Does Your Case Truly Support Your Demand Letter Settlement Request?

Does Your Case Truly Support Your Demand Letter Settlement Request?

Drafting a demand letter is an essential step in the process of resolving legal disputes. It serves as a formal request for settlement and outlines your clients’ grievances, the desired outcome, and the consequences if their demands are not met. However, before sending out a demand letter, it’s crucial to evaluate whether your case genuinely substantiates your settlement request.

The cornerstone of any demand letter are the legal claims you are asserting. These claims form the foundation for your settlement request and must be substantiated by credible evidence. There are two primary reasons why insurance companies often don’t take your demand settlement package seriously:

1. Inadequate documentation of diagnosable impairments:  

Having reviewed hundreds of personal injury cases over the years, I’ve observed countless instances where ALL diagnosable impairments are not documented, inadequately documented, or completely disregarded and left unattended.

For instance, in many cases involving clients with multiple trauma injuries resulting from a motor vehicle collision, injuries are often prioritized based on their life-threatening or most severe pain-inducing nature which may cause overshadowing of less apparent impairments. Orthopedic impairments like broken bones, herniated discs, facet injuries, and ligament tears take precedence, while these less-obvious issues, such as short-term memory deficits, decreased attention span, dizziness, blurred vision, and tinnitus, often go undiagnosed and consequently remain undocumented. These signs are often symptoms of post-concussive and mild traumatic brain injuries and when left undocumented, can cause your client’s case to be severely undervalued.

2. Lack of Quantification of Diagnosed Impairments:

Orthopedic and cognitive impairments that are not quantified in terms of their severity and their impact on your clients’ lives are typically inputted into an insurance company’s system to generate a low-ball valuation based on the insurer’s subjective assessment of the impairments’ worth.

It is crucial to quantify how these impairments affect your clients’ daily lives, including their ability to provide for their family, perform activities of daily living, and engage in leisure activities. The most trial-tested, valid, and objectively reliable method to quantify your clients’ impairments is through a Functional Capacity Evaluation to assess physical abilities or a Cognitive Functional Capacity Evaluation to evaluate cognitive deficits and their effects on executive functioning skills, concentration, and attention span.

Before sending out a demand letter and making a settlement request, it is essential to evaluate whether your case comprehensively and quantitatively supports the impairments upon which you base your demands. By taking these two pivotal steps into account, you can significantly enhance the chances of achieving a successful resolution to your dispute.

Dr. Brad Poppie has over 20 years of personal injury experience providing care as a treating doctor, coordinating rehabilitative case management, and expert trial testimony services.  If you have a client that you would like to discuss their need for an expert report, please contact me directly at 720-982-2000 or email me at:

Your Case Is Too Important To Entrust With Amateurs

Your Case Is Too Important To Entrust With Amateurs

Suffering from a personal injury can be a life-altering event causing physical pain, emotional distress, and financial burden to your client. For such cases, seeking appropriate experts becomes crucial to ensuring you have the ammunition needed to properly represent your case.

Your experts not only educate the insurance company of the client’s diagnosis, functional impairments, and future care needs, but they also paint a picture of how these impairments affect the client’s life. Therefore, deciding which medical-legal expert to entrust your personal injury case with, is not to be taken lightly.

The Complexities of Personal Injury Cases:

While there are many expert medical professionals out there, not all possess the expertise and experience necessary to navigate the complexities of personal injury cases.

Personal injury cases encompass a wide range of incidents including car accidents, slip-and-fall, medical malpractice, and workplace injuries. Each case is unique, involving intricate legal and medical aspects that require careful analysis and attention. Amateur “experts”, or Life Care Planners who specialize in Senior Care rather than Personal Injury, lack the knowledge to fully understand the nuances of case management, establishing causation, quantification of impairments, and determining future care needs. Their inexperience risks critical errors that often jeopardize the chances of receiving fair compensation for your client.

Navigating What Expert to Hire:

Navigating the sea of possible medical-legal experts can be a daunting task. After all, you are entrusting this expert to make potential life-altering opinions regarding your client’s impairments and future care. Therefore, it is imperative to choose wisely.

An amateur expert might struggle to meet deadlines, miss important documents, or mishandle future care considerations for your client due to their lack of experience or understanding of the full extent of your client’s impairment.

In contrast, a seasoned and professional medical-legal expert with years of experience has a deep understanding of the legal landscape, ensuring that every step is executed efficiently and effectively.

Doctor life care planners work within their respective scope of practice allowing them to perform specialized examinations on the client as well as fully analyze the client’s medical records. This supports the doctor life care planner’s authority to opine not only their current care, future care, and future costs, but also how those three elements coexist with the client’s impairments and disabilities and affect the client’s life. A doctor life care planner can also help streamline the damages report process and improve the likelihood of a settlement being procured in mediation as opposed to trial.

