Personal Injury FAQ

WILL I HAVE TO PAY ANYTHING BEFORE THE CASE IS SETTLED?

No, there will be no charge until there is a recovery.

WHAT IS A SUBROGATED INTEREST?

If the medical bills resulting from this accident are paid through your health insurance, automobile insurance, or a medical assistance program, and a recovery is made, the company who has paid your bills may want to be repaid from your recovery. This is called a subrogated claim. Any insurance company that puts in a subrogated claim will negotiate with your attorney. Your attorney is not pursuing this claim so your health or auto insurer will get its money back. The only person he represents, is you. We do not work for insurance companies.

WHAT ARE OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES?

The out-of-pocket expenses are:

  1. Healthcare: At some point we will need a certified copy of your medical records. Each hospital and clinic has their own charge for copying records.
  2. Filing fees: If your case is put in suit, the county charges a fee for filing a lawsuit. The amount of the filing fee varies depending on the county but are less than $200.00. Just because you have hired an attorney does not mean that there will be a lawsuit.
  3. Telephone expenses: Charges for conference calls, etc.
  4. Doctors charges for testifying: This is the largest expense. If you have been treating with a doctor or chiropractor because of injuries due to your accident, your attorney will need to ask them to testify about your condition and their treatment. Your attorney has no control over what the doctor or chiropractor charges for their time.

DO YOU PERIODICALLY SEND CLIENTS A SUMMARY OF THEIR OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES?

Not unless they request a summary.

ARE CLIENTS CHARGED FOR THE LETTERS YOU SEND THEM?

No.

WILL I HAVE TO GO TO TRIAL?

The majority of cases settle without going to trial. However, it is impossible to predict which cases will settle and which will not. If the insurance company is unwilling to offer you a fair and reasonable settlement, your attorney will choose to present the facts to a jury for them to decide on a reasonable settlement.

WHAT IF I DECIDE I WANT TO SETTLE MY CASE?

Your attorney will tell you of any offers of settlement. You make the decision whether or not the offer is acceptable.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SETTLE MY CASE?

You should assume that it will take at least a year from the date the case is placed in suit. Doctors and chiropractors will not usually give an opinion about the permanency of your injury until a year from the date of the accident. It is important that your case is not settled until we know the full extent of any permanent injury if we are to produce the fairest result.

IF I CHOOSE THE HOURLY RATE OPTION, DO I STILL HAVE TO PAY THE OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES?

Yes. You will be charged the attorney’s hourly rate fee plus out-of-pocket expenses. These costs are billed to you on a monthly basis. You would also be asked to put down a significant retainer fee. You would have to pay these costs whether the attorney does or does not make a recovery. You would also have to sign a different fee agreement. Most clients do not choose this option.

I’VE BEEN HURT IN A CAR WRECK. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

If you’ve been hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation from that person. You should contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can assist you with the process.

You should also immediately gather as much information about your accident and injury as you can, including pictures of vehicles involved or the place you fell; a copy of your vehicle’s repair estimate; a copy of the accident report; information about the person who caused the accident and his insurance company; your medical records and bills; work excuse slips; and anything else that might help the attorney.

Some insurance companies have recently begun trying to convince injured people that they do not need attorneys and that the insurance company will assist them with their claims. In most cases this is not true and is the insurance company trying to settle your claim for less than its full value. In fact, many states are now prohibiting insurance companies from telling injured people that they do not need attorneys, and several states have even punished insurance companies for continuing to do so.

I WAS RECENTLY INJURED AN ACCIDENT, AND AN INSURANCE ADJUSTER WANTS TO TAKE MY STATEMENT ABOUT THE ACCIDENT? WHAT SHOULD I DO?

You should contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. You are under no legal obligation to give any statement to the responsible person’s insurance company. Insurance companies often obtain statements from victims very shortly after an accident while the victims are still in pain, under medication and before they know the true extent of their injuries. As a result, victims are often unable to give full and detailed explanations or statements concerning the accident and their injuries. The insurance companies then sometimes later use these premature statements to try to hurt the victim’s case. Insurance adjusters are trained to obtain statements from victims that will damage their case. You should never give a statement to the responsible person’s insurance company without first discussing your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE TO PAY MY MEDICAL BILLS?

You are always responsible for your own medical bills. However, if you are injured by the negligence of another person, you may be entitled to recover the amount of your medical bills, as well other types of compensation. However, in most cases the responsible person’s insurance company will not pay your bills as you incur them. Instead, the insurance company will wait until you have completely finished all of your medical treatment to make you a settlement offer. Therefore, you should always file your bills with your health insurance provider, including Medicaid/Medicare, to insure that most of your bills are paid on time so that your credit is not affected. If you do not have health insurance or Medicaid/Medicare, you should attempt to arrange for some type of payment plan with your doctors until your settlement is final in order to protect your credit. Even if someone else is at fault, if you fail to pay your bills it can hurt or destroy your credit.

IF MY HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY PAYS MY MEDICAL BILLS, CAN I STILL RECOVER THEM FROM THE OTHER PERSON?

