Other Things To Think About
You usually have only one year from your auto accident to file suit. If you have not filed suit or settled your case within that one year, you are usually no longer entitled to any recovery.
If your or the other person's insurance company told you that they will only pay your medical bills up to 5,000.00—call me. This statement may not be as straight forward as it seems and allowing the insurance to pay your medical providers directly may not be in your best interests. If you do not understand why it may not be in your best interests, then you may need a lawyer.
If a person rear-ends you, then the person who rear-ended you is automatically at fault? Not true. If this answer surprises you, then you may need a lawyer.
Frequently Asked Questions about Nashville Auto Accident Attornies
The short answers is: No. You can represent yourself in court and in negotiating your claims with the insurance company. However, you may find that handling your own case takes more time than you realize. Let me explain by outlining one step in handling your claim.
You will need to obtain your medical records and an itemized list of the charges resulting from your medical treatment. Please note that the documentation provided upon exiting the emergency room, such as: the discharge instructions, are not your medical records. Also, please note that your itemized charges resulting from your medical treatment are not the bills you are receiving in the mail.
In order to obtain your medical records, you will need to sit down and draft a letter to each medical provider. You will then need to sit down and draft a separate letter to the billing department for each medical provider.
Please note the medical provider’s records department is often separate from a medical provider’s billing department. Also, please remember that a single visit to a single emergency room does not usually result in a single itemized charge from a single medical provider. Trips to emergency rooms can often result in multiple itemized charges from multiple medical providers. For example, the emergency room doctor may order an x-ray. The x-rays are read by a radiologist. The radiologist may or may not be employed by the hospital. Radiologist may well be employed by a completely separate company that bills completely separately from the hospital. And, your radiologist is not your emergency room doctor.
Once you have mailed out all your requests to the various medical provider’s records departments and billing departments, then you will start receiving letters back telling you the cost of being provided copies of your medical records and itemized charges.
At this point in the process, I have had people retain me because they could not afford the cost of obtaining copies of their medical records and itemized charges. At this point in the process, I have had people retain me because they discovered handling their own case was turning into a full-time job.
Next, you will need to sit down and draft a second letter to each medical provider’s records department and billing department, enclosing a check for the cost of a copy of your medical records and itemized charges. Once you receive copies of all your medical records and itemized charges from your various medical providers you have completed a step in handling your own case. The biggest mistake I see people make in trying to complete this one part of handling their own case is they fail to obtain all the itemized charges resulting from their medical treatment. So do you need a lawyer? No, you can handle your own case. But remember, the adjuster handles cases like yours for living.
Why not just try to resolve my case with the insurance company and if that does not work, then hire a lawyer later?
Many people think that who is at fault in their case is obvious—that person who hit me—and that who is at fault will never be in dispute. However, I see many cases where who is at fault in an accident becomes very much in dispute as witnesses, who saw the accident very differently from my client, are found. Many of my clients think that who was at fault in their accident will never be in dispute because the insurance company paid for their property damage. I have many cases where the insurance company paid for my client’s property damage and later denied responsibility for the accident. Just because the insurance company says it admits fault now, does not mean the insurance company cannot later change its mind. So you think who is at fault is clear and you start to handle your claim yourself. Well, who is at fault may not be clear later and you will need evidence to prove your right.
I have had many clients come to me 8, 9 or 10 months after their auto accidents. Then I and an accident reconstructionist go back to the scene of the accident to examine the forensic evidence left on the roadway. I and the reconstructionist often find that passing traffic has rubbed away all the skid marks. The more heavily traveled the road the faster the skid marks are being rubbed away. Sometimes roadways are even resurfaced, so that the gouge marks are gone. Sometimes lanes are repainted. I have even seen lanes of traffic that were designated as turn only lanes later be changed to going straight and turn lanes.
Next we try to find the cars involved in the accident to examine the damage done to the cars and whether the car has a black box that can be downloaded. Often, after 8, 9 or 10 months, both cars are long gone working their way through the junkyard/recycling process. So with all the skid marks gone and both cars gone, there is very little forensic evidence to prove your version of the accident. As you wait, your evidence is fading away.
And, we have not even talked about the fact that if you have to file suit on your case you will have to physically hand the suit to the person who hit you. If the person who hit you has moved: good luck finding them now. The longer you handle your own claim the harder it can be to find the person who hit you.
Please be aware that often times your health insurance will pay for some of your medical care or all of your medical care caused by your accident. If your health insurance paid your medical providers, then your health insurance may very well be entitled to be paid back out of the settlement you obtain from the auto insurance company. This is a complex and complicated area of law that can vary a great deal from health insurance policy to health insurance policy, state to state, and situation to situation. Handling your own claim involves more than just settling with the auto insurance company. It also involves negotiating with unpaid medical providers and health insurance companies, who paid for medical treatment caused by your accident.
This is a very complicated question and varies tremendously by state. It is a very confusing area of law that many attorneys struggled to fully understand and implement correctly. Let me just say this: My clients’ insurance companies, pursuant to my clients’ uninsured motorist coverage, often hire attorneys to defend the very people who hurt my client. Understanding why the law allows an uninsured motorist carrier to do this is one of those complicated questions that illustrates the need for an attorney. Settling your case is not just about the being ‘good’ at arguing, you have to know enough law to know what your talking about.