Advice—Top 3 tips—The “Why” behind hiring a personal injury lawyer.
Making a smart choice
There is a large portion of the public who has never been in a car wreck, never been injured at a business and never been hurt because another person was careless or reckless. If you are lucky enough to be in this category, you likely don’t know why it is so important to hire a personal injury lawyer after an injury. This article will explain why hiring a personal injury lawyer is a smart choice if you have been injured by someone else’s negligence. To that end we are frequently asked: “Is it worth getting a personal injury lawyer?”
If you suffered an injury that is requiring you to go to a doctor and/or a hospital then the short answer is “yes”. Whenever someone gets hurt because of another person’s negligence many complex legal, insurance and medical questions immediately arise. If you are not specifically trained or have never experienced a personal injury claim, you would have no reason to know the answers to the questions you might be confronted with. You need an experienced lawyer to not only answer these questions, but to also provide strategies and advice on how to navigate the legal process. Here are some examples of the many questions that can come up in a relatively straight forward car wreck.
Was type of damages am I entitled to recover?
In a typical personal injury car wreck case involving two individuals there are three types of damages an injured person is entitled to receive: (1) Reimbursement for medical expenses; (2) Reimbursement of lost wages; and (3) Payment for pain and suffering. In cases where the at fault driver is drunk, then the injured person could seek punitive damages in addition to medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
When do I lose the ability to make a claim for my personal injuries?
Generally, the time-period to bring a personal injury car wreck case, also known as the statute of limitations, is two years from the date of the car wreck. There are some instances where the statute of limitations can be extended giving a person more time to bring a personal injury claim. The most widely seen example of the statute of limitations being extended is when the at fault driver is given a ticket. If this happens, the statute of limitations is extended to the time when the ticket is disposed of. Usually this occurs when the ticket is paid.
Can I settle my property damage claim and keep my personal injury claim?
Yes. If you are in a car wreck where your car is damaged and you are hurt you have two separate and distinct claims. One claim is for the injuries to your body, this is called a personal injury claim and the other claim is for property damage. This is a claim for the damage to your vehicle. The personal injury claim and property damage claim are completely separate. You can resolve your property damage claim and it will not affect your personal injury claim. Typically, the property damage claim is finished first.
Will the at-fault driver’s insurance company pay for my medical expenses as they arise?
No. This may seem unfair and may not make sense, but unfortunately it is true. The at- fault driver’s insurance company will not pay for medical expenses as they arise. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay a one-time lump sum payment in exchange for a release of liability. The lump sum payment will cover all damages, which include pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses.
Should I contact my insurance company even if the car wreck was not my fault?
Yes. You may have insurance coverages on your policy that will be beneficial to your claim. For example, you may have coverages that could help with payment of your property damage and medical expenses.
What happens if the at fault driver does not have insurance?
While it is the law in Georgia that all drivers must have liability insurance, some people violate this law and drive uninsured. If you get injured by an uninsured driver you turn to your car insurance policy to take advantage of “uninsured motorist” coverage to pay you for your personal injuries.
Should I use my health insurance to pay for my medical expenses?
Yes. While it likely the at-fault driver will pay money to cover your medical expenses at some time in the future, there is no guarantee this will happen. Rather than risking your medical bills not being paid, if you have health insurance you should use it.
Will a doctor see me if I do not have health insurance?
Doctors can choose who they want to treat, so there might be some doctors that will not see people without health insurance. However, there are also many doctors that will be willing to provide medical care with the promise that they will be paid at the conclusion of the case. This sometimes is called medical treatment on a lien basis. Typically, in order to receive medical treatment on a lien basis, you will need to hire a lawyer to handle your personal injury case.
Why am I getting a hospital lien?
A hospital lien in a personal injury case usually happens when an injured person goes to the emergency room following a car wreck. The emergency room provides medical treatment, and rather than submitting the medical bill to a health insurance company, instead files a lien against a personal injury claim. If there is a hospital lien on your claim, the hospital bill will be paid from the proceeds of the personal injury settlement.