There are many factors that will contribute to the overall success of your case. An attorney will look at injuries, witnesses, whether the at-fault party was cited, when you began your medical care and where, how consistent that care has been, and, most importantly, are there any funds for recovery. Typically, a search for insurance policies is one of the first things a law firm will do when they take on a new client.
What kind of insurance concerns are there?
• The most obvious concern for a fair settlement is whether the at-fault party has insurance. It’s even better when that insurance company has a good reputation. Some companies have very clever commercials but very terrible policies when it comes to reimbursing injury victims.
• Another relevant insurance question is whether you, the victim, have good insurance. Basically, do you have PIP to cover medical bills immediately or even lost wages. If not, you will have to wait until the resolution of the case to get paid back for lost wages. Additionally, if you have UM/UIM, you are in a better position in the event the at-fault party has a small policy ($25,000). If your bills are $50,000, the small policy won’t adequately compensate you. Your attorney would get third party to tender the policy limits and then open a UIM (underinsured motorist) claim to seek additional money from your own carrier. This way, your medical bills are covered and, if subrogation can be reduced, you should end up with a fair amount of money in your pocket.
• If neither you nor the negligent party has insurance, you can always try to seek compensation from the• Washington State Crime Victims Compensation Fund. There are a significant number of limitations to using these funds, including subrogation should you recover money in a lawsuit, but it is worth looking into if no insurance exists.
• Finally, if the at-fault party was charged with a crime at the time you were injured, you can reach out to the prosecutor and see if there is an opportunity for restitution. Typically, the prosecutor’s office will send out a form called the Victim’s Impact Statement and this should include instructions to include your losses. However, since every jurisdiction handles criminal matters differently, it is best to reach out to the prosecutor’s office handling your situation within a few weeks of your accident.
Should I be concerned about other insurance tricks?
Absolutely! These are just some of the initial concerns to consider when valuing your case. Of course, all medical care must be deemed relevant and necessary, too. Insurance companies like to devalue a case by claiming your treatment was not related to the accident—even when it clearly was. They also like to argue that you had gaps in your treatment and, therefore, you are not truly injured. There are many tricks insurance adjusters use to keep from paying fair settlements and it is always a good idea to seek legal counsel at the beginning of your accident.
Does it cost any money to get advice from a personal injury attorney?
No. It costs you nothing to speak with a personal injury lawyer because they are only paid based on contingency—meaning, if you don’t get paid, they don’t get paid. Always take the time to do a free consultation and learn whether you are on the right track for your case and whether a lawyer can help you get a better settlement based on the facts of your case.
The lawyers at Witt Law Group are always available to discuss your case. We work evenings and weekends, too. Don’t delay in getting advice. It will cost you nothing to call but, long term, it might cost you significantly if you don’t. 360-792-1000.