AUTO AND MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT FAQS
What should I do after an auto accident?
Immediately following an accident, there are a few things you can do to help preserve evidence and make it easier for you to receive maximum compensation in the future. Try to photograph the scene including the street you're on, damage to vehicles, damage to property, and any injuries on your body. If you have suffered any physical injury, make sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible! This is not only for your own health and safety, but it will also help your claim. Make sure you continue to seek treatment and go your medical appointments until you feel like your injuries have fully healed. If you don't receive treatment, the defending counsel can use this against you.
How will my bills be paid after an accident?
Payment for your medical bills following an automobile accident will depend on whether you have health insurance, medical payment insurance, or no insurance.
Health insurance: If you have health insurance, you can submit the bills to your health insurance company. The bills will be paid. However, your health insurance company will have what is known as a “subrogated lien”. Through their subrogated lien, the medical insurance company will want reimbursement of the money they spent on your medical treatment. They will seek this reimbursement from the settlement money you receive from the person who caused the accident.
Medical payment insurance: Automobile insurance companies offer a type of insurance called “medical payment insurance” (a.k.a. “med pay”). It is not automatically part of someone’s automobile insurance. However, if you have med pay insurance, you can use that to pay off medical bills as they are incurred. Similar to health insurance, however, your med pay provider will have a subrogated lien for which they will seek reimbursement from the settlement money you receive from the person who caused the accident.
No Insurance: It is not unusual that a person involved in an automobile accident does not have health insurance or medical payment insurance. Unfortunately, under such circumstances, the medical providers who treated their injuries often seek payment directly from the injured person. If ignored, those bills can be sent to bill collectors. Fortunately, if the injured party is represented by an experienced personal injury attorney, that attorney can frequently contact the medical providers and convince them to refrain from sending the bills to collections until the claim has been settled. Money from the settlement would then be used to pay off those medical provider bills.
What types of damages am I entitled to after an accident?
If you are injured in a car accident, your life can be altered in many ways. These alterations often make you eligible to receive compensation. You can receive reimbursement for a number of things, including:
Damage done to your vehicle: This typically would involve having the responsible party’s insurance company pay to have your car repaired. However, if the damage to your vehicle is significant enough, it may be declared a total loss. Under such circumstances, you would be entitled to the fair market value of your vehicle as of the date of the accident.
Medical bills: You can receive reimbursement for any medical treatment you received in the past, and any you will need in the future, as a result of your accident-related injuries. This includes out-of-pocket expenses such as medication and any special medical equipment you need for your accident-related injuries.
Lost past and future wages: If you had to take time off from work due to the accident, you can also be reimbursed for any wages you missed or PTO you used. If your injuries prevent you from being able to work in the future, or significantly limit your ability to work, you are also entitled to compensation for lost future income.
Out-Of-Pocket Expenses and Outstanding Accident-Related Bills: This category is sort of a ‘catch-all’ for anything you were forced to pay with your own money because of the accident.
This includes such things as accumulated medical bills, medication expenses, costs of needed medical equipment, and other accident-related expenses you aren’t able to afford and aren’t covered by any insurance you have.
Physical pain: Physical pain is typically part of auto accidents, and it can often take months or years for the pain to dissipate. Sometimes the pain never goes away. Regardless of whether the pain is temporary or permanent, you are entitled to compensation for your past and future pain.
Mental suffering: Accident-related injuries can have a significant impact on one’s psychological and emotional health, causing someone to be unable to engage in a wide variety of activities they enjoyed prior to the accident. These activities can include exercising, going on trips or vacations, caring for children, doing household chores, driving, spending quality time with ones spouse, engaging in hobbies, etc. Depression, anxiety, and stress often accompany auto accidents and the events surrounding them. Thus, you are entitled to compensation for this loss.
Loss of consortium: The injuries someone sustains in an accident, and the pain and suffering caused by those injuries, can negatively impact important relationships that person has. For example, being unable to engage in family activities, like traveling and doing chores, may put a strain on one’s relationship with a spouse and children. When accident-related injuries negatively impact a person’s relationships with beloved family members, the injured person’s spouse and children have a right to compensation as well.
What symptoms should I watch out for after a car accident?
