1) I’ve just been in a motor vehicle accident – what do I do now?
If you or a member of your family has been involved in a serious auto accident, trucking accident or motorcycle accident, there are some steps you should take to get the full insurance coverage compensation and benefits for any injuries.
At the scene:
- Call the police.
- Get the name and phone number of any witness who saw the crash.
- Write down a description of the events immediately preceding and following the collision.
- Take photographs of the scene, damage to the vehicles and any visible injuries.
If you have been injured:
- Make sure you visit a doctor as soon as possible. Follow the doctor’s advice completely, including all follow-up treatments.
- Report all injuries to your doctor, even if they seem minor. Having a record of the injury will increase your chances of financial recovery if your medical condition worsens.
- Do not sign any documents presented to you by any insurance company—even your own. It is your right to have an attorney review any insurance company documents before you sign.
2) How do my medical bills get paid?
Tell your doctors and health care providers why you are seeking medical treatment. In some states, auto insurance policies must have special no-fault insurance designed specifically to pay for accident-related treatment.
In Oregon, this insurance is called Personal Injury Protection (PIP); in California and Washington, it is called Med Pay. This coverage will pay for your related medical bills and potentially a portion of your wage loss up to the policy limits.
If your injuries and the cost of care exceed the PIP policy limits, then you may be able to use private health insurance to cover unpaid bills.
Both PIP and health insurance are usually paid back out of any funds you receive from a personal injury claim settlement from the at-fault party or their insurance company. This process is called subrogation. Read more about the process of getting medical bills paid after an automobile crash or other accident.
Medical bills that are not paid by insurance are your personal responsibility. If you do not pay them, they may be submitted to collections agencies.
3) How much is my case worth?
The value of a personal injury case is dependent on many factors. Each case is unique and the value is determined by a number of variables: the severity and permanency of your injuries, your medical treatment, lost wages or lost earning potential, and available insurance.
D’Amore Law Group attorneys can only estimate how much they believe your case is worth after fully reviewing all medical records, employment records and the individual facts of your specific situation.
Finally, the value of your case can change as new information is discovered.
4) Do I have to pay attorney fees up front in my case?
No. D’Amore Law Group cases are taken on a contingency fee basis —meaning that the fees are taken out of any settlement or trial award.
5) How long will this process take?
This depends on a number of factors: how much medical treatment you need, how long it takes to gather all of the necessary records, and negotiations with the insurance companies involved.
Most cases are completed between 6 and 18 months after hiring a lawyer; others can take several years to finalize.
6) What is the likelihood that my case will settle versus going to court?
The majority of cases are settled before a trial is necessary, but there are many factors that can influence the decision to take a case to trial – or there may be no choice. D’Amore Law Group has a reputation among insurance companies for taking cases to trial if a reasonable offer is not made by the insurance company.
If a reasonable settlement is not offered, and you have a strong case, the firm will aggressively pursue the matter in court.
Your attorney should advise you of the risks and potential rewards of going to trial. If your case is going to trial, your lawyer will make sure you are fully prepared to testify and are educated on how the process works.
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