Don’t be THIS Winter Weather Driver…
Driving in winter weather can be challenging enough. Throw in an inexperienced or even an inconsiderate driver – and you may have more than just a “wintry mix”. You could have a recipe for disaster. Getting stuck behind a driver spinning their wheels or not paying attention is annoying – and most of all, it’s downright dangerous. Even though road conditions may cause challenging driving hazards, you are still ultimately responsible for how you handle your car on the road. This means, you need to take extra precautions in inclement weather to avoid causing an accident. Winter driving calls for plenty of patience and in most cases, a little bit of common sense. Below you’ll find ways to spot a rookie winter driver – and most importantly, how to avoid looking like one yourself.
5 Common Mistakes of Winter Drivers
- Speeding: Speeding can get you in trouble anytime of the year. However, speeding in snowy or icy conditions means you’re much more likely to lose control of your vehicle. Driving UNDER the speed limit in inclement weather is smart. Always allow extra time to get to your destination.
- Tailgating: It’s never okay to tailgate. You should always allow plenty of distance for stopping, especially in winter months. Patches of ice are not always visible and can impede your ability to stop.
- Getting stuck: Never attempt to drive through large bodies of standing water or drifts of snow. For your own safety, recognize when to stay off the road all together. It’s helpful to know current road conditions along your route.
- Ice on windows: Driving without full visibility is like driving blindfolded. Always allow time for your car’s defroster to work and always use an ice scraper to clear your windshield ENTIRELY. Don’t forget to clear the snow on your car roof too!
- Driving with high beams: No, high beams do not increase your vision during whiteouts or heavy snowfall. Blinding other drivers is the only thing accomplished here. Don’t be THAT driver.
Unfortunately, other people’s driving can be just as unpredictable as winter weather. Make sure to stay up to date with the most current weather forecasts and plan accordingly. The National Weather Service is a great resource to use on the go! At Queener Law, we hope everyone stays safe on the road. Contact us when you have questions related to an auto accident. We are always here to help you.
WHOA…Stop Right There!
You have just been rear ended by a distracted driver. Your injuries are typical with this type of wreck and you seek medical attention. Fast forward a few days, you start to get phone calls from the at-fault driver’s insurance company offering you a check. You just need to sign a release. What do you do? Take the money? The offer is pretty good and the holidays are just right around the corner… Attorney Henry Queener recently took on a seemingly simple case that went downhill fairly quickly. In the beginning, the client felt competent enough to deal with the insurance company on her own. This is a common mistake that we see quite often at Queener Law. Below is just one example of how “representing” yourself can go wrong.
Case in Point:
“We recently had a very nice lady call our office for help. She was concerned because the deadline for filing paperwork in the courthouse, also known as a statute of limitations, was only one month away. A heating and air-conditioning company truck had rear ended her at a stoplight. This particular business’s insurance company was offering her $25,000 and was really starting to hound her with phone calls, begging her to take the check. She was starting to feel uneasy. She finally called us wanting to know what her case was worth. Should she just take the $25,000 or hire an attorney? I explained to her that first and foremost, we needed to know the total of all the medical services she has received. She did not know, but she had a guess.
I then asked her who had been paying for the medical care she had been receiving. She told me that the at-fault driver‘s insurance company had used $5000 they had available for medical payments and then her own auto insurance volunteered to use $5000. After that Tricare, which is health insurance for those who have been in the military, and Medicare started paying for her medical care. Boy, was she surprised by what I told her next. I explained that she would have to open an account with both Tricare and Medicare to find out exactly how much they had paid out. By accepting the settlement money from the heating and air-conditioning‘s insurance company (you know, the quick check) she would automatically become obligated to pay Tricare and Medicare back. (Most likely this would eat up the initial offer of $25,000. What about future medical costs, loss of earnings, pain and suffering?)
She then had a dawning of realization. She had been getting letters from Medicare asking about the status of her settlement and did not really understand why she was getting them. Now she understood and it was so clear to her! Medicare was asking about the status of her settlement because Medicare was expecting payment out of her settlement. I then told her the news is worse than that. Her own auto insurance company did not do her any favors by using its $5000 for medical payments. Under Tennessee law, she has to pay them back too. She would’ve been better off if her auto insurance had never paid anything at all! She began to realize that she should have hired an attorney earlier in the process. AND, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are several other things that have occurred in her case that are not helpful.