Trial Experience:

While many personal injury cases are settled out of court, some do proceed to trial. In such instances, having an experienced medical-legal expert by your side, with a track record for winning on the stand can make a world of difference. Amateur experts struggle to present a compelling opinion and lack the courtroom presence and advocacy skills needed to properly educate and sway a judge or jury. On the contrary, skilled medical-legal experts are well-versed in courtroom dynamics, and their expertise can help tip the scales in your clients’ favor.

When choosing a doctor life care planner, consider one that has decades of experience treating the types of patients and impairments that your client is suffering from to support their credibility on the stand. After all, it’s not the question of if the authored Life Care Plan can hold up in court, but rather the question of if the one who authored the plan can hold up in court.


When faced with a personal injury, the decision to seek the appropriate medical-legal expert should be backed by careful research and consideration. While amateurs might offer lower fees, the potential risks and consequences of entrusting your case to them far outweigh any initial savings. Personal injury cases demand a level of expertise, experience, and dedication that only seasoned professionals can provide. By partnering with an established medical-legal expert, you can rest assured that your case is in capable hands, increasing your chances of receiving the compensation your client rightfully deserves.

Dr. Brad Poppie has over 20 years of personal injury experience providing care as a treating doctor, coordinating rehabilitative case management, and expert trial testimony services. If you have a client that you would like to discuss their need for an expert report, please contact me directly at 720-982-2000 or email me at:

Function Based Case Management Strategies

Function Based Case Management Strategies

A decade ago, the way the personal injury cases were analyzed and valued was typically via diagnoses, impairment ratings, and imaging studies. Multi-trauma diagnosis that were correlated with positive imaging findings of fractured bones, herniated discs, and ligamentous tears; etc. were substantial evidence that the injured’s  impairments were somehow catastrophic and warranted an appropriate settlement. 

Those days are long gone and providing the insurance company with that level of documentation and evidence of impairment is subpar. It no longer educates the insurance company on how the injuries that your client has sustained, equate to a loss of functional ability to return to their previous level of function and engage in their life the way they did prior to the collision; more specifically, their ability to perform work related activities, activities of daily living, and leisure activities. 

Today, case management MUST be centered around your client’s functional loss from the collision, slip-and-fall; ect. The question you must ask yourself when going through a case is, “how do the impairments that have been documented through treating practitioners and experts, equate to a functional deficit that leads to a disability?”

What if you had an extensive evaluation that you could present to the insurance company that would confirm the diagnosis, impairment rating, and / or imaging studies, and would actually quantify their severity? This evaluation exists and is the only trial-tested, objective, reliable, and valid way to determine how their injuries affect their livelihood. If you haven’t guessed it, the evaluation I’m referring to is the Functional Capacity Evaluation.  

The Functional Capacity Evaluation is designed to take the injured evaluee through a thorough series of functional tasks that allow the evaluator to determine functional impairments. These tasks measure fine / gross motor control and dexterity inadequacies, positional tolerances, lifting and carrying deficits; etc. and make valid conclusions reguarding the functional limitations found during testing and how they equate to functional impairments.  

Functional impairments are the new gold standard of documentation in personal injury cases. The functional impairments discovered through the functional capacity evaluation will help guide you through your demand letter settlement request and help pave the way for other experts involved in the case to make more holistic opinions on the permanency of your client’s impairment.  

Dr. Brad Poppie has over 20 years of personal injury experience providing care as a treating doctor, coordinating rehabilitative case management, and expert trial testimony services.  If you have a client that you would like to discuss their need for an expert report, please contact me directly at 720-982-2000 or email me at:

Dr. Brad Poppie, DPT, CLCP, CFCE, CSCS  
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Life Care Planner
Medical Cost Projection Specialist 
Certified Functional Capacity Evaluator
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Cognitive Functional Capacity Evaluations’ role in TBI

Cognitive Functional Capacity Evaluations’ role in TBI

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Post-Concussive Syndrome is unfortunately a very underdiagnosed cognitive pathological condition in personal injury. Oftentimes diagnostic imaging, neuropsychological testing, and/or cognitive therapy are relied upon heavily for diagnostic and treatment purposes. While these studies and experts can certainly help diagnose the injured persons’ condition, there is typically one very important clinical presentation that is not discovered with all of this testing. That is, how the brain injured individual is functioning in real environments, promoting the ecological validity of an evaluation.

The ecological validity differentiates how generalized experimental findings are relatable to the real world such as situations or settings that are typical of everyday life. Think of ecological validity as a subtype of external validity. This is where the Cognitive Functional Capacity Evaluation (CogFCE) comes into play.

The CogFCE evaluates an individual’s functional and cognitive capacity in relation to their ability to perform essential critical job demands with a focus on the intersection of physical, psychological, cognitive, and behavioral implications of an injury or medical condition.

The CogFCE includes the formal / standard functional testing such as range of motion, strength, mobility, limb coordination, postural tolerances; etc in addition to a standardized assessment of cognitive function. These assessments are both component and performance based tests, non-standardized assessment, with structured observations of physical, cognitive, behavioral, and psychosocial functioning.

