Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ
What is the first thing to do after an accident?
Obviously, medical attention if needed. Photographs of the scene are helpful, photographs of the vehicles are helpful, avoid taking pictures of you personally, unless there is significant scarring or visible injury. Follow-up medical attention is very important. Many times chiropractors are very helpful with soft tissue injury. Avoid chiropractors that solicit you by telephone. Be especially suspicious of a chiropractor who wants to send you to his lawyer. Both have poor credibility with the insurance company. You really have to ask who the chiropractor’s lawyer is working for. Have a family member or friend recommend a chiropractor to you. Almost all chiropractors will accept medpay from your insurance, or take a protection letter and get paid when the case is settled. You typically don’t have to pay for chiropractic treatment as you receive it.
How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
There are three things that go into a personal injury case; liability, damages, and insurance coverage. You have to analyze all three of these issues as you assess the value of the case. Many times, the exact amount of insurance, damages and residual injury will not be known until months after the initial injury. An attorney can help you with these problems.
The person doesn’t have enough insurance, or no insurance, or got away. What now?
Ohio has what is called Uninsured Underinsured Motorist Coverage. This applies to uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist, hit skip, and motorists that hit you while you are a pedestrian. This family insurance follows you wherever you go, as well as follows family member residents of your household. If you were in a car accident caused by another motorist who has inadequate or no insurance, your insurance company is required by law to pay for any damages or injuries you may have sustained. Your insurance rates will not go up. You will not be canceled. An attorney can help you with these problems.
Will I be able to settle or will I have to go to trial?
Settlement is always best. Insurance companies don’t want to pay. You have to show the insurance company you’re ready, willing, and able to go to trial. Once you do this, many times low offers turn into reasonable offers, negotiation results in successful settlement. Jury trials usually don’t take more than a week. Sometimes a jury trial is the best way to get fair treatment from some insurance companies. An attorney can help you with these problems.
Can a personal injury attorney help my case?
In 1000 ways! A competent attorney reduces the stress and frustration of fighting an unwilling insurance adjuster. The attorney forces the insurance company to deal realistically with your claim. The attorney protects you from filing deadlines, assists you in responding to demands for information, prepares a detailed settlement proposal, prepares a case for trial, and tries the case if needed. An individual no more can prepare and represent himself in these matters than provide his own medical treatment, fix his own car, or roof his own house! People who represent themselves do poorly. An attorney can help you with these problems.
How do I know if I am eligible for compensation?
The law is very complicated. Many times when an insurance company denies the claim or a police officer fails to issue a citation, or where a TV lawyer initially takes the case and then fires the client, a more experienced and knowledgeable attorney will find compensation for the client. An attorney can help you with these problems.
Can my wage loss be covered?
Absolutely! This is true even where the client does not have a medical slip for time off at the time he misses work. The issue is whether the physical injuries and limitations reasonably prevent him from performing the work activities that he is required to perform. The client is encouraged to discuss time off work with his treating Doctor or Chiropractor, the more information that is placed in the medical chart, the easier to substantiate this loss at a later time. An attorney can help you with these problems.
What happens if someone gets killed in an accident?
Here in Ohio, this is known as wrongful death. The probate court appoints a representative for the entire family called the administrator. The case is filed on behalf of the entire family, where the loss is evaluated based upon loss of companionship, support, comfort, and solace, as well as economic damages from the loss of a wage earner, as well as funeral expenses and other related losses. An attorney can help you with these problems.
Is the settlement offer reasonable?
The advantage of a direct settlement is quick, and easy, with no legal fees. With a smaller case, that may be the best option. An attorney would still be willing to review that with you. Again as discussed above, in complex cases, the insurance company does not want to pay a reasonable amount until it is forced to do so through the litigation process. Insurance companies have lawyers on staff working for minimal amounts. It is not expensive for them to litigate cases, they like delay. Anyone looking at this from a business standpoint will see that trying to settle cases for low dollar amounts early on is good business. Paying a reasonable amount in settlement early on is not what the insurance company is all about. An attorney can help you with these problems.