Many people think that hiring an accident attorney will mean that they must go to court. Although it is impossible to make any guarantees, most client’s cases settle out-of-court, saving you the stress and expense of trial. Since any “estimate” to the value of a case and/or the time it will take to settle stands a good chance of being in error, it is inappropriate to predict these things. However, it is to your lawyer’s advantage to obtain the best possible settlement in the shortest period of time – since his or her fee is contingent on the settlement - but an attorney should never commit you to a settlement without your consent.
It is usually advisable to utilize your health insurance or automobile medical payments coverage applicable to the accident. This coverage can be used to pay medical bills within a reasonable time after they are incurred rather than asking health care providers to wait until the case is settled. If you possess this kind of insurance coverage, any benefits payable will not count against you or cause your rates to increase. Health coverage and automobile medical payments coverage do not require someone to be negligent in order for the benefits to be payable.
Due to the nature of this specialized field, the efforts expended by your lawyer may be sporadic – you may not hear from your lawyer’s office on a regular basis. Even so, you should be able to call and receive reasonably timely response – your lawyer shouldn’t leave you in the dark about your own case. Many factors affect the time it takes to obtain a settlement and the following is a brief summary of the most common ones:
When a person is involved in an accident, it is not unusual for financial disruption to occur. Not only is the injured person unable to work, but at the same time may have an increase in financial obligations. If it is fairly obvious that you will be unable to meet your financial obligations, you should immediately notify your various creditors before you become greatly in arrears on your required payments and ask them to suspend your payments until such time as you have returned to work. Usually creditors will understand if they’re told what to expect in advance, and will make reasonable arrangements for payments to be delayed. If necessary, your attorney can contact your creditors for the purpose of verifying the accident and, if requested, agree to protect your creditor’s claim out of the proceeds of any settlement. When checking with your creditors, you should check to see if you have Credit Disability Insurance which makes your loan payments while you are disabled.
Proper health care is essential for 3 crucial reasons:
In a car accident case, when the other party is at fault their liability insurance company is responsible for providing you with a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired. Normally, you will have to rent the car and pay for it first. You are also responsible for insurance, tax, and gas on the rental car. The insurance company will then reimburse you after they receive the rental bill.
Do not discuss the accident with anyone other than your lawyer and your doctors. If anyone questions you about your case, tell them that you’ve been instructed not to discuss your case. Refer all inquiries to your lawyer.
Your lawyer will instruct you on a variety of things you can do (or avoid doing) to help protect your personal injury case. Usually, the following types of recommendations are given:
Having an experienced lawyer handle your injury case not only ensures that you are compensated to the extent required by law, but should also relieve much of the burden of dealing with insurance companies and creditors. If you have yet to hire a lawyer and are considering it, see this series on finding and choosing the right injury lawyer.