Frequently Asked Questions After a Car Wreck
In almost every initial meeting with clients, we are asked some of the same questions. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answered them below:
1. Who pays for my medical expenses?
When you are involved in an automobile accident, you will inevitably incur medical expenses and you will want those expenses to be paid. Generally speaking, you can recover those expenses through the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Additionally, there may be circumstances where you can recover through your own automobile insurance company.
This can be accomplished by going through your UM/UIM coverage, if you have such coverage, or you can seek to have your bills paid through any available medical payments coverage you may have through your automobile insurance carrier.
2. Are my medical expenses paid out along the way?
When pursuing a personal injury claim against an at-fault party, the at-fault party’s insurance company will not pay for your medical expenses along the way. They will pay your expenses in one lump sum once you come to a settlement agreement or once a jury has returned a verdict in your favor.
3. I have heard that there is a one year statute of limitations for my case. What does that mean?
For any personal injury case in Tennessee, you have one (1) year from the date of the incident in which to file a lawsuit. This does not mean that you have to be completed treating for injuries you sustained in the accident. It simply means that you must settle your case within that year time frame or if you have not settled your case or you are still treating, you must file a lawsuit within that one year. Otherwise, your claim will be barred and you will be unable to seek compensation.
4. Can I settle the case without an attorney?
You most certainly can settle your claim on your own. However, it is always best to keep in mind that the at-fault party’s insurance company is not looking out for your best interests. Their loyalty is with their insured and not with you. This is why we always suggest speaking with an attorney so that you have someone on your side and someone who has your best interests in mind. We can help you obtain a recovery for everything you are entitled under the law.
5. Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster?
We always recommend consulting with an attorney prior to speaking with the insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters are usually quick to get in contact with you and express their concern for you following an accident. They also want to get a statement from you regarding what happened and what injuries you sustained.
However, the insurance company’s job is to look out for their insured’s best interests. It is your best interests to speak with an attorney prior to giving any information to the adjuster so that you don’t say anything that could potentially harm your case.
6. What if I was hit by an individual who does not have automobile insurance?
If you were injured by an individual who does not have insurance, you may seek compensation through your uninsured motorist coverage, often referred to as UM/UIM. This is optional coverage you may purchase through your insurance carrier.
7. I think the driver who hit me was on their phone at the time of the accident. Can we figure that out and is there anything we can do if they were on their phone?
We are very passionate about preventing people from texting and driving. If we believe the at-fault party was on their phone at the time of the accident, we can request their cell phone records to determine if they were. If we find out that they were in fact on their phone, we will seek punitive damages, which are damages to punish the at-fault party.
The Time and Cost of Personal Injury Case
8. How long will my personal injury case take?
We say that the typical shelf life for a personal injury case is anywhere from 6 months – 2 years. Obviously this depends on the facts and circumstances specific to your case but it gives you some idea as to how long your case could potentially take.
9. How do you, as my attorney, get paid?
We work on a contingent basis and our fee is one-third. This means that if you do not recover, we do not get paid. Additionally, we do not charge you anything for a consultation with our office.
10. What am I entitled to recover in a personal injury case?
When you are involved in an automobile accident, two claims arise. One involves the damage to your vehicle and the other involves your bodily injury claim. Typically, the property damage claim is taken care of on the front end and is resolved fairly quickly. For the bodily injury portion of your claim, you are entitled to recover your medical expenses, both past and future, lost wages, both past and future and pain and suffering, both past and future.
Additionally, if you are married at the time of the accident, your spouse has a loss of consortium claim as well. This claim involves the recovery for a deprivation of benefits of your spouse due to the injuries they suffered in the accident.
Have you been seriously injured in a car accident? Contact the personal injury lawyers at the Nashville law firm of Raybin & Weissman for a free consultation today.