Any time another person or event causes you to have property damage or personal injuries, you have a case. Whether your injury is property damage (such as a fire loss) or personal injuries, it is important that you call an attorney immediately to discuss your case.
If you are physically injured, it is important that you get medical treatment as soon as possible. After an injury many people wait to see a doctor thinking their injury will get better. Two things can result. One, a minor injury that could have been successfully treated early becomes chronic and difficult to heal. Two, insurance adjusters, even though they know better, claim that you were not injured at all because you did not immediately get medical treatment. In the event that your case should end up in a lawsuit the insurance defense lawyer will argue to a jury that you were not hurt because you did not get medical help immediately.
At the Altman Legal Group, we will discuss your situation and answer your questions about whether or not you should hire an attorney. If we feel you will be able to settle your case on your own, we will tell you. We will also honestly tell you if our firm will be able to make a difference for you in your case. If we represent you, you can be assured, that we will use our experience and resources to maximize your recovery.
The short answer is that you should not wait. Frequently a person goes to an attorney after they have already made a mistake that seriously affects their claim. Many attorneys that help injured people have a policy that your first office visit is free. That is our policy at the Altman Legal Group. You may not want or need to hire an attorney, but you do need to talk to one. An injury claim is much more complex than people realize. An innocent comment to a well-trained insurance adjuster can and will be used against you. A misunderstood comment to a medical provider goes in your medical records and will be used against you. A mistake with an insurance adjuster could invalidate your own insurance policy that provided you benefits that you paid for.
Talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Then you can decide if hiring an attorney is right for you. At the Altman Legal Group we will answer your questions. We will make suggestions. If you do not hire us, we only ask that you recommend us to someone that may need our help in the future.
If you have health insurance, you should use it. Hospitals usually will not file on your health insurance if you are in a car wreck. Hospitals in Texas and Oklahoma will file a lien on your claim against the insurance company for someone who caused your injury. They do this because they can take the insurance money to pay 100% of their bill instead of the negotiated discount with health insurance companies. You paid for your health insurance to get the benefit of these discounts.
If you are injured in a car wreck, you may have benefits on your own liability insurance that will pay some of your bills. These benefits called “medical pay” or “personal injury protection” provide payment for your medical bills up to limit of coverage. This coverage is cheap and people should carry higher limits that their insurance agent suggests. Many insurance companies discourage their agents from writing higher limits because it is so cheap.
If you do not have insurance, getting medical care is difficult. Each person’s situation is different. There are a few compassionate Doctors who will wait on payment or take what is called a “letter of protection.” One doctor told us he began accepting letters of protection only after his adult daughter who lived in a different state lost her job and her insurance coverage. She was in a wreck with a drunk driver. He saw how difficult it was for her to get medical care. He said he then decided that he would take a limited number of letters of protection to help deserving people get at least minimal care.
You may be able to recover your losses for:
The value of your property damage if it cannot be fixed;
Your medical bills, past and future;
Your lost wages or income, past and future;
Your loss of physical and mental abilities, commonly called impairment;
Your loss of ability to enjoy life, commonly called pain and suffering;
Other losses specific to your case.
The very real danger is that you can lose the ability to recover for your losses by simple acts such as signing the “standard” forms at the hospital, or giving a statement to an insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters are not your friends. They are evaluated on how well (meaning how cheaply) they settle claims. They are trained to follow carefully worded scripts to get answers that put you in the worse possible light.
If you have insurance, you can lose benefits by not coordinating benefit payments by different policies.
There is no magic answer to this question. Each situation is different. The best answer is to get a good attorney and listen to his advice, but make up your own mind. You want an attorney that has years of experience in representing injured persons. That attorney will have learned from the experience of making good decisions and bad decisions in the past. You will benefit from that experience. Ask your attorney every question you can think of until you are comfortable with your decision to settle or not settle. You want an attorney that will take the time necessary to inform you about all aspects of your claim.
At the Altman Legal Group we work for each person we represent with the care, time, and dignity we would want for ourselves. Many of our clients are referred from former clients we have represented. We never forget that while we represent many clients, our clients have only one case and it is extremely important to them and their families.