Q. I was rear-ended and now my neck hurts. What should I do?
A. Your health should be your first concern. Proceed to the emergency room or see your doctor or chiropractor as soon as possible after an accident. If you wait, the insurance company might not relate your pain and treatment to the accident. Follow the recommendations of your health care provider. Continue with care until you recover or you return to your pre-accident health status. The medical notes from your provider will provide important documentation of your injury and symptoms.
Q. The adjuster offered a small settlement for my injury. I just want to get this over with. Should I settle now?
A. A reasonable and fair settlement should compensate you for your injury or disability, your medical bills, your lost wages, certain expenses, pain and suffering during the time of healing from your injury. If you wait until you have recovered to settle the claim, you will know the full extent of your injuries, the total amount of your bills, the full amount of your wage loss, and the actual length of time it took you to heal. If you settle too soon after the accident, the extent of your actual damages is unknown and it is much more difficult for the claims adjuster to accurately evaluate the claim. A settlement soon after the accident may be advantageous to the insurance company because it eliminates any further injury claims. Once the release is signed, you simply cannot come back for more money on any claim.
Q. After my auto accident, I have been treating for my neck injury and my doctor/chiropractor wants to be paid. Will any insurance pay my bills now?
A. If you have medical pay coverage on your car, this is the time to use it. That is a small health insurance coverage that covers bills for injuries in your car. Usually medpay coverage is $1000, $2,000, $5,000 or $10,000 per person and per accident. If you have health insurance, this is the time to use it. You may be able to submit accident-related bills first to the health insurance and then send any deductibles or co-pays to auto medical pay to keep your out of pocket expense down. Both the health insurer and the auto medpay insurer have the right to be reimbursed from the liability settlement. This is called subrogation.
Q. I was rear-ended. My neck hurts but I have no broken bones. The claim paper work seems confusing and I don’t have the time or energy to work on my claim. Would a lawyer be interested in my case?
A. We would be interested in talking to you about the facts of your case.
The claims process can be exhausting and confusing. You deserve to have your questions answered by a knowledgeable attorney. Call us at Hestad Law Office for your free consultation and free claims evaluation. Telephone (608) 273-1600.
Q. After my accident, I received 6-8 letters from attorneys I don't know, solliciting my case. How did these attorneys find out about my accident? Am I required to sign up with any of them?
A. Some attorneys spend a lot of time and money gathering names from accident reports around the state and using the public information from those reports to send out fancy sollicitation letters. You can choose your own lawyer, however. To make a good choice, you can research attorneys on the Internet, look at ads in the Yellow Pages and ask your friends or co-workers for referrals. Call potential lawyers and take note of how you are treated. Did you get to talk to the lawyer or only with an assistant? Did you receive a prompt call back? Your lawyer should be experienced in handling insurance claims, friendly, compassionate, conveniently located. It's important to hire the right lawyer!
Q. If a lawyer handles my claim for me, what legal fees will I have to pay?
A. Most attorneys take auto accident cases on a contingent fee contract. This means that there is no initial charge to you. The legal fee is paid when the case settles. The contingent fee at Hestad Law Office is 30%. Other firms may charge 33.3% to 40% or more.
Q. What are legal costs?
A. If an attorney pays expenses for medical record copies or for the services of an investigator, these payments are called costs. Some attorneys expect the client to pay the costs incurred each month. At Hestad Law Office, we will pay your costs as they are incurred, and you agree to reimburse us for the costs from the settlement funds. Costs usually vary from $50-$400 per injured individual.
Q. How can I be sure that an attorney has experience in handling auto injury settlements?
A. Ask the attorney questions about his or her experience handling claims. Attorney Sally Hestad has handled over 1000 auto accident injury claims. She was a claims adjuster for a major auto insurance company for four years. She worked as an associate for three years and then started Hestad Law Office in 1993, concentrating on settling cases for people hurt in auto accidents.
Please call for your free consultation—608-273-1600.