Unfortunately, insurance companies ARE NOT obligated to work together for your best outcome. Furthermore, many insurance agents and insurance adjusters often have a very poor understanding of insurance law and even their own insurance policies. She has now hired us. We are diligently working for our client, so that when her case is settled, it will be her money free and clear.” If you are ever faced with the aftermath of an accident, DO NOT attempt to deal with an insurance company alone. Your job is to focus on your recovery, our job is to deal with the insurance companies. Let Queener Law work for you. Contact us for a free case evaluation.
Injuries and Coronavirus
It is understandable that people’s thoughts are elsewhere in times like these. But when our minds are not on the roads or on the safety of ourselves and others, we heighten the dangers around us. While we’ve been asked to stay at home, we are not all so lucky to be able to hunker down. Here are some tips on how to deal with crashes, falls, and other injuries and coronavirus.
1. Keep Your Distance
“Social distancing” is a phrase we’ve heard enough times lately that we are hearing it in our sleep. But that truly is the best way to stem the tide. When you are in a wreck or if you suffer a fall, you should still remind yourself and others to stay at a safe distance. Unless you are in need of immediate medical assistance, make sure to ask witnesses and helpful bystanders to call the proper authorities to assist. If you are in a crash, you will need identifying information for the person that caused the collision. Please be sure to do so at a safe distance.
2. Get Help Immediately
As is always the case when you suffer an injury, immediate medical evaluation and care is essential. This does not change in the times of COVID-19. Hospitals and doctor’s offices are over crowded. Also, these places are full of people being tested for the exact virus we are hoping to avoid. You do not want to add illness to injury. However, many medical providers are assisting injured parties remotely. Consult a physician about your injuries from the comfort of your home. However, as always, if you are severely injured, get yourself to emergency care right away!
3. Take Photos
If you are physically able, or if a friend or loved one can assist, take pictures of anything and everything pertinent to your injury. Because the authorities are focused on coronavirus and keeping our communities safe, they may not be available to respond to the scene of a crash, fall, or other injury. It is vital to your financial recovery that you document the details on your own or with the help of loved ones.
4. Call Us Immediately
After you have cared for your injuries and the injuries others, call us. We can take the reigns and handle the investigation and insurance companies for you so that you can focus on what’s important. We remain fully functional and fully staffed during this crisis because you are important to us. We will stay at the watch to help with your needs. We are here to help you navigate the brave new world of injuries and coronavirus. Hopefully this is a short phase of our lives. But while it’s here, so are we.
Our goals for 2020 include helping you get to know us a little better. To aid in that venture, we are starting a video series to share a bit more about who we are and help you learn more about who you are working with. Our first video features Managing Partner Jennifer K. O’Connell. Jennifer grew up in Tennessee. Her father was a forester and her mother was a public school special education teacher. She and her sister regularly rode out to the woods with their dad or adventuring among the trees behind their family home, their two Springer Spaniels in tow. The whole family took regular camping trips to state and national parks across the country. If you could not see it in a tent, the O’Connell’s were not interested. They saw snow at the Grand Canyon in June and counted buffalo sightings at Yellowstone in February. More than one of those trips was here to the Rocky Mountains. In fact, Jennifer’s parents began visiting the mountains shortly after they were married. Colorado holds a special place in her family. Jennifer also loves her home state of Tennessee. While the mountains of Appalachia have a bit more oxygen at the top, hiking was still a big part of Tennessee life for her and her family. While the summit of Mount Le Conte is only 6,593 feet, there is a 2,763 foot climb to the top and there is often quite a bit of ice at the top.
Click here to learn more about Jennifer and keep an eye out for the next episode to learn more about her team! Hope you enjoy getting to know us!
Queener Law Featured in VoyageDenver
We are thrilled to see Queener Law featured in VoyageDenver! What an honor!
We love their insightful questions that prompt us to think a bit more about how we got here and why we have made the choices we made along the way. The life of a business owner is full of forks in the road and choices. It is always important to look back and evaluate the road already traveled to help make the right decisions for the one ahead. We are also extremely happy that our client-centric focus came through. We purposefully keep out hometown feel and insist that our clients speak to a partner every time. We want to make sure our clients know how important they are and how dedicated we are to their cases. It was very exciting to hear that the editors wanted to see Queener Law featured in VoyageDenver to give us a chance to share that view with the community.
