Over the years we have successfully handled hundreds of personal injury cases of various types, including but not limited to, automobile and trucking accidents, motorcycle and bicycle accidents, wrongful death actions, medical malpractice, defamation, dog bites and slip/fall injuries. We know how important your case is to you, and we will make sure your interests are fully protected. We pride ourselves on the personal relationships we develop with our clients and encourage your frequent contact with our office during the course of your case.
Most personal injury cases involve automobile, trucking, motorcycle or bike accidents. If you are injured from one of these type of events, below are things you should know and expect from our office.
1. Your Case is Confidential- You should cooperate with your own insurance company. You must notify your agent of your accident. However, since what you say may have a bearing on your case, avoid making statements, either written or oral, to anyone until you have first consulted with our office.
2. Medical Treatment and Appointments- You should return to each of the doctors involved in the treatment for your injuries as often as he or she feels it is necessary. It is important that you talk freely with your doctors, relating to them all the pain, discomfort and symptoms that you suffer. Be sure to call our secretary after each time you see any of your doctors. Let her know what the doctor said, whether medication was prescribed, and the date of the next appointment. This information will allow us to obtain your doctor’s reports and office notes promptly. You should also let our secretary know when your doctor releases you to return to work and the date you are released from his/her care.
3. Records- It is important that you send to our office any receipts or bills you receive as a result of the accident. We will also need a record of the wages you lose as a result of the accident. Your medical bills, lost wages and other direct losses resulting from your accident are what is known as your “special damages.” These special damages along with your doctor’s reports are the “tools” we need to work towards a settlement of your case.
4. Payment of Medical Bills- We will need an authorization for the release of medical information and authorization to pay all unpaid bills at the time of your settlement. If you have a medical insurance policy (for example, Anthem) that will pay all or a portion of your medical bills, let them pay as much as they can. This will potentially put more of the settlement funds in your pocket. So take advantage of all medical insurance benefits that you are entitled to receive.
5. Medical Payments Insurance Coverage-To be sure you receive payment for all of the medical expenses and reimbursements to which you are entitled, we will want you to obtain the insurance policy of your vehicles, and if you were a passenger, then the insurance policy for that vehicle. We will also want to see any automobile policies that you or a family household member may have on other vehicles even if the covered vehicle was not involved in the accident. If such coverage exists, we may be able to collect additional medical benefits for you at no cost to you.
6. Property Damage- If your vehicle was damaged in the accident, it is very possible that the insurance company for the other driver will pay to have your vehicle repaired. Sometimes the other insurance company is from out of state and they may hire an independent adjuster. Often these independent adjusters do not have the authority to make quick property damage settlements. In other instances, the other driver’s insurance carrier may not be willing, for a variety of reasons, to settle the property damage quickly. Because of these reasons, it may be necessary for your insurance company, if you have collision coverage, to pay your property damage. If this is the case, we will recover any deductible amount that was not covered by your policy at the time of settling your personal injury claim. As a courtesy to our clients, the property damage portion of your claim is handled at no additional expense.
7. Car Rental- If you will need transportation while your car is being repaired, we will need to discuss the rental car availabilty. Many times the other driver’s insurance company will agree to provide a rental car to you. Sometimes your insurance company will provide you with a rental car. These matters will need to be discussed, and we will be happy to facilitate the rental arrangements for you.
8. Repairs- Please do not have your vehicle repaired before photographs of your vehicle are taken. These photographs are very helpful in winning your case if we have to go to trial.
9. Witnesses- We will ask you to furnish us with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses to your accident, as well as persons who can testify as to how your injuries have affected you. These witnesses can be family, friends, and co-workers.
10. Progress of Your Case- Work will begin on your case following your initial interview and after you have retained our services. We will put the various insurance companies on notice of your claim. We will also write your doctors for copies of their preliminary reports. If necessary, a private investigator will be assigned to investigate the details of your accident. In major injury cases, if the other driver was charged with a traffic violation, we usually have a court reporter present at the hearing of the other party’s case. This is done so we can have an accurate record of the testimony. Once the liability of the other driver has been “firmed up”, we will follow the progress of your recovery by obtaining reports from your attending physicians. Your claim will be submitted to the insurance company for settlement when your doctor is in a position to state, with reasonable certainty, that you have reached maximum medical cure. We will discuss any offers for settlement with you as soon as we receive them. We will give you our recommendation on the offers at that time. Should you and we decide that the offer made by the insurance company is not sufficient to compensate you fully for your injury, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf.
11. Trial and Settlement- Once a lawsuit has been filed, there will be a period of time in which both sides will have an opportunity to discover all the facts. This is done through written questions and requests for documents as well as through depositions. The defendant’s attorney will generally take your deposition in our office. We will meet and fully prepare you before any questions are asked of you. We will also take the deposition of the driver at fault in your accident. As the trial date approaches, we will continue to keep you advised of all developments. We will explain to you any pre-trial procedures that may apply to your case. The fact that we have started your lawsuit does not mean that your case will be tried in court. The vast majority of the cases in which suit is filed are settled prior to the scheduled trial date. Settlement of proceeds, whether by suit or compromise, will take place in our office. Upon your signing a “Release of Claim,” you will receive the proceeds due you for your injury.