Yes. However, some health insurance plans (Medicaid; Medicare; Champus; self-funded ERISA; worker’s compensation) are entitled to at least partial reimbursement from your settlement. Many times the amount that you have to pay back to your health insurance company is less than the amount of the original bill. Regardless, you are always better off by having your own health insurance company pay your bills as you go through your treatment than by not paying your medical bills and hurting your credit while waiting for your settlement.

WHAT TYPES OF COMPENSATION AM I ENTITLED TO IF I GET HURT?

If you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to any or all of the following types of compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in making sure that you recover fair compensation for all of your injuries.

property damage
loss of the use of your property, i.e., vehicle
medical bills
future medical bills
lost wages
lost income
lost vacation or sick-leave time
loss of future earnings
loss of future earning capacity
permanent scars
loss of the use of a body part
physical pain
mental suffering and aggravation
future pain and suffering
permanent disability
grief and heartache
funeral bills
burial expenses

WHAT IF THE INSURANCE COMPANY DOES NOT OFFER ME A FAIR SETTLEMENT?

Insurance companies are supposed to offer victims reasonable and fair compensation in a timely manner. However, insurance companies are in business to make money, and that depends in part upon them saving as much money as they can on each claim, including yours. You need an experienced personal injury attorney to make sure that you get the compensation that you are allowed by law. If you are unable to reach a fair settlement with the insurance company, then an experienced personal injury attorney can file a lawsuit for you in the proper court to recover all of your legal damages.

HOW DO I PAY THE ATTORNEY?

Most personal injury attorneys, including our firm, work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay the attorney’s fees once you collect. In most cases, if you do not recover compensation for your injuries, then you do not owe any attorney’s fees. Of course, the out-of-pocket expenses necessary to process or ligitate your claim are your responsibility whether or not you recover money damages.

HOW LONG CAN I WAIT BEFORE MAKING A CLAIM OR ACCEPTING A SETTLEMENT FOR MY INJURIES?

If you are injured by someone else’s negligence, The law generally allows three years to file your lawsuit in court. If someone else intentionally injures you, you may have only one year to file suit. If you fail to do so within that time period, in most cases you will forever lose your right to file a claim or lawsuit. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, and you should consult with an experienced personal injury to get answers about your specific case.

WHAT IF I AM JUST A LITTLE SORE?

Go to a Doctor. Being just a little sore today can result in a more serious injury tomorrow.

Many injuries often get worse before they get better, and, if left untreated, can linger for an extended period of time. Going to a Doctor not only gets the healing process started, it provides medical documentation of your injuries. Toughing it out only benefits the insurance company, and the longer you wait, the more opportunity you give them to claim that something other than the accident caused the injuries.

DO I NEED TO GO TO A MEDICAL DOCTOR?

You should go to whomever you feel can best deal with your injuries. For some soft-tissue injuries (no broken bones, no nerve damage), many of our clients find that chiropractors give them quicker and better relief. Going to a medical doctor is NOT REQUIRED in order to pursue a personal injury claim. If you choose to go to a chiropractor or other health care professional, you are still entitled to compensation.

WHAT AM I ENTITLED TO BE COMPENSATED FOR?

You are entitled to recover all costs of treatment, and for any costs associated with treatment, such as transportation to and from the Doctor or prescriptions. You are also entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, and any loss of earnings resulting from the injury. In addition, if you have suffered a permanent injury you are entitled to be compensated for that and for the costs of future treatment.

Depending on your particular situation, there may be other items for which you are entitled to be compensated. The primary criteria is whether or not the loss or expense was caused by or resulted from your injuries.

CAN I USE MY HEALTH INSURANCE TO PAY FOR TREATMENT?

Yes, using your own health insurance does not affect your right to be reimbursed by the other driver’s insurance. Depending on your particular health plan, you may be required to reimburse the health plan for all or part of the costs from your settlement.

IF THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED WHILE I WAS WORKING, AM I ENTITLED TO WORKERS’ COMPENSATION?

Yes. But if the worker’s comp insurer pays for it will be entitled to some reimbursement from the settlement. In addition, medical payments coverage may be available under one or more automobile policies to pay towards your medical bills. Here too, your right to reimbursement from the liability carrier is not affected, but, in most cases, reimbursement is not required.

Get a Free Consultation

This Tucson, Arizona lawyer has been successful in representing his clients because of his personal approach, his experience with and knowledge of the law, his responsiveness to clients’ questions and needs, and his overall committment to his clients. Think carefully about the legal services you require. Lawyers should be selected for their expertise and experience in specific categories of cases. Often, people begin looking for a lawyer to represent them when they are confronted with a crisis. Be sure to file your claim quick so you don’t get caught at the end of your statute of limitations. Let our Arizona lawyer work for you. Sometimes, choosing a lawyer can be hard; our Arizona lawyer is the best choice because of experience and knowledge. Call a Arizona lawyer you can rely upon to vigorously pursue your claim. The United States is both the most successful economy and the most complicated legal society in the history of the world. Be sure to get a free consultation to find out the nature of your case.