Some symptoms to look out for after a car accident that may not appear immediately are swelling, neck pain, back pain, nausea, dizziness, headaches, confusion, mental fogginess, sensitivity to light and/or sound, and numbness and tingling in your arms and/or legs. All these symptoms could be signs that you sustained severe injuries in the accident. If you have visible injuries at the scene of the crash, attempt to take pictures to document your injuries for your doctor and the insurance company. This could include cuts, scrapes, and facial injuries. Please also ensure you obtain medical treatment early, as that will help maximize your chances of making a full and timely recovery.
Although it is impossible to provide a complete list of injuries that can result from a car accident, some common conditions caused by car accidents are as follows.
Soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains, and contusions
Mental health conditions such as PTSD
What happens if I miss work due to my injuries?
Regrettably, it is common that people miss work after an automobile accident. Some people have personal time off (PTO) they can use while they are off work to ensure they don’t miss out on wage payment. Others, however, have no personal time off. For those individuals, they simply don’t get paid for the days they can’t work due to the accident. Regardless of whether you had to use personal time off or simply were paid for the time you missed from work following an accident, you’re entitled to compensation equal to the amount of time you missed work. An experienced personal injury attorney can help ensure you maximize the amount of compensation you receive for any time you had to miss work following an accident.
Why is the insurance company refusing to admit fault?
It is standard practice that the insurance company for the person who caused the accident will not admit fault. Under Ohio law, the injured party is responsible for proving who caused the accident as well as the damages resulting from that accident. Consequently, the insurance companies see no reason or benefit to admitting fault unless forced to. An experienced personal injury attorney can help cut through the red tape on this issue and get the insurance companies to admit fault earlier so the injured person’s claim can be resolved as quickly as possible.
Why is my own insurance company paying my medical bills?
Who pays your medical bills following the accident depends on whether you have insurance and, if you do, what type of insurance you have. If you have medical insurance, your medical insurance company will typically pay your medical bills following an automobile accident. Sometimes people have a special type of automobile insurance called medical payment insurance (a.k.a. “med pay”). Regardless of whether the injured person has medical insurance or med pay, whatever insurance company pays for the medical bills following the accident will have a “subrogation lien” for which they will seek reimbursement when the injured party receives a settlement payment.
What should I ask an attorney before hiring them?
Before you hire an attorney to help you receive compensation for automobile accident injuries make sure to ask them these questions:
How long have you been practicing law?
How many years have you been handling automobile accidents?
What percentage of your practice do automobile accident cases make up?
What is your fee structure?
In order to ensure that you will receive the full compensation in which you are entitled to, make sure you hire an attorney that specializes in, and has plenty of experience in, automobile accident cases.
Will I have to pay out of pocket for help from an attorney?
The simple answer to this question is “no”. For people injured in automobile accidents, the attorney will typically work on what is known as a “contingency fee” basis. That means the attorney’s fee will be based on the amount of money obtained for the injured party. Specifically, the attorney will receive a certain percentage of the amount of money received by the injured party. Typically, that percentage is 33.33%.
What documents can I use as evidence in an auto accident claim?
Although it is frustrating and seems unfair, the person who didn’t cause the accident, but sustained injuries, is responsible for proving that those injuries and damages exist and are a result of the accident. There are many different ways you can prove this, and depending on the type of claim you are making, you will need to present different types of evidence as proof of your damages. . Although everyone’s case is different, the following documents are commonly used to prove auto accident-related injuries and damages:
Medical Records: You will need to provide medical records regarding the treatment for your auto accident-related injuries. You may also be asked to provide medical records from before the accident. The insurance adjuster or defense attorney will use these pre-accident records to determine if your injuries pre-existed the accident.
Past Medical Bills Relating to the Accident: In order to receive compensation for medical bills incurred as a result of your accident-related injuries, you will need to provide proof of those bills.
Future Medical Bills Relating to the Accident: Sometimes injuries are so severe, they continue to require medical treatment up through the time the claim is settled and beyond. You’re entitled to compensation for future medical bills you will be required to incur as a result of your accident-related injuries. In order to receive compensation for medical bills you will incur in the future, you will be required to provide evidence demonstrating what medical treatment you will likely require in the future, along with the probable cost of such future medical treatment. This is typically accomplished by obtaining written statements from medical providers detailing what medical treatment you will need in the future and how much it will likely cost.