The evaluator has the unique opportunity to evaluate executive functioning skills both practically and formally by using the clinical environment and environmental demands as an additional tool to measure the evaluee’s performance.

This form of environmental evaluation is a very useful and relevant quantifiable assessment for determining one’s functional capacity for employment and/or how the evaluee’s cognitive deficits affect their ability to perform activities of daily living or leisure activities. This approach highlights ecologically valid measures of work-specific tolerance, particularly in the areas of attention, activity tolerance / mental stamina, and executive functioning.

Make sure your cognitively injured client’s impairments are properly documented to effectively show how the injury affects their livelihood.

Dr. Brad Poppie has over 20 years of personal injury experience providing care as a treating doctor, coordinating rehabilitative case management, and expert trial testimony services. If you have a client that you would like to discuss their need for an expert report, please contact me directly at 720-982-2000 or email me at:

Cutting corners can cost your client MILLIONS in the long run

Cutting corners can cost your client MILLIONS in the long run

We have all heard the old saying, “you get what you pay for” right? Well, this phrase holds true in most business scenarios, but most importantly, with personal injury cases. Expert reports can be a “case-closing grand slam” when done correctly, but it’s easy for those to fall short if done improperly or by the wrong expert. 

Many attorneys spring for a “budget” report, hoping to save a few dollars, but when attorneys don’t pay for the appropriate expert to author a thorough report for their client’s case, money is left on the table and they end up doing their client a huge disservice.

One of my favorite stories helps to illustrate this concept beautifully…  

A giant ship engine failed. The ship’s owners tried one expert after another, but none of them could figure out how to fix the machine.

Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was young. He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, he immediately went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom.

Two of the ship’s owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine lurched into life. He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed!

A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for $10,000.00.

“What?!” the owners exclaimed. “He hardly did anything!”

So they wrote the old man a note saying, “Please send us an itemized bill.”

The man sent a bill that read:

Tapping with a hammer…………………. $ 2.00

Knowing where to tap……………………. $ 9,998.00

The moral of the story:
Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort makes all the difference!

The meaning of this story has proven true time and time again as I review “so-called pocket medical cost projections” that are performed by non-certified life care planners.  There is a reason why there are certifications in life care planning and when you invest in a certified life care planner to methodologically determine the correct future care and associated costs, you receive a quality report that will hold up in trail and help your client get the money needed for any future care that they require from their collision.

I had a recent personal experience reviewing a “pocket medical cost projection” on a catastrophic injury case. The representing attorney thought they could save a few dollars and ended up using a “run-of-the-mill” company to produce a cost projection at a very low cost. After all, the cost projection only needed to include what the treating pain management physician was recommending, right? Wrong!

As the story goes on, the cost projection determined the cost of what the physician was recommending, and that was all. Unfortunately the injured person was catastrophically injured and literally required millions of dollars more in future projected evaluations, projected therapeutic modalities, future routine medical care, durable medical equipment, supplies, aids for independent function, home care, transportation, and home modifications that were directly related to the impairments and subsequent disabilities they suffered from due to their collision. The moral of this story is that the person they hired to do the “pocket cost projection” was not a certified life care planner and therefore not credible to opine on the added future care needs. 

Therefore, due to the attorney trying to save a few dollars with the pocket medical cost projection that they used, it essentially cost the client millions of dollars in the long run because they were not able to present the full scope of care that the client needed to the insurance company.   

Dr. Poppie had served the legal industry as a treating clinician, damages expert, and educator for over 20 years. He specializes in the evaluation and treatment of multi-trauma injuries related to motor vehicle collisions, standard of care and malpractice claims, and as a damages expert to help educate insurance companies and both plaintiff and defense counsel to provide a viable pathway for obtaining a fair settlement based on ethics, research, and evidence-based standards of care. 

As a certified doctor Life Care Planner, Dr. Poppie helps to guide attorneys through all phases of their case and documents impairments with accurate associated costs that are reliable in educating opposing sides as to the true extent of injury. Evidence-based practice guidelines are utilized in all reports in order to ensure the needed criteria is met to withstand scrutiny within all legal jurisdictions. 

Dr. Poppie founded Injury Reporting Consultants to help attorneys and insurance companies resolve personal injury cases through medical analysis and reporting. Injury Reporting Consultants is a collaborative team of dedicated medical professionals using their knowledge to ensure fair outcomes for all parties in personal injury cases.

Recognized specialties include Motor Vehicle Collision, Life Care Planning, Medical Cost Projection, Functional Capacity Evaluation, Onsite Job Analysis, Functional Impairment and Disability, Workplace Injuries, Orthopedic Physical Therapy, Standards of Care, Current Best Practices, Physical Therapy Malpractice, Negligence, File and Medical Record Review, Improper Documentation, Expert Rebuttal Reports, and Expert Testimony.

Dr. Brad Poppie has over 20 years of personal injury experience not only as a treating doctor but as an expert witness in trial.  If you have a client that you would like to discuss their need for an expert report, please contact me directly at 720-982-2000 or email me at:

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