Frequently Asked Questions:
I was injured in a car accident. How do I get my medical bills paid while I am recovering?
The insurance company for the driver who caused the accident will usually not pay any medical expenses unless the entire claim is settled. Therefore, the injured person usually has to apply to their own car or health insurance for payment while the claim is pending.
An adjuster from an insurance company wants to settle with me and says I do not need a lawyer. What should I do?
Soon after your accident, you may be contacted by an insurance adjuster representing the opposing party who was involved in your accident. The adjuster's goals include an initial investigation of the facts of the incident and an assessment of your potential claim for injuries. The adjuster may offer you a sum for early settlement. You should not sign the required release from liability and accept early settlement until you have talked to an attorney.
Often it takes many months to assess your injury and the consequential loss due to pain and suffering, mental anguish, temporary or permanent disability, lost wages, loss of services to your spouse, and medical expenses. The adjuster wants to settle the claim in the best interest of his insurance company. Premature settlement may not compensate you for additional complications or loss which may occur after you sign the release form as well as any existing "general damages". You must be reasonably assured by your physician of his prognosis before any settlement should occur.
Is my claim worth pursuing?
Every case must be evaluated on its own merits. This requires a careful history of the facts, review of the applicable medical records, and analysis by experienced personnel having access to appropriate sources for research. Experienced personal injury attorneys can often evaluate your claim, and advise you as to the apparent risks, benefits and costs of pursuing your claim without any cost to you. These cases, however, often look different as new information becomes available during the litigation process. Sometimes, the claim becomes stronger as more favorable information comes to light, and sometimes the claim appears weaker. Your attorney should constantly re-evaluate your claims and keep you informed of any developments through good communication.
How long do I have to bring a case?
The law gives various time limits within which to bring a case. These are referred to as "Statutes of Limitation". Determining when a statute expires is complex and depends on many factors such as the type of claim, state where the injury occurred, whether you were a minor at the time of the injury and when you reasonably should have discovered you could bring a claim. You should therefore consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after you are injured to determine when the statute of limitations will expire for your particular claim.