Things you should know
- If you have been in a car accident, you should always call the police to report the accident. If you were injured, tell the officer you were injured and to call a paramedic to assess your injury. Even if you don’t go to the hospital, tell the officer that you were injured (if you were injured) and make sure the officer notes all passengers by name in the traffic accident report.
- If you have been injured in an automobile accident, seek immediate medical attention, so your injuries can be properly diagnosed and documented and you can get the medical attention you need.
- If your pain started after leaving the scene of the accident, seek immediate attention.
- There are three main aspects to every car accident:
- Property damage (getting your vehicle repaired as quickly as possible if necessary coverage exists);
- No-Fault (also known as PIP, personal injury protection): to pay up to $20,000 for your own medical bills and up to $20,000 for lost wages and replacement services). There is a hierarchy of coverage:
- No-Fault means it does not matter who was at fault for the accident, your own auto insurance must pay your medical bills (up to $20,000) and lost wages (up to $20,000).
- If you do not have auto insurance and live with a relative who has auto insurance (even if you are not named on their policy), their auto insurance must cover your medical expenses by law and there is no increase in your premiums because it is not a liability claim.
- If you do not have auto insurance and do not live with a resident relative, you may qualify through Minnesota assigned claims. If you qualify, the assigned claims plan will pay your medical bills and lost wages (up to $20,000 each).
- Liability: in many circumstances, you can collect damages from the driver at fault for the accident. If the person that caused the accident was uninsured or didn’t have enough insurance coverage to adequately compensate you, your insurance policy generally has uninsured and underinsured coverage available to compensate you for your damages (then the insurance company will sue the person at fault to recover the damages paid to you).
- Most insurance companies are in business to make money, not give it out. So at some point, they will likely request you to attend an independent medical examination by someone of their choosing. Generally, those independent medical examinations are the basis for the insurance company to stop paying your benefits (because they have deemed that you are better now and don’t need more treatment). You must be prepared for and knowledgeable about these examinations!
- Once your PIP benefits are discontinued, if you are still in pain, you should continue to treat with your doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor. Although your medical bills will continue to accrue, we will have to file for arbitration to have your outstanding medial bills and wage loss paid. If we prevail at arbitration, your insurance company must pay those outstanding bills (or a portion of them) and mandatory interest on those outstanding bills.
- Once you return to pre-injury status or your doctor determines that you have reached maximum medical improvement, you will be released from treatment. We will then begin to gather your medical records from the providers that treated you and prepare a demand to the liability carrier (insurance for the person at fault). This is where you are compensated for your injuries. Typically, approximately nine (9) out of (10) cases usually settle prior to trial. In some cases, litigation becomes necessary to preserve your claim and to seek the compensation you deserve.
- Because everyone’s body heals differently, there is no precise day or time that your case will settle. It could take less than a year or even two years.
- If litigation becomes necessary, your case could continue for approximately another year and your expenses would increase (for court filing fees, deposition fees, and expert witness fees). Also, just because litigation is filed doesn’t mean that you will recover any damages (that will be up to a jury to determine liability and what damages are appropriate).
- Because you have significant rights in automobile accidents, it is always a good idea to have your rights and options explained to you by an experienced attorney.
How WLO can help
- At WLO, we will meet with you as soon as possible after your accident to determine how the accident occurred and explain the process to your and help you fill out the burdensome paperwork so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
- At WLO, we will contact the insurance companies and tell them that you are represented so they will not continue to harass you and you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
- At WLO, we will assess what insurance coverage is available and help you get your vehicle fixed as quickly as possible.
- At WLO, we will work with your medical providers to ensure that your bills are being paid or protected so your treatment is not interrupted until you get better.
- At WLO, we will deal with the insurance companies to ensure that your bills are being paid and any wage loss is being paid to you as a result of missing work.
- At WLO, we will prepare you for any examinations under oath by the insurance companies, prepare you for any independent medical examinations, and also file for arbitration if they stop paying your medical bills.
- At WLO, we will monitor your claim and file a demand packet with the liability carrier to attempt to settle your case so you can be adequately compensated for your damages.
If you need an experienced, aggressive, and knowledgeable attorney on your team… CALL WILSON LAW OFFICE today for your free initial consultation612.377.0500