Frequently Asked Questions
What is a fair settlement in a wreck case?
It depends and, contrary to what you may have heard, there is no magic formula in wreck cases. Here are some things to take into account: You will make separate claims for both your property losses and for your personal injuries. For your personal injuries, the law entitles you to be compensated for your medical expenses, your lost wages, other “out of pocket” expenses that are the direct result of the collision, for any permanent impairment or scarring that you suffer, and, for your mental pain and emotional suffering.
What kind of documentation will I need?
An insurance company will look at the entire record of your medical treatment following the wreck, (not necessarily just the bills), any photographs of the damage, receipts for prescription medication or other medical items you had to purchase, plus receipts for any of the other “out of pocket” expenses you want to claim. Also, if you are claiming lost wages as a result of the wreck, you should provide some record from your employer showing the absences that were caused by the wreck and showing what your rate of pay would have been for those days you were out.
What if I am hurting but haven’t gone to a doctor?
The decision about whether or not to seek medical treatment is, of course, a personal decision. You should know, however, that the only way that an insurance company can evaluate a serious injury is to see what an “expert” says about it and they usually defer to doctors to say whether and how seriously someone’s been injured.
What if I can’t afford the medication the doctor prescribed?
You should do everything you can to comply with your doctor’s medical advice. Do tell your doctor if the medicine is not affordable; he or she may be able to come up with an alternative. Do tell your pharmacist, as well. There are some times when a pharmacist can offer a partial prescription or can suggest an over the counter alternative.
Should I give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster?
It depends. You should cooperate with your own insurance company. You may want to give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company if there is a dispute as to how the wreck occurred. An attorney can evaluate the particular circumstances surrounding your claim and advise what is in your best interest.
What if the adjuster asks about my injuries?
Tell the adjuster whether you are still getting medical treatment. Leave talking about what your injuries are to your doctors.
Is there anyway to get medical bills paid before settling my claim?
There may be. Some people carry a “medical payments” policy (“medpay”) which will pay medical bills up to the policy limit (usually, $1000, $2000, or $5000, depending on what the policy holder selected). Medpay may be available to you from your own policy, if you selected such coverage, or, from the policy of the car you were riding in, if it wasn’t your own. You cannot get medpay from the auto policy of the car that collided with yours.
Should I file my medical bills on my health insurance?
YES. Did I say that clearly enough? YES. Depending on your situation, automobile liability insurance coverage may be uncertain or not enough. Health insurance is certain. You pay for the coverage. You’re entitled to it. If the medical provider hesitates, insist they file. If they refuse, call your carrier and tell your health insurance carrier that the provider is not honoring its contract with them. If your health insurance carrier says they may be entitled to reimbursement once you collect from the automobile liability insurance policy, they might be right. Some are entitled to reimbursement, Some are not. But, in any case, there’s plenty of time to work that out AFTER you get the medical treatment you need. Show the provider your health insurance identification card. And by the way, if a health care provider asks you to sign something giving them a right to the proceeds of your settlement from the automobile liability policy, you should speak with a lawyer before you sign. I know you don’t want to get medical advice from your lawyer; likewise, avoid getting legal counsel from your medical provider.
If I have disability insurance, should I use that?
If you are going to be out of work for more than a week because of the collision, you really should. Again, you’ve been paying premiums (one way or another) for just his sort of occurrence. This insurance is meant to protect your income while you recover from an injury. Protecting the income stream will make you less vulnerable to pressure tactics from an automobile liability insurance adjuster.