No, our clients do not pay any upfront costs for their case. We handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that our clients will not pay any legal fees until after we secured the compensation they need through a favorable settlement or verdict. This ensures that everyone has access to quality legal services to ensure that they are treated fairly after sustaining injuries caused by another party.
No two personal injury cases are exactly alike. Therefore, there is no way to pinpoint the exact value of your case before we conduct a full investigation into the incident. The total value of a case will be dependent on specific factors related to your particular situation. However, we regularly help clients recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, general household out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering damages, and more.
Should my health insurance pay for my medical bills or will the at-fault driver’s insurance pay those bills?
Ultimately, you are responsible for paying any medical providers you may see; however, the insurance carrier of the at-fault driver should reimburse you for all of your accident-related expenses. Since this will not happen immediately, we encourage you to have your health insurance pay your medical bills in the interim so as to avoid any collections actions or adverse credit issues. When the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier does make a settlement, it may be necessary to pay back your insurance carrier for anything they have spent on your medical expenses (called subrogation).
If you have Med-Pay coverage through your insurance policy, this will provide you with a limited amount of money that can be used for initial emergency medical expenses.
Unfortunately, if you get into a car accident and are waiting for the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier to settle your case, you are responsible for payment of your medical bills as they occur. This can put victims into a difficult financial situation. If you have no health insurance, you should check with your state’s Medicaid system. If you lose your health insurance and/or your job with the result of the accident, you could qualify for Medicaid, the health insurance system that the government designed for low-income individuals.
Another option could be to work with physicians or chiropractors who specialize in treating accident victims. They know that many of their patients will not have health insurance and may be willing to work out a payment system. Some providers could agree to treat a car accident victim in return for a promise to pay the bills from the proceeds of a settlement or verdict in the case. Our office can help facilitate any such arrangements like this.
If my car is totaled and the liability insurance company is not offering the full amount I still owe on my vehicle, what can I do?
It is not uncommon for those who are in an accident with a financed vehicle to be offered less then they owe on a totaled car. Unfortunately, you will be on the hook for the balance left on the vehicle, even if you can no longer drive it. This is why GAP insurance is often beneficial when financing a car. This type of insurance is designed to cover the difference between how much you owe and what the insurance carrier is willing to pay. Auto insurance carriers are never going to pay more than the value of the vehicle. If you have GAP insurance, our office can help with that claim.
Some of my personal property (sunglasses, phone, computer) was damaged in the collision, can I get these items replaced or money to replace these items?
It is possible to get fair compensation for damaged personal property in the event you are in a car accident, including computers, phones, sunglasses, clothes, etc. You can generally file a personal property claim for any property that you can prove was destroyed in an accident. For example, suppose you were driving home with two week’s worth of groceries in your vehicle. This could easily reach $400 in value. Save your grocery receipt to support the claim if all the groceries are ruined in the accident.
Should I sign and return the medical record release forms I received from the liability insurance company?
In general, you are going to be advised not to sign a medical release form and return it to the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. Please understand that insurance carriers are looking for any reason to deny your insurance claim or lower any settlement offer they make. They are going to comb through your previous medical records to look for any pre-existing conditions that could explain your current injuries. Let your car accident lawyer determine what records should be handed over to the liability insurance company.
If you have a Med-Pay clause in your insurance policy contract, this will provide you with a limited amount of coverage that can be used for medical expenses related to the car accident. This coverage can be used regardless of which party was at-fault for the incident, and you should be able to easily obtain your Med-Pay benefits by making a claim with your insurance carrier. Our office can handle this claim for you, and we do not take any attorneys’ fees for doing so.
Med-Pay benefits can be paid out to you or any of your family members that are present in the vehicle when the crash occurred or in any situation where you are involved in a pedestrian accident with another vehicle.
Non-family members injured in a car accident can also receive Med-Pay benefits if the vehicle was being driven by you or a family member.
The hospital would not take my health insurance card and told me they will not submit the bill to insurance because I was injured in a motor vehicle collision, what do I do?
It is not uncommon for a hospital to refuse to bill your health insurance, and instead, seek to assert a lien on the proceeds of your personal injury settlement or verdict. While it is not uncommon for hospitals to do so, it is improper for a hospital to engage in this practice. Our office can assist with ensuring that your health insurance pays any medical expenses you may incur. Your personal health insurer may seek reimbursement of whatever they pay on your behalf from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier when the case is settled (through a process called subrogation). Our office will negotiate with your health insurer on the amount they may get reimbursed out of your injury recovery. You should speak to your attorney about your hospital not taking your insurance card.
There are various types of compensation that could be available in the aftermath of a car accident that was caused by another party. This can include:
- Full compensation for medical expenses
- Lost wages if you are unable to work while you recover
- Compensation for physical therapy or rehabilitation
- General household out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of personal enjoyment damages
These expenses will be paid either through a settlement with the insurance carrier of the at-fault party or a verdict after a successful personal injury lawsuit. In circumstances where the at-fault driver who caused the collision lacks insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance, it may be possible to recover some of these expenses and damages from your own auto insurance, or the insurance on the vehicle in which you were riding. If you are working with an attorney for your case, the award money will be sent to your attorney to be put into a trust account where the appropriate costs will be deducted (final attorney fees, any medical liens, other expenses related to the case) and you will receive the final payment. Attorneys’ fees in these types of cases are “contingency-based.” This means that the attorney receives a percentage of your recovery as a fee for the legal work performed on your claim or case. If there is no financial recovery made, then the attorney does not get paid a fee.