Check out the feature here!
Call us any time for a free consultation or to refer your friends or family members in need of help. No more being tossed around from attorney to attorney or case manager to case manager. At Queener Law, you will be in the capable hands of a partner and paralegals from start to finish. Your case deserves undivided attention, and so do you.
Getting Your Medical Bills Paid the Right Way
“The insurance company said they’d pay all my medical bills. Now they only want to pay a fraction of what I owe!’ We have heard this complaint almost daily in our decades of practice. What’s the reason and who’s the culprit? Of course, every story like this begins with the fact that car insurance companies are designed to collect premiums and not pay out. But that is not the only conspiracy happening here. Hospitals and medical providers have found ways to use the car insurance system to increase profits, as well. In a recent article in The New York Times, the master plan of hospital billing is broken down into the following steps:
1. Medical Swag
When you are in a wreck, the first thing the EMS or ER staff will do is slap on that age-old neck brace. Often, that neck brace either came free as medical sales swag or was bought in bulk at a rate of a few bucks each. When you get your medical bills in the mail, you find out that your insurance paid $100-plus and you owe an additional $20 bucks or so after insurance. You could get the same brace at your local pharmacy for much less. But when your chart is flagged for a car accident, out comes the medical swag. And in the end, all of this gets paid by the car insurance company… out of your settlement.
2. The Cover Charge
When you are taken to the emergency room, you get a bill. That we know. But did you know that this bill is just for use of the room? In essence, that bill is a “cover charge” for entry. In addition to that fee, which may vary depending on how emergent or traumatic your injury may be, there is a separate fee for every material used and every person who walks into the room. In many cases, you’ll even get a completely separate bill just for the use of a doctor, a necessary component of your emergency room visit. This bill, again, may vary based on what the hospital determines is the severity of your injury. Two guesses what they label car accident victims as in order to increase their bill.
3. Impostor Billing
Not only can you get billed for every person who walks in the room, but you may also receive a bill for people who you have never met. Medical billing allows for “consult billing,” even when the physician never consulted with the patient themselves. If a radiologist simply stops an orthopedist in the hallway for a second look at your x-rays, you get billed. These are not common charges, but we see them often in cases like auto accidents where the hospital anticipates deep pockets.
4. The Drive-By
In more serious cases, where post-ER treatment is required, you can get billed even before your first visit. For instance, if your injury requires physical therapy, a therapist can enter the room just to discuss your future therapy visits, and you will receive a bill for that conversation. A full assessment or actual therapeutic treatment is not required for the hospital to bill for it.
We have added this prong because it is so prevalent and crushing to your in-pocket compensation while filling the hospital’s bank account. Hospitals allow representatives from Avectus or other lien companies to enter patients’ rooms, although they have no medical training or degrees and have not received consent from the patient or relatives. Their only purpose is to have medicated and shocked accident victims sign forms promising to pay the hospital’s bill in its entirety, regardless of whether they have health insurance. Why? Because the hospital does not want to take the contractual discount with the health insurance, and instead wants to take as much as possible from the auto insurance policy, in addition to all of your other medical bills.
The End Game
Why do we care so much about what the hospital is doing if the car insurance company is paying in the end? Why should you care about what money goes where? An auto insurance policy is like a bank account. Everything that comes out of it – including medical bills – reduces the amount in the account. In other words, every penny the hospital takes is one less for you. If your hospital bill is inflated simply because you were in an auto accident, your compensation for the injuries you sustained will go to the hospital rather than to you. If the auto policy available is only $50,000 and your hospital bill is $40,000, there is very little money left to pay remaining bills, reimburse your lost wages, or cover your future medical needs. And that’s if you don’t come out with a $75,000 bill and only $50,000 in automobile insurance. What can be done to stop this? Short of changing legislation, simply put, you need an attorney. Our office has decades of experience forcing hospitals to use health insurance and refusing to pay their liens if they are on notice and ignore us. We not only fight the insurance company on your behalf, but we also hold the hospitals to a high ethical and economical standard, refusing to let them dig into the policy that was meant to compensate you. Be aware and proactive with your health and your future. Work with a firm that has no blind side. We see the attacks coming, and will head them off at the start.