BEFORE YOU HAVE AN ATTORNEY:
Q. Somebody hit my car yesterday, but it only hurt the car. What do I do?
A. Make sure you call your auto insurance company and let them know you were in a car accident so that they can begin the process to resolve the property damage claim.
Q. And I don’t need a lawyer for that?
A. Typically, no. That’s why you pay for auto insurance – to ensure that your auto is taken care of in an accident and to get you a vehicle as quickly as possible so you can continue your life with as little interruption as possible.
Q. What if I have liability coverage only?
A. Then your insurance company may not help you, but you can work directly with the defendant’s car insurance to get the car taken care of.
Q. I was in a car accident and I thought I was okay, but now I’m really hurting. What do I do?
A. Get yourself to your doctor or hospital so you can be checked out. Make sure you follow the doctor’s instructions so that you can recover as quickly as possible. Make sure that the doctor’s office or hospital bills your health insurance and you pay your co-pays and deductible as you normally would. You should consult with a lawyer to see if it’s worth pursuing.
Q. I was in an accident and now the other person’s insurance company is calling me. Should I talk to them?
A. No. You should consult with a lawyer first. We can advise if it is something you can handle on your own or if it’s better for you to have representation. In the meantime, please do not speak with the defendant’s insurance carrier and do not give recorded statements about what happened.
Q.The other insurance company sent me paperwork to fill out. What should I do?
A.Talk to an attorney first. We can advise if it’s something you can handle on your own and fill out, or if you should sign up with an attorney to take over.
Q. The other driver was ticketed. Do I need to go to court?
A. Yes. If you are not present at the court date, the case may be tossed, which can affect liability decisions and insurance coverage. You can call the police department that issued the ticket and they should be able to tell you when and where the court date will be.
Q. Should I take pictures of the accident?
A. YES. A picture is worth a thousand words. Please take pictures of your car, your injuries as they progress and heal, where you fell, etc. This is particularly important in a premises liability case where you fell.
Q. Should I save receipts?
A. Yes – especially prescription receipts. Please send them in to us so we can add them to the file.
Q. Who’s going to pay my medical bills?
A. Your health insurance should be paying your medical bills regardless of how you got injured.
Q. Why should my health insurance pay for it when it was someone else’s fault?
A. Because that is what you purchase health insurance for. By the same token, because it was due to someone else’s fault, part of the recovery in a personal injury case will go to reimbursing the health insurance company for the bills they paid.
Q. My doctor’s office or the hospital won’t submit my bills to my health insurance. What do I do?
A. You need to be on top of them and make sure they are submitting it so that the timeframe for submitting a claim does not lapse. If they refuse to do so, you can submit the bill yourself to your health insurance. Just use the number on the back of your insurance card and they can guide you through the process.
Q. My health insurance said they wouldn’t pay until med pay is used?
A. Some insurance plans have this requirement that auto insurance med pay is exhausted before the medical insurance begins paying. If that is the case, make sure your bills are submitted to your own auto insurance. Once the med pay is exhausted, you should receive an “exhaustion” letter that you can send to your health insurance, which is what they need to be able to begin paying the remainder of the bills.
Q. My health insurance will only cover 10 physical therapy sessions, but my doctor says I need to go for 20 sessions. What do I do?
A. You will need to either pay out of pocket, or, if you have an attorney, the physical therapy facility can lien the file so that they will be paid at the conclusion of the case.
Q. I don’t have health insurance – how will I get the treatment I need?
A. You need to get an attorney so that a file can be opened and your file can be liened. This will allow you to get the treatment you need now and the with the resolution of the case, the doctor’s office can be paid. Not all providers will treat on a lien basis, but fortunately, they are few and far between.
Q. How do you get paid as the lawyer?
A. We are paid on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we take a percentage of the recovered amount as our fee and recoup our costs. This is beneficial for 2 reasons – 1) you do not have to pay us along the way, and litigation can be very expensive, so there is no risk or expense to you, and 2) our interests are aligned to maximize the recovery in every case for every client.
Q. How much is my case worth?
A. This question is unique to each and every case. There is a huge range of values for each case and they are based upon the injuries, the medical bills, the documented pain and suffering, the healing process, the insurance company, and an economic analysis of risks vs. benefits of litigation. Ultimately, the decision always rests with the client, but we will always keep you informed of the process and our recommendations so that you can make an educated decision.
Q. Will I have to go to court for my case?
A. Maybe. If the case goes into litigation, meaning we were not able to settle it for a fair price pre-suit, there is always the chance that you will have to go to trial on your case and that you will have to present for a deposition. If and when the time comes to discuss litigation, we will talk about the requirements of you during the litigation process.