Past Lost Wage Documentation: If you want to be paid for income you lost as a result of missing work due to your accident-related injuries, you will need to provide evidence demonstrating how much income you have lost. Your wage loss claim can be proven by providing records from your employer showing how much you earned per hour at the time of the accident as well as attendance records proving the amount of time you missed from work. Depending on the type of job you have and the length of time you were unable to work following the accident, your wage loss claim might be able to be proven through the use of your tax documentation from up to a few years prior to the accident through the point you were able to return to work without restrictions.
Future Lost Wage Documentation: Sometimes injuries are so severe, they continue to prevent an individual from working up through the time the claim is settled and beyond. With the necessary supporting evidentiary documentation, you can receive compensation for wages and income you will lose in the future due to your accident-related injuries. Typically, this involves providing documentation adequately demonstrating the income you would earn into the future, along with written statements from medical providers explaining how long you will likely be unable to work and how your inability to work in the future was caused by your accident-related injuries.
Photographs of damage to your vehicle: The amount of damage to your vehicle will play a role in terms of how injured the insurance adjuster and/or defense counsel believes you to be. Photographs of damage your vehicle will also play a role in how much insurance company will pay you to get your car repaired or declared a total loss.
Photographs of physical injuries (if visible): Physical signs of injury can include pictures of cuts, bruises, scars and other damage to the outside of the body. You will want to provide those photographs to your attorney to help demonstrate the severity of your injuries.
Proof of out-of-pocket expenses: Many people who are involved in an auto accident are forced to pay for things that they would not have needed had they not been involved in an automobile accident. If you incur these types of expenses, you are entitled to reimbursement for them. Be careful to carefully document all out of pocket expenses, however, as you most likely won’t get paid unless you can provide the insurance adjuster or defense attorney with receipts.
Proof of outstanding bills related to the accident: Sometimes people who have been injured in a car accident don’t have the ability to pay their bills as they become due. If you have unpaid bills that you were forced to incur because of the accident, you are entitled to compensation for those unpaid bills so you can pay them off.
What can I expect during the negotiations phase?
After you have supplied the insurance company with all the necessary evidence and documentation, negotiations can begin. Typically, this starts with you and your attorney drafting and submitting a demand asking the liable party and their insurance company for a specific amount of money as compensation for your injuries and damages. When this initial demand has been made, the insurance adjuster or defense attorney will review the evidence and decide as to how much they believe you should receive. Don’t be alarmed if the initial offer is shockingly low. It is common for insurance companies to offer as little as possible to settle a claim. In fact, an insurance adjuster’s goal is to get your claim closed as quickly and cheaply as possible. An experienced personal injury attorney will know
the insurance industry’s tactics, and plan for them, so you receive the full amount of money you are entitled to.
After receiving the offer of settlement from the insurance adjuster or defense attorney, you will need to respond to it. If they haven’t offered you the amount you originally requested, the demand will need to be lowered in order to keep negotiations going. This process of going back and forth with various demands and offers can take a while. Usually, a settlement is typically reached. Sometimes, an agreement cannot be made, and a settlement cannot be obtained. Under those circumstances, your case will need to be presented to a jury to receive compensation. The jury will decide how much compensation you should receive.
In this instance, an experienced personal injury attorney will be essential to your case. At DuPont & Blumenstiel, our attorneys have decades of experience in presenting our clients’ stories to juries in a way that is easy to understand and appreciate. We are confident we can present your case in the best way possible. Give us a call at 614-408-0529.
How much is my car accident claim worth?
Auto accident settlements can vary widely based on multiple factors. Your settlement will be based on the damages you experienced. It is smart for you to keep track of any expenses you've had due to the accident, this way you will have an idea of what your settlement might be.
You can receive compensation for past and future medical expenses, property damage, past and future lost wages, and pain and suffering.
There is no cap on the amount of economic damages you can collect (things you have some kind of receipt or invoice for). There is, however, a cap on the amount of pain and suffering you can receive.
Pain and suffering is a bit more difficult to calculate, because it is subjective. The maximum amount of pain and suffering compensation a person can recieve in an auto accident case is between $250,000 and $350,000 based on the severity of the accident.