You have been injured in a motor vehicle accident….Now what?
If you have been hurt in an accident it won’t be very long until you feel that no one is really in your corner.
If you have been hurt in an accident it won’t be very long until you feel that no one is really in your corner. You will become disillusioned when you find out that the claims of most claimants injured in car accidents are initially treated within the framework of the “Minor Injury Guideline” and that your own insurance has little incentive to assist you in accessing the treatment you will require to make the best possible recovery from your injuries.
Finding treatment providers who provide a high level of care and service and who are also HCAI licenced will be difficult. To make things even more confusing some of the treatment providers are “insurer preferred”, what on earth does that mean? Does your insurer recommend treatment providers to you to help you get the best possible care or for some other reason?
After the $3,500 Minor Injury Guideline allowance is exhausted, treatment providers may be reluctant to submit new treatment plans unless you pay the cost associated with preparing those treatment plans up front. It is important to understand that you must exhaust benefits available to you through your group insurer before you can access coverage through your automobile insurer.
That’s why after the accident one of the most important relationships will be your relationship with your lawyer. Finding a lawyer who will take your case is no easy task. Most major cities are flooded with advertising placed by Personal Injury law firms trying to attract clients. Unfortunately, not all of the advertising will be accurate. In my view when selecting a lawyer, the following are important things that you should consider:
HOW WILL THE LAWYER GET PAID?
-will the lawyer help you with both of your claims - usually if you are in a car accident which is not your fault you will have a NO FAULT claim with your own insurer which relates to your entitlement to medical rehabilitation benefits and income replacement/non earner as well as a potential claim for pain and suffering and other economic losses as against the at fault driver
-how will the lawyer get paid - many ads promise no payment unless and until you get a settlement, but this claim should be carefully scrutinized, will you have to pay anything to the law firm i.e. are they only waiving entitlement to fees or to all and any costs?
-what will happen if the retainer is terminated prior to settlement by either you or the law firm - will you owe anything if this is the case?
-this is why it is important to review the retainer agreement very carefully before signing
HOW WILL YOU DEAL WITH THE LAWYER?
-does the lawyer have an office that is ideally local and easy for you to get to?
-will the lawyer be available if you have any questions or concerns? Keep in mind the most common complaint about lawyers is that they do not return calls and cannot be reached etc., Your first impression of the lawyer is important in giving you an idea as to if the lawyer will be someone who you will be comfortable dealing with on an ongoing basis.
-is the lawyer willing to assist you in advancing both of your claims by making referrals to treatment providers
These are some things you might want to think about when you hire a lawyer to assist you with your claims arising from a motor vehicle collision. It is very important that you pick a lawyer who you think is not only competent but who will also be willing to answer your questions and support you through what is an ongoing, frustrating and fairly complicated process with your health and recovery at stake.
Lisa Morell Kelly - Lisa@morellkelly.com
Morell Kelly Professional Corporation