- How long is my case going to take?
Unfortunately, we cannot give an exact time frame on how long your case is going to take. Some cases can resolve within 6 months, while others may take years. Every case is different and is dependent on the severity of your injuries, your treatment, the available insurance coverage, and of how willing the insurance carriers are to negotiate. Once you’ve concluded treatment and we have prepared a demand on your behalf, we will be able to a gage a better time frame. Generally, car crash cases are usually resolved within a year. Fall cases and premises liability cases usually take over a year to resolve.
- Who handles my car and property damage?
Typically, the property damage claim (repairs to the vehicle, rental car, etc.) is handled by the client and the insurance carrier. However, we are more than happy to help assist you with making the process smoother. If your vehicle has been taken to a tow yard, it is important to mitigate your own damages and get the vehicle removed to another location, such as your residence, so that it is not incurring daily fees. If you have collision coverage on your own insurance policy, you have the option of paying your deductible and getting your repairs handled through them. If you choose to go through your own insurance carrier for the repairs, once the body shop has repaired your vehicle, your insurance carrier will pay the body shop and then subrogate the total amount, including your deductible, from the third-party insurance carrier. If you choose not to go through your own insurance carrier for repairs or you do not have collision coverage, you will have to wait until the third-party finalizes their liability investigation for them to handle the property damage. They have 30 days from the time of the crash to conduct their own investigation and accept/deny/determine liability. Once concluded and they have decided as to who is liable, they will be in contact with you to resolve your property damage claim. As always, we are here to answer any questions and to help guide you in this process.
- If I miss work due to my accident and injuries, can I recover lost wages on my case?
What happens if I lose my job as a result of my injuries?
In addition to your bodily injuries and property damage, we can also submit a claim for lost wages on your behalf. For us to properly submit this claim, we strongly advise you keep close documentation of any and all days missed and provide us with any related termination or wage loss documents. Please be advised that wage loss damages are taxable damages (medical bills and pain and suffering are not taxable damages).
- What if I don’t feel the auto insurance company is making a fair offer on my car?
Typically, the auto insurance companies base their offer on the current market value of your vehicle. Often time, they will research to see the last 4 vehicles sold in your county that are the same/similar in make/model/mileage and then take the average of them. If the amount they are offering, minus tow yard expenses, is within the Kelly Blue Book value of your vehicle, then the offer is typically fair. Should you have any questions regarding the value of your vehicle, we will be more than happy to look at their offer amount and provide our opinion.
- If I make an uninsured motorist claim, will my insurance rates go up?
If you are not at fault for the crash, then your insurance rates should not go up, regardless if an uninsured motorist claim is made or not.
- How do my medical bills get paid?
If you have visited a hospital, emergency room, or urgent care and have health insurance, it is very important that you monitor those bills and make sure that your health insurance is making payments. For all other treatment, it will depend on the available coverage for this claim. Should the coverage allow, we will consent for you to treat under an attorney lien. The medical bills contingent with the attorney lien will then get paid at the resolution of your claim and will be taken from the total settlement amount. Bear in mind at the end of the case if your health insurance carrier paid any of the medical bills related to the crash/incident, the health insurance carrier may make a claim to be paid back with the settlement funds (subrogation claim).
- Should I use my own health insurance?
In some cases, it may be more beneficial for you to use your health insurance. If you use your health insurance, you will only be responsible for your co-pays and at most, a subrogation lien from your health insurance carrier, which will be paid at the resolution of your claim and amount to much less (only the contractual amounts paid by your insurance vs. complete billed amounts) then an amount due on an attorney lien. Whenever possible, you should use your health insurance for the ambulance and all emergency room-related bills.
- What if I have already talked to the other party’s insurance company?
Please notify us of any communication you’ve had with the other party and if you’ve given a recorded statement or simply a normal conversation after the crash/incident. If they attempt to make further contact with you, let them know you are now represented by an attorney and that any and all communication should go through our office. They should no longer be contacting you with regards to this accident. Please let us know if they attempt to contact you after you have retained Southwest Injury Law.
- What if I am partly to blame for the personal injury accident?
In some cases, the insurance carrier may place a percentage of fault on to you. If there is a substantial percentage of fault on the other party, we will be able to pursue your claim. Police reports are extremely helpful with instances like these, in that they will help outline what happened in the accident and who is at fault.
- Will I go to court?
Typically, you will not have to go to court. Should we have to file suit in your claim, you may be required to submit to a deposition (which we will represent you at), report to an Independent Medical Evaluation, and attend an arbitration/mediation hearing/trial. Remember that 95% of cases do not make it to trial! Most settle before trial occurs!
- What are you able to recover compensation for?
We can recover for your pain and suffering, related medical expenses, out of pocket expenses, wage loss, loss of use, and your future medical costs. The amount that can be recovered will be contingent on the available coverage of the insurance policies. A medical provider has to give an opinion that your medical care is related to the crash/incident to be admissible at trial. This includes future medical costs.
- What happens if I skip my doctor appointments or have a gap on treatment?
We highly advise that you do not miss/skip any doctor appointments. It is extremely important that you remain consistent with your treatment, follow all doctor recommendations, and avoid any gaps. Inconsistency and gaps in treatment can pose several issues with the insurance carriers when we are trying to resolve your claim. If you miss an appointment with a medical provider, it is best to reschedule another appointment ASAP.
- What if I have previous injuries?
Many of our clients have previous medical injuries before the crash. It is ok. This is common. It is important you notify all your medical providers and your attorneys of any and all prior existing injuries and the names of prior medical providers. Some prior injuries can be exacerbated/aggravated by the crash/incident and proper medical documentation indicative of this will benefit your claim.
- What happens if I have car crash/fall/work comp claims that happened before this claim?
Many of our clients have previous claims and before the crash. It is ok. This is common Like any prior injuries, it is important to notify us of any prior injury claims, so that we are to retrieve the corresponding files. Please let your attorneys and medical providers know of all previous car crash, fall and work comp claims. This is very important! Help us help you!