stars by Super Lawyers® and the National Trial Lawyers Association’s Top 40 Under 40, and he has consistently received the highest rating—10 out of 10—by the professional rating agency Avvo. He also serves as a director of TODAY Inc., a Bucks County-based nonprofit rehabilitation center.
Perhaps his proudest achievement, though, has been helping to author Philadelphia’s Bouncer Safety Law, which among other things requires all bouncers to be trained and registered with the City of Philadelphia, after winning a case involving a man seriously injured in a dispute with an unqualified bouncer.
Too often he feels the good things that trial lawyers do are overlooked or, worse, trial lawyers are given a bad name by politicians and insurance companies seeking to bias juries against them. “Trial lawyers make life safer,” he says. “Lawsuits make the world safer.”
Saile & Saile LLP
403 Executive Drive
Langhorne, PA 19047
215-860-5800 | www.accidenteducation.com
Photograph by Kim Billingsley