The Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions can be found below.
Following are several “Frequently Asked Questions” that may give you some insight to Horn Law. However, because every case has special circumstances, it is always preferable to arrange free consultation with Lead Attorney Douglas R. Horn (either at a Horn Law Consultation Office or by telephone).
You have a right to have your vehicle repaired to its “pre-accident condition”. You also have a right to a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired. If your vehicle is considered to be a total loss, you have a right to be paid the fair market value of your vehicle.
Many of our clients prefer that we work with the insurance company on the property damage claim. It is common for Horn Law to make sure the insurance inspects your car before it is repaired, arrange for a rental vehicle, and work through the details of a settlement to cover the repairs or value of the totaled car. When we handle the property damage claim, it allows our client to concentrate on his/her injury recovery without having to worry about dealing with the insurance companies. Horn Law handles property damage claims free of charge for their clients.
In some cases, the decision to be represented by an injury lawyer is painfully obvious, such as when your symptoms require medical care, your medical bills are mounting, and your daily routine is altered. But in other situations, the decision is not obvious, and there are cases in which you do not need a lawyer.
For instance, if a collision causes only minor property damage and your injury requires limited medical treatment, you may be able to resolve that kind of case on your own. But there are some cases, which at first do not appear too serious or complicated, where your injuries don’t seem to be getting better.
You also may find yourself in a situation where the insurance company is claiming you have responsibility for the accident. In this case, it is wise to consult with a lawyer. At Horn Law, we offer free consultations and investigations. Over 20 years, we have had experience with thousands of motor vehicle accident cases and injury claims. Horn Law never waivers on the principle that, before we can accept your case, we must be confident that we will provide a substantial benefit to an injured person or his or her family.
Never choose a lawyer based upon an advertisement or a website. Be cautious of a law firm that touts themselves as the “winningest.” While a lawyer’s track record is important, a lawyer’s best work comes when they can devote ample time, attention, and resources to your case.
Visit with the lawyer who will be handling the case and do not settle for a secretary, paralegal, or investigator to take the place. While recovery is important, make sure you know what the lawyer is going to do immediately to advance your case. A lawyer’s work should be pro-active and he or she has a high responsibility to get the case off to the best start.
Finally, judge the culture of the lawyer’s office. Are the staff and paralegal’s friendly and helpful? Does the lawyer and law firm seem to take an interest in your case? How accommodating was the law firm in scheduling the initial meetings? These are some of the important factors that will have a bearing on the success of the case.
In this circumstance, your own insurance company, through your “Uninsured Motorist coverage” steps in and provides coverage to the driver at fault. In effect, your insurance company becomes the insurance company for the driver at fault.
There are 3 questions I am regularly asked about Uninsured Motorist protection:
Question 1. Do I have this type of coverage on my policy? Answer: If you have liability coverage, you automatically have Uninsured Motorist coverage in the same amount as your “Liability” coverage. For instance, if you have “Liability” coverage for $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident, this means that you have Uninsured Motorist coverage in the amount of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident. One reason why some people have their agent raise their Liability coverage is because they will have added protection against an uninsured driver.
Question 2. What does Uninsured Motorist coverage cover? Answer: Uninsured Motorist coverage only pertains to your personal injuries. It does not cover your car damage. In order to cover your car damage, you can make a claim against your “Collision” coverage and your deductible will apply. That is why it is important to consult with an injury lawyer because you must make a full and fair recovery on your personal injury claim to help make up for your deductible charge.
Question 3. Will my insurance premiums increase because I am making a claim against my own insurance company? Answer: Your premiums will not increase because you recover on an Uninsured Motorist claim. In fact, your insurance company may eventually file suit and obtain a judgment against the adverse driver in an attempt to be reimbursed.
A claim on your Uninsured Motorist coverage is just like any other insurance claim. If you are facing this situation, legal representation may be necessary. Contact Attorney Doug Horn for free consultation and investigation.
You are entitled to recovery of all of your medical bills necessary to treat and rehabilitate your injury from the at fault driver’s insurance company. This includes prescription and other expenses that you would not have incurred if you were not injured. It is important that you receive a maximum recovery for your medical expenses, even if your medical bills have been paid by health insurance or some sort of other coverage (ex: Medicare, Medicaid). The reason it is important to maximize your injury settlement is because your health insurance or the government (if covered by Medicare or Medicaid) may make a claim against you for the benefits they provided under your coverage. You don’t want to be caught in a situation where you are stuck with no settlement or a very low settlement because of a medical reimbursement situation.
To insure you will receive a fair and full settlement, legal consultation is necessary in an injury case where your medical expenses have been billed to health insurance or covered by Medicare or Medicaid. You definitely do not want to find yourself in a situation where your insurance settlement is eaten up by the medical bill reimbursement.
After confirming coverage, an adjuster will likely request your recorded statement. I do not recommend that you give any statement to an insurance company without legal advice. While the adjuster may tell you they need this to evaluate your claim, that is not quite true. An adjuster wants to take your statement in order to bolster their defense to the claim. For instance, an adjuster may seek information about your medical history in order to use this information against you later. Also, an adjuster may ask you to explain how the accident happened in order to compare it against what their in-house investigation revealed.
In most injury claims, do not sign an Authorization or fill out any paper work for the insurance company. If your claim involves medical treatment, any type of “insurance information request” should be evaluated by an attorney who is experienced in motor vehicle accident law and crash litigation.
My general rule is that if an insurance claims department is wanting your signature, it is because it favors the insurance company, and works to the claimant’s detriment.
Aggravated liability means that the driver at fault for the collision was recklessly driving. Instances of reckless driving include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Distracted driving caused by cell phone use;
- Driving at a very high rate of speed;
- Road rage or other dangerous driving behavior.
Cases of reckless driving increase the value of your case. Because juries tend to award more compensation to victims of reckless driving, insurance companies have more risk if the case is filed as a lawsuit. When an insurance company has more risk, they are more anxious to settle the case for a higher amount. The key factor in a reckless driving case is to hire a lawyer who will not accept a “customary settlement”, but instead will invest hard work, money and determination.
You should request a free, no charge consultation with a lawyer to find out if the settlement is fair given the special factors in the case. For instance, I never accept a personal injury case unless I have a reasonable expectation that I can make a “substantial” difference for my client. If I can only increase the settlement by several hundred dollars, then it doesn’t make sense for the client to hire our firm. However, if we can make thousands of dollars of difference for an injured person, then that is a case that deserves our full professional efforts, resources, and abilities.