Episode 13: On today’s episode, Jim Desmond answers Frequently Asked Questions. Let’s face it, it is hard to understand the law if you aren’t a lawyer and even if you are one, it can still be challenging to work through all of the issues involved in car wrecks. Today we will be answering questions and hopefully be able to help you to better understand when auto accidents.
Do I have a personal injury claim if I do not have car insurance?
The answer is yes. This happens to be one of the biggest things that people mess up. In Kentucky, if you don’t have car insurance, you cannot recover the first $10,000 of your medical bills. In Indiana, there is not a penalty. If the other driver is at fault and insured, then you still have a personal injury claim. If you are unsure or turned away from other law firms, it’s important to keep trying. It is very important to try to be insured because then you won’t be penalized and there’s a possibility to make an underinsured claim, which says basically that your damages are more than what you may be recovering from the at-fault driver.
Why do I have to use my car insurance for the medical bills if I was not the one who caused the wreck?
In Kentucky, the idea is that you should not have to show fault or liability on a driver to get your medical treatment. If you get in a car accident, no matter how it happens, you are immediately entitled to $10,000 in medical expense coverage, which is called no-fault insurance. It’s not just your medical expenses covered, it also can apply to loss wages and loss of services and this even goes for the passengers of the car. It doesn’t mean you can’t recover the $10,000 back, you just have to pay it up front. The reason that Kentucky has that is because in exchange for that right, we give up the right to recover the first $10,000 in medical bills. It’s good because you have money there that can help you if you were to get hurt. The first question when it comes to car accidents is who is insured and for how much?
How do I get my car fixed after a car wreck?
You have two ways to get your car fixed. The first is when you are in an accident, police will usually arrive and take the drivers’ insurance and stories. After that, you wait for your police report, because that gives you the other driver’s information. This allows your attorney to contact the other driver’s insurance company to start a claim. Unless the person who hit you takes responsibility, the insurance company is allowed to investigate the case. The issue if they don’t take responsibility, is your car will just sit there. The second is if you have collision coverage on your car, you can use that. The downside of this is you lose your deductible. Later, you can get this back if the other driver is at fault.
How do I get the rental car extended?
If your car is fixable and at a repair shop, it won’t be that hard to get it extended because the body shop should be staying in touch with the insurance and keeping them updated. When the car is a total loss, they will owe you fair market value. This can be hard because you may have put a lot of money into the car to keep it driving, but they will see it as it is. Sometimes you can argue for more, but there’s really no way around it. When your car is totaled, the insurance company will limit how long you will get to use a rental car for, the average is usually 10-14 days from the day of the accident.
If you’re in an accident and the other insurance is not accepting fault right away, what should the driver do?
You should open the claim and talk to a lawyer. Many times, they will send investigators out and look at the area. Sometimes, we’re lucky enough to find cameras which may have recorded the accident. Another important thing is to get the witnesses’ information and don’t rely on the police officer. Sometimes people’s numbers change, or numbers can be wrong, so it is important to have those contacts. If you are waiting for the other driver to accept fault, they do have a reasonable amount of time to go through everything with their insurance and to investigate. Usually the more information you have, the faster it will be.
Why would I involve my health insurance if the other side hasn’t paid my medical bills yet?
The first thing to understand is that the other side won’t pay anything until they pay for everything at once. They do this so they won’t be making multiple payments. The other insurance adjuster will try to dispute everything and try to see if your injuries could be from preexisting issues. Usually, before you are seen, they will want to use your medical insurance for co-pays, which you’ll have to pay to get treated. One key step is to reserve the no-fault coverage, because that $10,000 can be used to pay things like co-pays or deductibles.
Are attorney fees negotiable?
Yes. There is no law that requires an attorney to ask for a certain amount for personal injury cases. The standard for a car wreck case is 1/3 of what you recover and 40% if it goes to a lawsuit. Most injury lawyers use contingency fees, which means the client owes nothing unless something is recovered. It costs 1/3 because some cases can take more than a year to resolve.
Will I make more money going to court rather than settling a few months in?
If you go to trial, it’s like walking into a casino because you are trying to convince 12 people that your claim is worth so much money. On the other side, the defense is saying your claim is not worth that much. A lot of people think suing will get you more money, but that’s not always the case. It really depends on the value of the case. Court costs also become extremely expensive and very timely.
For more information about Louisville Car Wreck Attorney Jim Desmond, visit www.AttorneyDesmond.com.
The information provided on this podcast is for general informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. You should seek the advice of an attorney for guidance related to your specific situation. I am only licensed in Kentucky and Indiana, so the general advice provided may not apply outside of those states.
This podcast maybe freely shared, but may not be the modified or edited in any way. This is an attorney advertisement. Principal office is located in Louisville, KY. Co-host Jim Ray is a non-attorney spokesperson.