Sponsor Spotlight - September 2017
Brehm Bell, Attorney At Law
A personal injury attorney with nearly three decades of experience, Brehm Bell offers the hometown advantage and one-on-one attention for his clients.
- by Ellis Anderson
Bell’s personality reflects his legal style: he’s a compassionate and empathetic listener, then dynamic, purposeful and energetic when he’s making a point.
Like when he explains how the insurance claims process has changed dramatically over the past several years. Accidents that involve personal injury, now more than ever, can present a mine-field of obstacles for someone who’s been hurt.
“Five years ago, if you had an accident, in many instances, you could handle things yourself,” says Bell. “Now, almost everyone needs an attorney advocating for them. The liens, the paperwork, the processes – it’s all gotten extremely complicated, time-consuming and confusing.”
As an example, he cites the way accident victims often sign paperwork in the emergency room – a decision that can negatively impact their health insurance for years to come. One type of form is called an “assignment of interest.” That means that the hospital will try to get payment from an insurance company first (which will pay full price on procedures), rather than a person’s health insurance (which gets a big discount on charges).
“When you’ve been in an accident and you’re in an emergency room, you’re usually stressed and hurting and just want to be seen by a doctor,” says Bell.
That’s the main reason that Bell has come up with a handout listing the things people should do – or not – if they’re in a serious accident. He recommends you keep the card in your vehicle’s glove box (click here to download the pdf and store on your mobile phone).
If a case goes to trial, Bell points out that there’s an enormous advantage in being represented by a hometown attorney. He should know, having grown up in Pearlington and graduating from Bay High School before attending law school at Ole Miss.
Bell says, “It’s important that insurance companies know you have an attorney who is a part of the community. It matters. A representative from another place won’t have the in-depth knowledge of our county. But if you’re injured and can’t work, I understand all the ways you’re being affected on a personal basis.”
Bell’s concern for his community carries over to his personal life, where he and his wife, Jenny, volunteer for several organizations. Brehm focuses on education, and has served as chair of the Hancock Chamber’s education committee, helping found the annual teachers appreciation dinner and the popular Bookworms program. He and Sherry Ponder were pivotal in persuading Pearl River Community College to open a branch in Hancock County. Bell also sponsors an annual scholarship that goes to a local high school graduate who has expressed an interest in law.
“I just try to live in my world and help my people,” he says.
Next, people meet with Bell in person. The initial consultation is free. He takes all their information and listens to their concerns. After Bell agrees to represent a client, all calls from health insurance, health providers, insurance companies and collection agencies are simply referred to back to his office from that point on.
“I tell my clients ‘you just need to focus on getting well,’” Bell continues. “I’ll handle the claim part.”
While Bell says that this country couldn’t have been built without the insurance industry, he also says that now corporate offices sometimes press people to take quick settlements - before they know the full extent of their injuries.
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