Personal Injury
Frequently Asked Questions

If you’ve been injured, call us. We’ll help you determine whether you need a lawyer and whether you have a right to monetary damages. The decisions that must be made after an accident or injury are very important and must be addressed quickly. We will be happy to talk to you about your case.

Yes, you may file a claim against the responsible driver’s insurance. It doesn’t matter if you were a passenger in their car or another car involved in the accident. Remember that people have insurance for a reason. The insurance company is ultimately liable for paying your medical bills and other expenses.

As long as you didn’t cause the accident or play a role in causing it, you still have a claim. This applies even if you get a traffic citation for not wearing a seatbelt, for having expired plates or an expired license or other similar violations.

Unfortunately, new cars immediately lose value when you drive them off the lot. The adjuster is required to pay the current value of the car – not what you paid for it.

You may also challenge the insurance company on whether the car is actually “totaled.” For example, if your car is damaged, but not “totaled,” you may have a claim for loss of value. If you try to sell your car after you fix it up, you will not be able to sell it at the standard used-car rate because it was in an accident. You may be able to receive compensation for this “loss of value.”

The same is true if you owe more on your car than it is currently worth. Let’s say your car was totaled, and the fair market value was $10,000. But you still owe $12,000 on your car loan. After insurance reimburses you and you pay off your loan, you’ll still be $2,000 in the hole and without a car to drive. Your only recourse may be to file a lawsuit.

If your injuries prevented you from working after your car accident, you may be able to collect for lost wages. However, you must have documentation from your doctor and employer before the insurance company will consider reimbursing you for lost wages. Your doctor must specify, in writing, that you are unable to return to work for a certain period of time because of your injuries. In addition, your employer will need to complete a form certifying the dates you missed work and your wages.

An attorney can help make sure all the proper forms and paperwork have been completed for a lost wages claim. Even so, the insurance company may deny your claim, so we encourage our clients to return to work as soon as they’re able and medically cleared after an auto accident.

Even if you don’t have healthcare coverage, you may still have treatment options. Most hospital emergency rooms won’t withhold treatment for the uninsured. There also are low-cost or no-cost clinics in most communities around the state. Some medical providers may even be willing to hold their bills until your settlement arrives and you are able to pay. Consult your attorney for advice on how to proceed.

For property damage, you’ll want to file your claim right away. If you plan to sue the driver who hit you for negligence for injuries suffered in the crash, state statutes say you must file within three years, or within two if a death is involved.

Working with an attorney can result in significantly more compensation. In fact, statistics from the national insurance bureau show that claimants represented by an attorney average an award that is more than three times the size of those who represent themselves. Attorneys uncover benefits to which you may not know you’re entitled, deal with rude or nonresponsive adjusters and take a significant burden off your shoulders so you can concentrate on getting better and getting on with your life. They also can help you negotiate with healthcare providers and others to defer billing until your settlement check is in hand.

The answer depends on a number of different factors. You should be compensated for your medical bills and lost wages related to your injuries, both past and future. You also should recover something for the pain and suffering the accident has caused you. If your injuries are serious enough, they may affect you for the rest of your life, and so you should be able to recover your lost earning capacity.

Most attorneys who handle personal injury lawsuits do so on a contingency basis. That means the attorney representing you in your accident case earns no fee unless you win. It also means you won’t need to pay anything out of pocket. You can have expert representation even if you have no job, no savings, no home or no car. Your attorney takes care of all the upfront costs and then takes applicable fees and costs out of your final settlement. Generally, people who are represented by an attorney in an accident case will end up better off financially than those who are not represented.

If you’re like most drivers, you don’t think much about your auto insurance policy or learn how to read your auto insurance policy until after you’ve been in an accident. Then, it’s a scramble to determine if your particular situation is fully covered.

If this sounds like you, please read our article for tips you need to know when learning how to read your insurance policy.

The fair market value of a car is the wholesale price a dealer would pay for it. The insurance company calculates the payout based on this value, minus your deductible. The insurance company uses the fair market value when the car is labeled as a total loss and repairs are determined to cost more than 85% of what the car is worth.

To determine the value of a vehicle, insurance adjusters consider several factors, including: age, make and model, mileage, condition, market value, and availability.

How Is Fair Market Value determined for auto damage?
Why do I need Underinsured Motorist coverage?
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